Vlad Balan – 14/131 – rpmGo.com

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.


Post tags: Tags: gps, satellite navigation

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


Post tags: Tags: Mini, mini 50 camden, mini 50 mayfair, mini cooper d, mini cooper s, mini-cooper

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. (more…)

Post tags: Tags: BMW, bmw 5 series gt, bmw-5-series

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.


Post tags: Tags: bumblebee, Chevrolet, chevrolet-camaro, transformers

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.


Post tags: Tags: BMW

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.


Post tags: Tags: Fiat, magna international, 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


Post tags: Tags: Citroen, concept-car, GTbyCitroen

Volkswgen has released the first official details and photos of the new Scirocco R, a car which enthusiasts have eagerly been waiting for. The most powerful Scirocco is powered by the 2.0 liter engine from the previous generation Golf GTI, which delivers 265 hp and max torque of 350 Nm (258 lb-ft). We’re not sure why VW decided to go with this solution, when they could’ve used the 2.0 TSI from the current Golf GTI, but rumor has it that it was all about development costs. Anyway, that’s not a problem, because we’re sure the Scirocco R is a wonderful car to drive, especially with the car’s low weight (1,330 kg or 2,932 lbs). One of the ways VW managed to keep this low weight is the use of the front wheel drive instead of the all-wheel drive that equips the other R models in the German carmaker’s range.

According to VW, the Scirocco R accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.5 seconds (6.4 with the DSG gearbox), which is 0.4 (0.5) seconds faster than the new Golf GTI and the same (0.1 faster with the DSG) as the new Golf R32 4Motion. Top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h (155 mph). Other mechanical upgrades made to the Scirocco R include a specially tuned sports chassis and XDS electronic traverse differential lock (the electronic differential lock – EDS – is integrated in the ESP system), lower suspension with new dampers and springs and larger brake discs (345 mm up front and 310 mm at the back).

Of course, being the most powerful version in the Scirocco range, the R model had to be given a new body kit to distinguish it and VW did just that, by fitting the car with a specially designed bumper with large air inlets and LED daytime running lights, radiator grille styled in a high-end glossy black with new R-logo in chrome on black background, larger roof-edge spoiler and a large glossy black diffuser. The double flow exhaust system with oval chrome tailpipes and the new 18 inch “Talladega” R wheels complete the car’s sporty look.

As for the interior, you can assume it also received the sporty treatment, VW offering the Scirocco R with sport seats covered in Kyalami fabric weave (optionally in leather) with R-logo on the front head restraints, aluminium inserts on the instrument panel, high-gloss black accents for the center console, door handles, gearshift grip and steering wheel spokes, parking brake grip and gearshift trim in leather, aluminium tread plates with R-logo and a multifunctional, flat-bottomed R-design leather steering wheel.

Full Photo Gallery: Volkswagen Scirocco R


Post tags: Tags: Volkswagen, volkswagen scirocco r, volkswagen-scirocco

I don’t know about you, but this is the first time I’ve heard of a race car crashing into the Safety Car. I mean, these cars look so innocent that you’d never figure how and why someone would have anything against them. The incident I’m talking about happened this weekend at the Race 2 of the WTCC stage in Pau, France and what happened was that independent driver Franz Engstler, who was leading the race, didn’t see the safety car coming on the track and smashed into it, causing significant damage to both cars.

However, after the official investigation, it was determined that the safety car drivers, Philippe Cholet and Jean-Pierre Colas, “were not given the go and left the pit lane on their own, steering in the middle of the track instead of using the acceleration lane. The data logged by the ECU of Engstler’s BMW showed that he actually slowed down and braked as he saw the yellow flags and SC boards on the main straight.”

See the video of the crash after the jump. (more…)

Post tags: Tags: crash, Motorsport, safety car, wtcc

The new Mercedes Benz E Class Coupe went on sale recently, but the German company announced that most likely there won’t be any AMG versions for the car, which is a shame, because the car looks magnificient. And Brabus agrees with that and has decided to work on several packages for the elegant coupe.

No doubt, the highlight will be the package for the E500, where Brabus engineers increased the engine’s displacement to 6.1 liters, making the powerplant deliver 462 hp (340 kW) and a peak torque of 615 Nm (453 lb-ft) at just 3,100 rpm. This means the Brabus E500 sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph). The cost of this mod is 29,000 Euros (about $39,700) and it includes the installation of a billet crankshaft with longer stroke and larger pistons, four-valve cylinder heads fitted with custom camshafts and specially programmed engine electronics.

But the E500 won’t be the only version to get power upgrade kits, Brabus offering more excitement to owners of the E250 CDI Blue EFFICIENCY with the D4 tuning kit (1,390 Euros or $1,900) which increases the power output by 31 hp, up to 235 hp (173 kW) and to E350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY owners with the D6 module, which delivers 272 hp (200 kW) and peak torque of 590 Nm (413 lb-ft).

Brabus has also been working on a new aerodynamic kit for the E Class Coupe, which includes Brabus fron spoiler with integrated LED daytime running lights, new aluminium front sport quarter panels with integrated clear-coated carbon-fiber inserts, new rocker panels with LED entrance lights integrated into the undersides (customers can also choose an integrated illuminated Brabus logo) and Brabus rear apron with a centrally mounted reflector and custom tailored cutouts. The car’s sporty look is completed by the one-piece or multi-piece Brabus Monoblock light-alloy wheels, available in 17, 18, 19 or 20 inch sizes.

All Brabus E Class Coupe units will benefit from a Brabus Tuning Warranty of three years, up to 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles).

Full Photo Gallery: Mercedes Benz E Class Coupe tuning by Brabus


Post tags: Tags: brabus, mercedes benz e class, mercedes benz e class coupe, Mercedes-Benz, Tuning

One of the highlights of this year’s 28th Wörthersee Tour which will take place between May 20-23 in Austria will be the Audi Q5 custom concept, a sporty version of the small SUV created especially for this event. The customized Q5 features a wider track (90 mm more than the production version), a ride height lowered by 60 mm, ceramic brakes, modified air intake and a special Daytona Gray matt paint with red applications on the rims, roof rails, front skirt and rear spoiler. The car’s sporty look is completed by the massive 21 inch 7 twin-spoke wheels.

Under the hood, the Q5 custom concept is powered by the same 3.0 TFSI V6 engine from the S4, but whose power output has been increased from 333 hp (245 kW) to a more impressive 408 hp (300 kW), which means the car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

Photo Gallery: Audi Q5 Custom Concept


Post tags: Tags: Audi, audi-q5

Not the most known tuning company around, Wimmer Rennsporttechnik Solingen has a very impressive performance program for the Porsche 911 GT2, with the highlight being, without doubt, the 150 hp power increase, from the series 530 hp to an amazing 680 hp. The massive upgrade is made with the help of a bi-turbo engine, improvement to the engine management, new cylinder heads, sport camshafts, sport clutch and a custom-built Wimmer sport exhaust with two 100 Zeller sport catalysts.

According to Wimmer RS, the pumped up Porsche goes from stand to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds, from 0 to 200 km/h (125 mph) in 9.78 seconds and 300 km/h (186 mph) is reached in 25.8 seconds. The top speed is somewhere around 356 km/h (221 mph), depending on conversion and clearance of the tires.

The price for this package in Germany is 29,800 Euro ($40,500) and, beside the performance upgrade, customers will also get an styling kit with exterior mirrors and rear spoiler lip made of carbon (on request, all parts can be made of carbon), chassis improved with H&R components and 20 inch Sportec wheels.

Photo Gallery: Porsche 997 GT2 tuning by Wimmer RS


Post tags: Tags: Porsche, porsche gt2, Tuning, wimmer rs

Wow, that’s a very interesting move. German automotive giant Daimler and small California based startup Tesla Motors have announced a partnership, where Daimler bought a 10 percent stake in Tesla. Like I said, that’s an interesting move, but not completely unexpected, because the two companies were already working together to integrate Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack and charging electronics into the first 1,000 electric Smarts. Daimler’s investment in Tesla means the two companies will work more closesly in developing battery systems, electric drive systems and individual vehicle projects. Also, as part of the agreement, Herbert Kohler, Daimler AG’s VP for E-Drive and Future Mobility will take a seat in Tesla’s board of directors.

“Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialization of electric drives globally,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “As a young and dynamic company, Tesla stands for visionary power and pioneering spirit. Together with Daimler’s 120 years of experience in the automotive sector this collaboration is a unique combination of two companies’ strengths. This marks another important milestone in Daimler’s strategy for sustainable mobility.”

“Daimler has set the benchmark for engineering excellence and vehicle quality for more than a century. It is an honor and a powerful endorsement of our technology that Daimler would choose to invest in and partner with Tesla,” said Tesla Chairman, CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. “Daimler is also on the leading edge in the field of sustainable mobility. Among others the lithium-ion pouch-cell battery developed by Daimler and especially designed for automotive applications is of interest to us. We are looking forward to a strategic cooperation in a number of areas including leveraging Daimler’s engineering, production and supply chain expertise. This will accelerate bringing our Tesla Model S to production and ensure that it is a superlative vehicle on all levels.”


Post tags: Tags: daimler, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla

The German tuner Hamann has released the first details and photos of their new tuning program for BMW’s flagship, the new 7 Series. The program includes an aerodynamic pack featuring new front skirt with integrated LED daytime running lights, new Hamann side skirts, rear shield insert optionally available for the 730d and the 740i, new roof spoiler and rear spoiler. The car’s sporty look is further improved by the four round stainless steel end pipes with a diameter of 90 mm and by the one-piece Hamann Design HM EVO 22 inch aluminium wheels, available in a glossy black paint finish.

Under the hood, Hamann engineers are currently working on a performance enhamncement for the 730d, which boosts the diesel engine’s power output by 45 hp (33 kW), resulting a total output of 245 hp (180 kW). Handling was improved by using four progressively coiled chassis springs which lower the car by 40 mm (available for the 730d and the 740i), while the 750i and the 750Li models will get a lowering kit consisting of two chassis springs and an evening kit.

Photo Gallery: BMW 7 Series tuning by Hamann


Post tags: Tags: BMW, bmw 7 series, hamann, Tuning

According to the Nikkei business daily, Toyota has already received over 75,000 orders for their new 2010 Prius, which looks like it’ll be a fierce competitor for the Honda Insight. The Honda hybrid was launched in Japan back in February and the Japanese carmaker managed to sell 20,000 units in the first three months, a lot more than what they were expecting. Toyota hasn’t yet confirmed these numbers, a spokeswoman for the company saying they haven’t yet compiled dealers’ orders ahead of the scheduled launch on Monday.

Toyota, who is facing an incredible $8.6 billion potential operating loss in the year to next March, is currently going through a major top level management change. The company’s founder grandson, Akio Toyoda, will be named head of the company next month, on June 23, while former executive, Yoshimi Inaba, which left the company in 2007, will be the new head of US operations. In total, more than 40 percent of Toyota’s top managers are or will be replaced.


Post tags: Tags: Toyota, toyota prius