Ferrari to unveil unique Super America 45 at Villa d’Este

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Misc. Auto Shows, Ferrari

Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2011

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2011 official event poster – Click above for high-res image

Villa d’Este is a wonderful place. Situated along the shores of picturesque Lake Como in northern Italy, every year the palatial grounds play host to the Concorso d’Eleganza that strips all that is mundane and industrial about a regular car show and lets the sun shine through. The annual show is sponsored by BMW, but mixes the finest concept cars of the year with the most beautiful classics – and will feature an auction for the first time – but there’s always something new in store for the concours.

Last year it was Zagato’s Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa – the one-off that preceded the recently-announced TZ3 Stradale. And this year Ferrari and Pininfarina will showcase a new coachbuilt custom at the lakeside exposition, alongside the likes of the Audi Quattro Concept, Infiniti Etherea, Rinspeed BamBoo and James Glickenhaus’ P4/5 Competizione.

Dubbed the Super America 45, it picks up its name from the Ferrari back catalog with models based on the 400, the 410 and most recently the 575M. This latest one-off is tipped to be based on the 599 GTB Fiorano (or one of the myriad variants thereof), commissioned by a New York collector through Maranello’s custom orders department and fitted with unique sheetmetal from Pininfarina.

The press release on the event confirms the Super America 45’s participation, but indicates it’s a six-cylinder car. Since Ferrari hasn’t made a V6 since the Dino 246 went out of production 37 years ago, we’ll chalk that one up to a mistake. As for what the 45 stands for when the first Superamerica was introduced in 1956 is beyond us. One way or another, we’ll find out when the show opens later this month, so follow the jump for the press release and watch this space for more.

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Ferrari to unveil unique Super America 45 at Villa d’Este originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 May 2011 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Help Popular Mechanics find the worst road in America

Filed under: Etc.

road in horrible condition

Popular Mechanics is searching for America’s worst roads, and it needs your help. Readers from all over the U.S. are encouraged to submit photos showing just how bad their local thoroughfares are. Once the submissions have been evaluated, PM will choose its top five.

The “winning” roads will get a visit from the Popular Mechanics crew, who will analyze just how screwed-up it is with a custom data-logging device. Strapped onto a car, the analytical tool’s multi-axis accelerometer will provide information to the researchers and help them determine which road is the worst of the bunch.

A few ground rules are in place, however, because certain roads have to be excluded from testing. The magazine isn’t interested in private roads, or “streets” that lack paving. Editors are looking for standard roads that, over time, have gone from smooth to suspension-busting. Head over to Popular Mechanics for information on sending in your local road for consideration, if you feel it makes the cut.

[Source: Popular Mechanics | Image: Monica’s Dad/Flickr via CC 2.0]

Help Popular Mechanics find the worst road in America originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 May 2011 09:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #227: with Brock Yates, Jr. of One Lap of America, New York recap and more!

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Podcasts, Government/Legal, Safety, Acura, Infiniti, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi

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Brock Yates, Jr. joins Chris Shunk, Dan Roth and Chris Paukert for Autoblog Podcast #227 to talk about the 2011 Tire Rack One Lap of America, which starts this weekend. The crew also recaps the New York International Auto Show, Mitsubishi pulling the plug on the Eclipse and Endeavor, the push for standardizing push-button starting systems and your feedback and questions with the Q&A module. We’ve re-posted the Q&A at the bottom of this post so you can play along at home, too. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week!

Autoblog Podcast #227: with Brock Yates, Jr. of One Lap of America, New York recap and more!

  • New York Auto Show Wrap-up
  • Mitsubishi to kill off Eclipse, Endeavor
  • Fed mulling regulating push-button start
  • Scion iQ delayed due to parts shortages
  • Hyundai launches Assurance trade-in value guarantee

In the Autoblog Garage:

2012 Acura TL SH-AWD
2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo
2011 Infiniti M35h
2012 Mazda CX-7

Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Shunk, Chris Paukert
Guest: Brock Yates, Jr.
  • Runtime: 01:35:20


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Autoblog Podcast #227: with Brock Yates, Jr. of One Lap of America, New York recap and more! originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Apr 2011 15:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New car sales on the rise in Latin America

Filed under: Car Buying, South America

Brazil traffic jam by Rafael Cavalcante

According to the Los Angeles Times, new car sales in South America are skyrocketing, thanks to wage hikes, more jobs and easy credit terms. Last year, there were 3.5 million new car and light truck purchases in Brazil alone, representing an 86-percent increase over 2006.

While Brazil leads the charge in terms of new car sales numbers, Peru topped the heap in terms of per capita market growth, moving 106,000 new cars in 2010, or three times its 2006 total. Argentina and Columbia also experienced car-buying booms, with their markets growing by 25 percent and 50 percent respectively over 2006.

Despite car-buying increases in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Peru, the trend doesn’t ring true in Mexico, where new car sales have dwindled. In 2006, Mexicans bought 1.2 million new cars, as opposed to just 820,000 in 2010. Dealers blame the decline on Mexico’s opening the market to used American cars. Venezuela saw a decrease, too, after import duties were increased in an attempt to stem inflation.

The trend is obviously good for automakers like General Motors, who move plenty of metal in Latin America, and need all the help they can get from expanding markets. Importantly, the upward trend in new vehicle sales also shows that at least some South American economies are beginning to stabilize. Easy credit, longer loan repayment periods and consumers’ increased disposable income indicate that the region as a whole is on the rise.

[Source: The Los Angeles Times |Image: Rafael Cavalcante – CC 2.0]

New car sales on the rise in Latin America originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 24 Apr 2011 15:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Maserati GranTurismo MC for North America unveiled

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Maserati

Maserati GranTurismo MC
Maserati GranTurismo MC – Click above for high-res image gallery

At the Paris Motor Show last year, Maserati pulled the veil off the GranTurismo MC Stradale – the fastest roadgoing Trident this side of the Enzo-based MC12. And while Maserati won’t be selling the MC Stradale on the Western shores of the Atlantic, it has done the next best thing.

The US-market GranTurismo MC is nearly identical to the European-market MC Stradale, save for two key differences: for one, it replaces the Stradale’s sequential gearbox with the smoother ZF automatic transmission from the standard GranTurismo, and for another, puts the rear seats that were deleted for the Stradale back in place.

Otherwise it’s the same machine, packing the same 450-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 as the MC Stradale (which also powers the new GranCabrio Sport) and the same aggressive aerodynamics package.

Maserati unveiled the GranTurismo MC (as well as the GranTurismo Convertible Sport, as the top-of-the-line convertible is known over here) at its new TriBeCa showroom in Manhattan on the eve of the New York Auto Show. Get a closer look at the GranTurismo MC in the gallery below and follow the jump for the full details in Maserati’s press release.

Gallery: Maserati GranTurismo MC

[Source: Maserati]

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Maserati GranTurismo MC for North America unveiled originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 24 Apr 2011 09:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee to get 3.0L diesel V6 in North America by 2013

Filed under: SUV, Europe, Jeep, Diesel, Off-Road

Jeep CRD diesel engine

Autoblog just heard it straight from the Italian-Canadian horse’s mouth: The hot new Jeep Grand Cherokee in North America will – somewhere between soon and the end of 2013 – be getting the same recently improved 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel engine that Europe gets. In the Grand Cherokee, this oil-burning powerplant is good for 237 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is fully delivered between 1,800 and 2,800 rpm. This is music to all Jamboree and Rubicon fanatics everywhere.

It has not been decided whether or not there might be a special six-speed manual shifter offered alongside the W5A580 five-speed overdrive automatic transmission, and an eight-speed automatic is in the works, as well. But the manual with the Quadra-Drive II transfer case on a Trail Rated Grand Cherokee would bring the glee Stateside even moreso.

Fiat Auto CEO Sergio Marchionne is fast becoming the new Bob Lutz in his ability to cast aside all carefully kept secrets of the communications team and talk about the good things that are coming. Only minutes after Jeep’s international bosses artfully skirted the issue of a common-rail diesel GC here in North America, Marchionne assured us that one would, in fact, be coming. We respect the Jeep leaders. We dig Sergio.

Not only does the latest generation of the 3.0-liter CRD engine with Multijet II management – built by VM Motori in Italy based on specifications from Fiat Powertrain Technologies – get 19-percent greater fuel efficiency than the previous mill, it produces 20-percent less CO2 emissions. Towing capacity is quoted at just over 7,700 pounds, the maximum for any current Grand Cherokee trim.

But will the Wrangler get the European 2.8-liter CRD inline-four good for 197 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque, paired with the NSG370 six-speed manual and Rubicon Rock-Trac transfer case? Because that, folks, is the holy grail item. Even Sergio was mum on this.

Gallery: Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Gallery photos copyright (C)2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Image: Matt Davis/AOL]

Jeep Grand Cherokee to get 3.0L diesel V6 in North America by 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan Altima outsells Camry, Accord in March, named best-selling sedan in America for first time

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, Nissan, Earnings/Financials

2010 Nissan Altima sedan

Nissan Altima – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan says it achieved a 9.7 percent U.S. market share in March, the highest single month in company history. Complementing March’s heady number is an overall market share of 9.3 percent for Nissan in the first quarter of 2011. That represents a 0.3 percent gain in market share, building on 2010’s 0.4 percent gain.

March also saw the Nissan Altima take the title of best-selling sedan in America, another company first. The Altima contributed 32,289 units to Nissan’s 121,141-car total, which is nearly a 27 percent bump over last year’s March figures. It isn’t immediately clear what incentives Nissan had on the car during the month of March to aid sales, but presently, the Japanese automaker is offering zero-percent financing for up to 60 months or 1.9 percent APR financing for up to 72 months, or $1,250 cash back.

Had enough numbers? Too bad, Nissan isn’t quite done. Monthly sales were up 28.4 percent for the division, another record, and Infiniti saw a 13.5 percent sales hike in March. With numbers this big, Nissan is looking at a banner year.

Gallery: 2010 Nissan Altima Sedan

[Source: Nissan]

Nissan Altima outsells Camry, Accord in March, named best-selling sedan in America for first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW pondering first Latin America plant?

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, BMW, South America

BMW Roundel logoBMW may be planning to set up a new manufacturing facility in Brazil. The automaker currently only sells around 10,000 units per year in the South American country, but BMW has seen sales leap by 50 percent annually in the market for the past few years. According to Reuters, standards of living in Brazil are increasing at a rapid pace as the country prepares to host both the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Those increases have helped to fuel light vehicle sales, which ticked up by 11 percent in 2010 to 3.33 million units. That figure surpasses even Germany’s appetite for passenger cars.

If BMW does decide to set up camp in the southern hemisphere, odds are the company will simply outfit its Manaus motorcycle manufacturing facility to handle assembly of completely knocked-down vehicle kits, at least at first. Should sales increase by leaps and bounds, Reuters reports that BMW would consider a full-fledged manufacturing facility to help satiate demand. The company says that sales of as little as 50,000 units could make such a move worthwhile.

[Source: Reuters]

BMW pondering first Latin America plant? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Porsche 911 GT2 RS hits America

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Porsche, Racing

2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS – Click above to watch the video after the jump

The first 20 examples of the Porsche 911 GT2 RS were delivered last month at El Toro Air Station in Irvine, California. Owners who picked up their cars at the event had the opportunity to log track time with Porsche driving instructors before being released on the streets with their new 620-horsepower terrors.

Porsche High Performance Cars manager Andreas Preuninger was on hand to oversee delivery of the car he spent the last four years developing as a skunkworks-style project. According to Preuninger, he and the engineers who developed the 997 GT2 and GT3 RS started the project during testing of the “regular” GT2 at the Nurburgring. Essentially, the design brief was to combine the stripped-down nature of the GT3 RS and the power of the GT2 to build the fastest 911 possible.

To get every detail nailed down, Porsche engineers logged nearly 435,000 testing miles and another 80,000 hours of engineering time.

The end result is a 620-horsepower lightweight Porsche 911 that set a 7:18 lap time around the Nurburgring. The most-powerful Porsche ever built, the 911 GT2 RS was designed not as a money-making venture, but an exercise in supercar muscle-flexing by Porsche. The fact that Porsche stuck with the project despite its dubious profitability makes it even more amazing. Hit the jump to watch video of the GT3 RS in action.

Gallery: Paris 2010: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Paris 2010: Porsche 911 GT2 RSParis 2010: Porsche 911 GT2 RSParis 2010: Porsche 911 GT2 RSParis 2010: Porsche 911 GT2 RSParis 2010: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

[Source: Porsche via YouTube]

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Video: Porsche 911 GT2 RS hits America originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This is your 2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe, America

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, BMW, Luxury

2012 bmw 6 series coupe

2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

The shark has finally surfaced – the 2012 BMW 6 Series coupe has officially arrived. Its lines are tighter, its bite is more potent and it’s heading to your local BMW dealership sometime this fall. Under the hood sits the same 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that our man Chris Paukert sampled in the convertible. It produces 400 horsepower between 5,500 rpm and 6,400 rpm, and a stout 450 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 rpm up through 4,500 rpm.

That power is managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be controlled manually via a pair of paddle-shifters. Should you prefer to row your own gears in the more traditional manner, a six-speed manual gearbox will also be offered. The engine and both transmission options help propel the car from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4.8 seconds and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

In the cabin, the 2012 6 Series Coupe is filled with BMW’s latest gadgetry. A 10.2-inch high-definition screen serves as the nexus of visual information. This modern Sixer boasts available Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot detection, Rear and Top View Cameras, a Parking Assistant and a three-dimensional heads-up display.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg for the 2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe. Don’t break out the checkbook just yet, because pricing hasn’t been announced. For now, check out the updated two-door in the gallery below. Also, be sure to click past the jump to dive into the full press release.

Gallery: 2012 BMW 6 Series coupe

2012 BMW 6 Series coupe

[Source: BMW]

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This is your 2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe, America originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 12 Mar 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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