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2011 Toyota Matrix

The Japanese automaker Toyota released the complete details and images of their 2011 Matrix facelift model. The car got new front and rear bumpers, a mesh front fog lamp bezel as well as updated front and rear spoilers. In addition, it features a new design for the rims and an updated interior styling.

As standard, the car is equipped with 16-inch steel wheels that have a sporty 6-spoke full wheel cover, wrapped around P205/55R16 tires. For the Matrix S model, the car gets 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels with 215/45R17 tires.

2011 Toyota Matrix

The car will be available with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter DOHC engine that produces 132 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 128 lb.-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm. This engine benefits from the VVT-I system and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed ECT – Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission.

The other engine that is available for the Matrix is a more powerful 4-cylinder 2.4-liter that outputs 158 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 162 lb.-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm. With this engine, the 2011 Matrix is available with an AWD system and an ECT 4-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 Toyota Matrix

Toyota also offers a Premium Package that includes power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade, USB port with iPod support, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA support, Bluetooth and CD text display function.

Toyota didn’t reveal the price list for the 2011 Matrix. We’ll let you know once they do.

The new Citroen C4

My family has a long history with French cars: they currently own 3 Citroens that they’ve bought during the past 6-7 years. I remember how cool I thought the Citroen C4 Coupe VTR looked when I first saw it. Given the context, you can imagine that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new C4, when I was invited to the launch.

I can’t say we agreed at first. Yes, this new creature had a more aggressive front styling and a bigger front grill, just like the more recent Citroen cars, but at the same time the lines are smoother, more tamed. This is what I don’t really fancy. I liked the lines of the old Coupe. But since the new C4 is not a coupe, it’s definitely better looking than the old model, which was fluffy like a doughnut. And I didn’t really like the doughnut, although the C3 pulled it off quite nicely.

Back to the cars I drove. As always, I picked the most powerful cars that were lined up: 150hp, diesel and petrol. And I did like what they can do: they have fast reactions to gas pedal, climbing up to 140-150 km/h quite hastily and it doesn’t struggle to get there. What I really disliked was the semi-automatic gearbox. I’d rather have the manual one any day. The semi-automatic is quite strange, because, as low speed, you feel like someone’s braking before you get to change speeds.

And this is about everything I don’t like about the new C4. These issues are more about Citroen in general, than about this particular model.

And now for the good part: what I do like about the new Citroen C4.
I absolutely love the interior! I’ve always liked Citroen interiors, from the C5 to the C3 Pluriel and C4 Picasso. Yes, I thought the fixed steering wheel was weird (and they gave up on that, by the way), but I still liked every tiny bit of the cars’ interiors. The good news is that now it’s even better looking. Especially in the full option version, with the sat nav and all the perks.

The dashboard is asymmetrical. The left is a whole another story from the right. They’re from different books, I tell you. Right in front of the driver, above the indicators and what not, a series of crests that make it look like some kind of prehistoric creature. The whole plastic detailing is great quality, so there’s no cheap feeling there.

Another pleasantly strange thing about the interior is the massage seats. This is a strange option for a car that isn’t necessarily in the premium category. But this is good strange. Citroen are known for the amount of technology they put in their cars and the massage seats are… recommended. They’re just right to keep you relaxed while you speed into the tricky curves of the Carpathian mountain roads.

As for the exterior, I’m really not a big fan. The C4’s design fits quite well into the line of the medium sized cars that has been advertised lately, but I want the rough, pointy edges of the old C4 back. Not to mention that there is no coupe version of the new C4 and I assume that the new DS4 will fill the sporty spot on the Citroen team.

Well, it seems that I’ve been complaining a bit too much. I haven’t covered that well just how much I liked to drive it. With some nice music in the background, but with the pedal to the floor, the car is more than a pleasant experience. I expected the C5 to be very cool, with a great interior and great noise cancellation and so on, the C4 took me by surprise.

Overall, I liked the new Citroen C4 more than I expected to. I didn’t like the semi-automatic gearbox, so I’d like to stick to the manual one, please. I confess I would love a bigger engine, which I hope we’ll get on the new DS4. And the interior is so great that it makes me want to sleep in this car.

What’s under the hood? Well, you’ll find three version for engine they’ve put in the new C4: – Diesel 1.6 HDI 90 hp, 0-100 km/h in 12.9 seconds, top speed -180 km/h – Petrol 2.0 HDI 150 hp, 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds, top speed – 207 km/h – Petrol 1.6 HDI 110hp, 0-100 km/h in in 11.2 seconds, top speed – 190 km/h.

The cool thing about the car is that there are tons of accessories, some useful, some just for looks, that you can make your car stand out.

To complete the picture, take a look at this video, shot by our friend Razvan from Trafictube. Also, check out the full set of pictures from the drive test in our gallery.

The new Citroen C4 from trafictube on Vimeo.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Citroen C4

As you know, Robert Kubica, the F1 pilot, has recently been involved in an accident during the Italian Rally, driving a Skoda Fabia. Here is a 3D simulation of the accident. Hopefully, the talented Polish driver will recover as fast as possible.

Video after the jump.
Read More: “[Video] 3D Simulation of Kubica’s Accident”

2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is

According to some sources, BMW is currently working on the Z2 baby roadster model and they will unveil a concept next month at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Although it hasn’t been confirmed officially by the German automaker, it will most likely be a small roadster that will compete with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and other cars in this segment. Most likely, this concept will not get the green light for production but some of its design features might be borrowed once (and if) the Z2 is officially launched as a production model.

The BMW Z2 is said to benefit from some striking design cues, like retractable doors that open into the side sill, first seen in the 1988 BMW Z1. This concept will feature an air scoop on the bonnet, overlapping exterior body panels and rear power domes.

Thanks to the fact that it will be a concept, the Z2 will be packed with a lot of technologies. Some relevant examples would have to be a new generation navigation system, car-to-car communication system and a collision detection system.

Under its skin, this concept might carry the company’s new platform which will be used for the next generation of their entry-level model – the 1 Series. The same sources said that the Z2 concept will have a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo engine and a rear-wheel drive system.

Source: TheAge via ZerCustoms

MTM Audi A7

MTM is not one of those tuners known for releasing imposing body kits. They became popular tuners for their Audi-based projects. A few days ago they revealed their first development stage tuning program for the beautiful A7.

Available for the 3.0 TDI engine – which is one of the most popular in Audi’s range – this tuned power unit outputs 285 hp / 210 kW. The standard engine outputs only 180 kW.  This power upgrade will set you back 1,250 Euros.

MTM Audi A7

In the following period, MTM will complete this tuning program with an upgraded suspension that will improve the A7’s handling; along with a new light alloy rims design.

The program also offers a new rear diffuser that is integrated in the bumper along with a new exhaust system with two double tail pipes.

MTM Audi A7

You might not know this, but Eastern Europe has one weird plague when it comes to cars: people steal the side-mirrors of expensive cars and they sell them afterwards (sometimes, the thieves even sell them to the initial owner). It even happened to us twice, while we were testing cars (BMW’s, for that matter, because they seem to be the most popular targets, though Audi’s and Benz’s have their share also). I remember the BMW representative in Romania telling me that they are so used to mirrors being stolen that they have a lot in stock just for that.

Police doesn’t do anything, so car owners look around for all kinds of ways to secure their mirrors.

Until now, I’ve seen the plate number put on the mirrors, I saw metal edges that would keep the mirror in place, but I;ve never seen practically a safe around the side-mirror )

via zoso.ro

2012 Porsche 911

A few days ago a new video surfaced the Internet, showing us the upcoming 2012 Porsche 911. The car spied is wearing less camouflage than before but taking into consideration that the look of the 911 barely changes once a new generation is introduced, it is not that significant. What we do care about is what is going on under that classic yet fresh design.

Early rumors speculated that the upcoming generation of the 911 will benefit from either a 3.6-liter power unit that produces 365 hp and 295 lb.-ft of torque or a more powerful 3.8-liter engine that outputs 415 ponies and 325 lb.-ft of torque.

It is a certainty that the car will benefit from Porsche’s PDK 7-speed / dual-clutch transmission. I for one, if I had the money, would still buy the car with a proper 6-speed manual gearbox which will be available for the 911.

Not that you (or we) really care; the car will most likely be more fuel efficient in comparison to previous generations. According to various sources, the new 911 will benefit from the start/stop technology and the brake energy recuperation system.

Until we can give you some official info, check out this spy video.

Anderson Porsche Panamera

Honestly, I never liked the Porsche Panamera as it doesn’t put out the same vibe as a proper 911. However, this one developed by Anderson looks quite cool. They took a Panamera 4S, played around with it and named it Black Edition. If the 400 hp power output of the standard engine is not enough for you, maybe 485 hp will satisfy your needs.

Anderson Porsche Panamera

This 85 hp increase in power is available thanks to the ECU upgrade and the new exhaust system. The latter benefits from a remote-controlled valve which when is opened it will give you an additional number of 17 ponies to play with.

Anderson Porsche Panamera

The suspension can be customized with a simple push of a button, but just 40 millimeters.

Anderson Porsche Panamera

Aside from these performance upgrades, the specialists over at Anderson also installed a new front apron, side skirts, rear apron and a rear spoiler. In addition, the Anderson Porsche Panamera 4S Black Edition comes with air intakes in the bonnet, a special black finish (obviously) and impressive 22-inch black light alloy wheels.

Anderson Porsche Panamera

Inside the cabin you’ll find front & rear red LED footwell lightning. The interior was upgraded with expensive materials like leather, carbon fiber and Alcantara.

Lamborghini Countach QV

For me, the Lamborghini Countach is the most radical car I’ve ever seen, way more impressive than the highly-acclaimed Bugatti Veyron. While I still appreciate the Veyron for its performances, the Countach is the perfect example of “car porn”.

Launched back in 1985, the car had a fulminating success across the entire world and will go down in history as one of the most spectacular automobiles ever made. Production was ended after only three years so if you have one in our garage, it is probably worth a couple of bucks.

The car had a massive V12 315 cubic inch engine that produced a whopping 455 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 369 lb.-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. A brand new Countach QV was able to do the 0-62 mph sprint in 4, 8 seconds, onto a remarkable top speed of 185 mph.

In the following video you’ll see Harry Metcalfe from EVO Magazine driving the Countach QV for 1,200 miles from Italy to United Kingdom. His journey started in Italy, where the car was born, went through Route Napoleon in central France, the Eurotunnel and ended in Cotswolds, UK.

Hamann 2011 BMW 5 Series M Sport

There is good news and bad news about the Hamann 2011 BMW 5 Series M Sport. The good news is that the car features an aerodynamics package that has a competition front spoiler which will increase the downforce on the front axle, a new rear bumper insert, a roof spoiler, a rear spoiler as well as a new front bumper and side skirts.

The bad news is that Hamann did not include any performance upgrades to the 5 Series. However, most likely they will offer one in the months to come as we know how much they love bimmers.

Hamann 2011 BMW 5 Series M Sport

Getting back to this package, the car now rolls on 21-inch light alloy rims with 255/30 ZR21 tires for the front wheels and 295/25 ZR21 out in the back. In addition, the car is now 35 mm lower thanks to the new suspension and it has a new rear silencer with four tail pipes.

Inside the cabin, Hamann offers a bunch of carbon fiber trim parts, aluminum pedals as well as a specially designed sports steering wheel with an airbag.

Hamann 2011 BMW 5 Series M Sport

We’ll let you know once they reveal a proper tuning program for this more than proper car.

SsangYong SUT 1

The Korean automaker SsangYong revealed yesterday the first details and images of their SUT 1 concept that will have its public debut this March at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. This concept is a stylish pickup truck which will most likely transform into a production model in the months to come.

SsangYong SUT 1

The car is roughly the same size as the Actyon Sports as it measures 4,985 mm in length, 1,910 mm in width and 1,755 mm in height. The SUT 1 has a wheelbase that measures 3,060 mm and promises to be Euro 5 compliant.

Under the hood, the SsangYong SUT 1 has a 2.0-liter diesel power unit that develops 155 PS and 360 Nm of torque, available between 1,500 rpm and 2,800 rpm.

SsangYong SUT 1

Most likely, the production version of the SUT1 will be available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or with an automatic transmission. In addition, it will be offered in both 2WD and 4WD versions.

The production model will most likely be available in the first months of next year at a yet undisclosed price tag.

Frankly, I don’t see the point of a stylish pickup truck, but I’m sure there’s a niche for everything.

2012 Buick Regal eAssist

General Motors has revealed today the 2012 Buick Regal eAssist that will be available with a very clever fuel saving technology, allowing the car to be 25% more fuel efficient in comparison with the 2011 model. This figure is achieved for the 4-cylinder engine mated with the 6-speed transmission model. According to the manufacturer, the car is able to do 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

This clever eAssist technology uses an electric system that stores the energy in a lithium-ion battery that is used in certain conditions. In addition, the car uses regenerative braking which gives up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery. In other words, the 2012 Buick Regal eAssist benefits from up to 15 hp (11 kW) of electric power assistance during acceleration.

The car is fitted with a 2.4-liter Ecotec DOHC I-4 power unit that cranks out 182 hp (136 kW) @ 6,700 rpm and 172 lb.-ft (233 Nm) of torque @ 4,900 rpm which should be enough for most drivers.

In addition, this eAssist version of the Buick Regal packs some other goodies, like the lightweight 17-inch alloy rims covered by lower rolling resistance tires; an ECO gauge located on the instrument panel that helps the driver drive more efficiently as well as a powerflow readout in the 7-inch infotainment screen that is capable of showing the flow of energy through the electric assist system.

Chrysler 300 S Concept

According to some sources, the American automaker Chrysler will launch the S trim for their newest models – 200 and 300. Various manufacturers use the “S” for launching a sportier version of a certain model. This won’t be the case with the aforementioned two models because the “S” will stand for “Style”, meaning that none of the cars will get a power increase.

Most likely, the car will get new materials of the various interior trim elements, new equipment, new colors and other “boring” upgrades. The 200S and 300S will most likely get leather seats with Alcantara inserts, new exterior finish colors, other Alcantara inserts and a black headliner in the sedans.

The 200S will be available as standard with a V6 3.6-liter Pentastar engine that outputs 283 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and should be available this spring.

Obviously, the starting price for both models will be a little bit higher in comparison with the standard models, a couple of thousands if not more. Chrysler is planning on launching S models for every model in their lineup, including the Town & Country. They had a Town & Country S exhibited at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show which was organized last month and they plan on bringing another “S-ified” concept next week at the Chicago show.

We will provide more accurate info about the upcoming 200S and 300S once Chrysler pulls up the curtain of this new trim level.

Source: CarAndDriver

Yesterday the European Commission decided to make daytime running lights (DRL) mandatory on all new types of passenger cars as well as small delivery vans. Starting with August 2012, all the buses and trucks will also pack DRLs. They consider DRLs as special lamps that automatically switch on when the engine of the car is started.

With the introduction of DRLs to all cars, the European Commission expects that the road safety will be increased thanks to the fact that such lights will increase the vehicle’s visibility for other road users. These DRLs will be preferred to existing “dipped-beam” headlights due to the reason that they consume less energy. According to the EU, these daytime running lights only need about 25%-30% of the energy necessary for standard driving lights, making them considerably more efficient. Energy consumption is lowered with an additional 10% if these DRLs are light emitting diodes – LEDs.

This means that all of the new cars that are commercialized in Europe will benefit from daytime running lights, and the vast majority of them will have LEDs.

CoverEFX Mini Cooper JCW

The guys over at CoverEFX have just revealed their special aftermarket program for the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works (JCW). Their model is finished in a black leather style, full body, foil wrap, with matt gold metallic accents. On the front wrap, they glued (by hand) thousands of small gold accents.

CoverEFX Mini Cooper JCW

They also offer two stages of performance upgrades. The first one increases the power of the engine to 236 hp / 350 Nm with the help of a 2.5-inch exhaust system with a Milltek downpipe, extra large sports air filter and a sports catalyst. The Stage 2 cranks out 252 hp / 382 Nm thanks to the revised ECU. In addition, the car is fitted with a short shifter that was developed by WorxRacing.

The CoverEFX Mini Cooper JCW rides on 17-inch OZ wheels covered by Toyo R888 84W tires. The car was also fitted with a stainless steel KW Variant 3 suspension system.

CoverEFX Mini Cooper JCW

We’ll let you know once they announce the price list for the car and when it will be available.