Auto Keirning Cars

Reviews Sport Car Collection Of Various Sources

Auto Keirning Cars

Reviews Sport Car Collection Of Various Sources

Auto Keirning Cars

Reviews Sport Car Collection Of Various Sources

Auto Keirning Cars

Reviews Sport Car Collection Of Various Sources

Auto Keirning Cars

Reviews Sport Car Collection Of Various Sources

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Is VW looking to buy Malaysia's Proton?


It looks like Volkswagen may be continuing to raid the global buffet of lesser automakers. According to reports, Malaysian carbuilder Proton has been in talks with ze People's automaker in an attempt to establish some sort of alliance, thought for now details are sketchy at best. Proton has made it clear that it's more interested in upping its exports than anything else. Given that fact, it wouldn't surprise us to see Proton-built machines wearing VW badges in some far-flung corners of the globe.

On the other hand, reports have surfaced that claim that VW has already admitted to looking into sharing platforms and engines with Proton as part of some sort of agreement, and that both companies have already explored badging the current Jetta as a new-and-improved Proton Perdana. Either way, we're told to expect a more solid announcement to come from the two companies by early next month. We'll keep our ears to the ground until then

[Source: Canadian Business]

2011 Ford Mondeo coming with 2.0L Ecoboost

2011 Ford Mondeo

The Ford Mondeo is due for a mid-cycle refresh for the 2011 model year and all signs point to a debut at the Paris Motor Show this September. But ahead of its big reveal, spy photographers have caught the new Mondeo out in the open, and while the basic shape hasn't changed, there's something far more interesting under the hood.

The major stylistic upgrades are up front, where the Mondeo's fascia picks up a few cues from the Fiesta and the 2012 Focus, including a larger lower grille and slimmer upper section. The front foglamps have been re-shaped and a strip of LED running lamps tie the design into Ford's B-segment hatch.

At the back, the tailgate gets a subtle re-shaping above the license plate pocket and it appears the lights have been modified under the camo tape. The most important changes will be in the engine compartment, where the Mondeo will get the new 2.0-liter Ecoboost inline-four and the Powershift dual-clutch transmission. Expect all the details to be revealed shortly ahead of the Paris show this fall.

[Source: Secret New Cars]

Friday, May 21, 2010

Governator says Tesla teaming up with Toyota in Cali

Tesla Model S sedan

California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger has apparently let slip ahead of a scheduled 5pm Pacific announcement that Tesla Motors will be teaming up with Toyota to build electric cars.

While some might speculate that the agreement could result in the re-opening of Fremont's idle New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant (NUMMI), SFGate says that this is somewhat unlikely. Any production agreement will likely involve the forthcoming Model S sedan, and NUMMI's facilities are significantly larger than what the model will require, as it was originally scaled to accommodate the joint venture between Toyota and General Motors which required much greater capacity. The smart money is on a new factory location, probably in Downey, CA (in Los Angeles County).

It is not yet clear what Toyota will bring to the table or what, if any money or stock is changing hands with this rumored agreement. Also, no word yet on how Mercedes-Benz feels about all this – the German automaker already has a 10 percent stake in the company after opening its coffers to the struggling EV manufacturer back in May of 2009.

[Source: SFGate]

Hexawheel design study picks-up where Mercedes-Benz leaves off

Mercedes-Benz Hexawheel concept by Siyamak Rouhi Dehkordi

Looking at luxury sedans like the S-Class and drop-tops like SLK, it'd be all to easy to forget that Mercedes-Benz has a rich background in off-roaders. But the Three-Pointed Star is also the maker of such rockcrawlers as the legendary Geländewagen and the Unimog. And that's the expertise that Iranian designer Siyamak Rouhi Dehkordi has tapped into with his Hexawheel concept.

Drawing inspiration from the articulated frames of insects, the Hexawheel employs six driven wheels on an articulated chassis with a flexible drivetrain. Measuring nearly 16 feet long with a foot and a half of ground clearance, the go-anywhere Hexawheel is designed to climb over tall vertical surfaces. The Persian mechanical engineer was also responsible for the F1-inspired Ferrari Zobin concept.

[Source: Car Body Design]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 remains a guilty pleasure

2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8

If the economic downfall of 2008 had happened just a few years earlier, the Chrysler 300C SRT8 probably wouldn't exist. Think about it: when the nation was on the verge of $4.00/gallon gasoline and people were doing everything possible to get out of their fuel-sucking SUVs and into smaller, more efficient vehicles, a 425-horsepower flagship sedan with a free-breathing 6.1-liter Hemi V8 doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But then again, did it ever?

The 300C SRT8 is the product of a pre-castrated Chrysler. This was a time of Viper-powered Rams, Hemi-powered Jeeps and SRT-badged Neons. "You want it, you got it." Chrysler wanted the 300C SRT8 to start a new trend of muscle sedans – a land where quarter-mile times reigned supreme, and booming exhaust notes were all that mattered. This trend never really caught on (save the Cadillac CTS-V, which has been honed to be one hell of a machine), and at the end of the day, Chrysler was left with a big, heavy, powerful sedan that didn't offer much in the way of refinement and carried a near-$50,000 price tag.

But despite its flaws – and there are quite a few – we still think of the 300C SRT8 as a guilty pleasure. It has all the ingredients of an American muscle car wrapped in a four-door, luxury(ish) package.

First shown in concept form at the 2003 New York Auto Show, the 300 really drove home the retro-inspired styling language that Chrysler infused into most of its products in the early 2000s. And to this day, we're still fans of the 300's design, particularly in SRT guise. All perimeter surfaces of the car are flat, and with the lowered stance and bigger wheels, it's simply striking, standing in stark contrast to the swoopy, fluid designs that have come to light in recent years. Yes, the 300's look is aging, and a new car is in the works for the 2012 model year, but we'd never use terms like "ugly" or "weird" to describe its appearance, and it still stands out in a good way.

The high beltline, narrow greenhouse, minimal front overhang and pronounced wheel arches on the 300C SRT8 go a long way towards hinting at the model's performance potential. In fact, for many years, a special SRT Design trim level was offered on the 300, which added the more aggressive front fascia (revised grille and lower lip spoiler), 20-inch Alcoa forged alloy wheels and slightly lowered ride height to models equipped with the less powerful (and less awesome) 5.7-liter V8. The SRT8 trim is the only thing that keeps the 300C's design in the front of our minds, especially since lesser V6 models tend to look lanky and somewhat disproportionate.

The interior, however, is a place where the 300's design hasn't managed to retain any sort of longevity. It's relatively bland, fronted with odd fittings like the oversized steering wheel, thick A-pillars and a deep dashboard, and when paired with Chrysler's poor interior refinement, it's a bad fit in a sedan that carries a near-$50,000 price tag. What's more, SRT8 cabins don't stand apart from what you'd find in less-costly models, save the aluminum trim and suede-like material that wraps the top quarter of the steering wheel. The big improvements to the 300's interior, though, are the SRT-specific seats, which are extremely comfortable and supportive – the sort of seats you'd want for cross-country drives. Really, we can't praise these chairs enough, and they go a long way in making the 300's interior a more livable environment. In every other regard, though, the quality of all cabin materials are below par at best – clunky plastics, shoddy fittings of trim around the gear shifter and radio/HVAC controls, and scads of other issues remind you this is what passed for a domestic bread-and-butter sedan in the early half of the last decade.

If you can get past the fact that the interior doesn't feel as nice as it should given the price, the functionality and usability isn't all that upsetting. Our top-trim test car was packed with all the latest and greatest convenience and comfort amenities – heated seats, sunroof, dual-zone climate control and auxiliary input/iPod integration worked into Chrysler's UConnect navigation/infotainment system. No, the UConnect isn't as feature-rich as systems like SYNC, MMI, iDrive or COMAND, but it's extremely easy to use, and though the whole interface is somewhat outdated, we don't have many qualms. We like simple, intuitive infotainment systems, and UConnect sits well with us.

The 300 rides on Chrysler's LX platform, and with a wheelbase of 120 inches, there's a ton of room for rear seat occupants – 40.2 inches of legroom, to be exact. Even up front, the legroom and shoulder room is more than accommodating. The problem, though, is that because of the low roof and high beltline, headroom is greatly compromised. You'll want to raise the driver's seat to get a commanding view of the road in front of you, but even your relatively short author (ringing in at five-feet, six inches) had issues with headroom. This is even more noticeable during ingress and egress, where you'll need to duck slightly to avoid hitting your head on the roofline. The headroom issue isn't as noticeable for rear seat passengers, but it's still a pain for getting in and out, especially since the back doors don't open nearly as far as you'd expect. Still, the rear seats are extremely comfortable (much like the buckets up front), and there were few complaints from passengers during our test.

All of these faults are immediately forgotten the first time you lay into the throttle and go blasting down a straightaway. The 6.1-liter Hemi roars to life and thrusts you forward with 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque; the five-speed automatic holding each gear to its peak when your right foot is pressed to the floor. It's a great feeling, and when you consider that the 300C SRT8 is a relatively hefty beast (4,160 pounds), the fact that it will rip off 0-60 mph times in the low five-second range is pretty impressive stuff. We don't even need to tell you how poor the fuel economy on something like this is, but we will anyway. If you tread lightly on the throttle, you can maybe (maybe) achieve the EPA estimated 19 miles per gallon on highway jaunts, but we're willing to bet that the majority of owners will experience something closer to the 14.5 mpg that we recorded during our week-long stint.

Turn off the traction control and you can smoke the rear tires all day long; this engine inspires hooliganism, if only in a straight line. And when you are testing 0-60 and quarter-mile performance times, the large 14.2-inch Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers are a godsend for ultimate stopping power. The brakes aren't touchy, but they never feel soft or like there's a lack of stopping power underfoot, and stomping the pedal will quickly bring the big SRT8 to a halt devoid of unexpected front end chatter. Chrysler says that the 300C SRT8 will do 0-100-0 in just under 17 seconds, and considering its heft, that isn't too bad.

When the road gets twisty, however, the 300C SRT8 loses a lot of its charm. At 196.8 inches long and 74.1 inches wide, the SRT8 is a big sedan, and while the German automakers have done a good job of creating large saloons that aren't exactly slouches in the bends, the Chrysler does flop around when pushed down challenging roads. Its 4,000-plus-pounds are extremely noticeable in these scenarios, and while there's always plenty of power on tap for blasting down country roads, the somewhat floaty suspension and heavy, uninvolving steering do little to inspire driver confidence. There's a noticeable amount of body roll during turns, and while the large 20-inch wheels riding on performance-oriented 245/45 tires do aid in traction and stability during enthusiastic driving, it's still not nearly as good as more nimble $50K sport sedans from our friends across the pond. Even the less-powerful Ford Taurus SHO is a better steer on challenging roads, though we attribute most of that to Ford's use of all-wheel drive and turbocharged power. Sure, the Chrysler will easily pull away from the SHO on straight stretches of road, but the Ford can no doubt carry more speed through a bend. At least the Chrysler's brakes are better, though.

It's best to think of the 300C SRT8 as a four-door Challenger. When you compare the Dodge muscle car to its Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro rivals, it easily takes last place in terms of driving dynamics. Still, the 300C SRT8 is a whole lot of fun on the majority of roads encountered during our test through metropolitan Detroit. The cushy suspension does a good job of softening stretches of broken pavement, and it makes for one hell of a highway cruiser. Images of blasting along I-80 through Nebraska come to mind – double cheeseburgers in hand and Coca-Cola in the cupholder.

The biggest problem is that, at nearly $50,000 ($49,125 for our test car), there are a whole lot of other options that are better buys than the 300C SRT8. As previously mentioned, the Ford Taurus SHO wins in both refinement and driving dynamics, and $50K will get you in to the bottom rung of Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series territory. Even an Acura TL SH-AWD is a compelling option.

But the one thing Chrysler's 300C SRT8 will always do better? Make you feel naughty for driving one. Because even though it's relatively outdated in terms of overall enthusiastic dynamics, and it makes little sense when you consider the competitive price set, we'd still eagerly drive one if given the opportunity. We love ripping off five-second runs to 60 mph, turning off the traction control and burning away from every stoplight, and most wonderfully, blasting down the highway with the windows down, sunglasses on and loud music coming from the stereo. It's an American sedan that inspires us to get out on the open road, and though we know there are cars that, for an enthusiast, are light years better to drive on involving roads, the 300C SRT8 has enough moxie to make any petrolhead wear a silly grin on his face.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Audi R8 GT goes on a diet and gets more power

Audi R8 GT

Audi dropped a very pleasant surprise on us this afternoon with the long-awaited announcement of the R8 GT.

The Audi R8 V10 was already one of our favorite sports cars in the world (sans the R-Tronic transmission) so how could you make it better? In the immortal words of Colin Chapman, "add lightness." But in a modern sports car required to meet rigorous safety standards, you can only go so far short of a complete redesign. Hence, the R8 GT's lightened chassis benefits from a power boost to boot.

The R8 GT swaps in a thinner glass windshield and polycarbonate rear windows and replaces many aluminum body panels with carbon fiber. By going over every part of the R8, Audi's engineers have carved a total of 220 pounds off the standard R8's curb weight.

The 5.2-liter V10 has been bumped from 525 horsepower to 560, topping its cousin, the Lamborghini Gallardo. The GT is only available with the aforementioned R-Tronic hydraulically actuated semi-automatic, and when pushed to its limit, the R8 GT is claimed to accelerate to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds and on to 124 mph in 10.6 seconds. The terminal velocity has been increased to 198.8 mph.

Only 333 examples of the R8 GT will be built and the price in Germany is €193,000 ($256,000 USD). No mention is made of U.S. availability, but we'd be surprised if Audi doesn't apportion a few for Stateside consumption.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

GM cancels plan to sell Chevrolet Orlando in U.S.

Chevrolet Orlando

Rumor has it that General Motors won't be selling the new seven-passenger Orlando here in the United States come 2011, or ever for that matter. According to Automotive News, GM has said that it will be skipping the people-mover in order to focus its attention on the models Chevrolet currently sells. Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet's product marketing director for small cars and crossovers, said that the company's current portfolio easily takes care of any family's needs.

While buyers in Canada, Europe and Asia will still be able to buy the new Orlando as scheduled, GM has decided to increase production of the Equinox, Traverse and Malibu here in the U.S. to make up for the missing model. The move is still somewhat of a shock, especially considering how hard GM was pushing the Orlando as part of its new product lineup just one year ago.

The decision to drop the Orlando does make sense, though. Despite the fact that the vehicle was based on the much smaller Cruze platform, it would be elbowing its way into an already packed showroom dominated by the likes of the popular Equinox. Those needing a little more space for their brood or luggage can still easily step up to a Traverse.

Meanwhile, Automotive News reports that the Cruze is still scheduled to begin production later this year.

[Source: Automotive News]

BMW X4 back on the table?


Were you, like us, just thinking that BMW's U.S. lineup would be fully complete if only it had just one more crossover utility Sports Activity Vehicle that slotted in somewhere between the small X3 and midsize X5? If so, we have good news. Just such a vehicle – logically and tentatively named the X4 – is rumored to be in development. Again.

Just as the X6 was designed as a sportier take on the more traditional SUV-shaped X5, the new X4 would inject a bit more Bavarian flavor into the plain ol' X3. Citing an unnamed source within the company, Autocar reports, "We haven't made any firm decision... however, the X6's success shows there is a continued demand for sporty off-roaders."

Yes, we've heard this rumor before, but not since 2008. Why the possible change of heart? Despite drawing ire from what seems to be a vocal minority, BMW reports that the X6 is handily outpacing its own initial sales projections. In fact, it's 80,000 sales worldwide is twice what the automaker had expected to sell. And one good turn deserves... something.

[Source: Autocar]

Buick LaCrosse rebranded as Daewoo Alpheon in South Korea

2010 Daewoo Alpheon

General Motors may be shying away from badge engineering here in the United States, but that doesn't mean the company is giving up its old ways in other parts of the world. Daewoo recently unveiled its new Alpheon sedan at the Busan International Motor Show in Korea, and the car is as identical as identical gets to the 2010 Buick LaCrosse we all know and love. The Korean automaker says that its newest luxury cruiser is "based on the same architecture" as the mid-size Buick, though we would be more inclined to say Xerox couldn't come up with a better copy.

Under the hood, Korean buyers will find the same mid-range 3.0-liter gasoline V6 that American buyers enjoy. As near as we can tell, the only significant difference is that the Tri-Crest badge has been ditched in favor of a Daewoo piece. At least they went that far.

The Alpheon/LaCrosse joined the debut of the Orlando MPV on stage at Busan. According to Daewoo, the sedan will hit dealers mid-way through this year. Hit the jump for the full press-release.

[Source: Daewoo]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


What a weekend, probably one of the most successful shows to date. We would really like to thank everyone who came and supported us.
We had the honor of meeting Tiff Needell and he came over to the GBS stand and was very impressed with the Zero, we asked him about getting an appearance on Fifth Gear.....So watch this space!!!
Look forward to seeing everyone at the next kit car Show at Newark in June.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Beijing 2010: Mitsuoka Galue Convertible is all kinds of wrong

Mitsuoka Galue

If ever there was proof that just because you can, it doesn't mean you should, it's Mitsuoka Motors. Case in point - the Mitsuoka Galue Convertible, which we've finally gotten to see in person here in Beijing. Sadly, we cannot un-see it. Why anyone would take a perfectly serviceable contemporary Mustang convertible and transform it into this is beyond us. Then again, this is the same company that created the Orochi.

The Galue 'vert's front end apes an older Bentley while the tail is lifted straight off a late-1990s Cadillac DeVille. It's all terribly wrong in so many ways. Just be happy that we've opted to spare you the sea monster-like Orochi, which was sitting on an adjacent turntable. It was so awful that the unfortunate model standing next to it collapsed from embarrassment.

Beijing 2010: Geely Emgrand GE plug-in hybrid limo

Geely Emgrand GE

Another entry that Geely has planned for its new Emgrand premium sub-brand is the GE limousine. Like many of Geely's new models, the GE has a very prominent grille but the rest of the design looks otherwise well-proportioned and attractive. With a 214-inch body sitting on a 124-inch wheelbase, the GE is a big car targeted at executives who prefer to be driven rather than get behind the wheel. The Geely Emgrand GE can be equipped with either a rear bench contoured for two passengers or a single large seat flanked by extra storage compartments.

Underneath, the GE has the same plug-in hybrid powertrain featured in the GT coupe. That means it gets a 2.4-liter inline-four that producing 160 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. The electric drive consists of a pair of 27.5 kilowatt, 132 pound-foot hub-motors for all-wheel-drive capability. The GE is targeted for 2015 introduction.

Beijing 2010: Geely Emgrand GT plug-in hybrid coupe

Geely Emgrand GT

The Geely Emgrand GT is another example of the automaker's apparent seriousness about being considered a top-flight player in the industry. This coupe features classic sports car proportions and aside from the overdone grille, it looks quite attractive. The GT comes from Geely's new top-level Emgrand sub-brand and boasts some impressive specs. It's reportedly a plug-in hybrid with a 2.4-liter inline-four that churns out 160 horsepower and 165 pound-feet on its own.

That output is supplemented by a pair of 27.5-kilowatt hub motors that give the GT all-wheel-drive capability. Those motors each add 132 foot-pounds of torque as well. It's not clear, however, which axle is being driven by the combustion engine and which gets the motors. The Emgrand GT is targeted for a 2014 introduction.

Beijing 2010: Dongfeng shows off whitewalled, hand-crafted "Hummer"


"Hand-crafted" can be something of a double edged sword in the car business. Rolls-Royces and Aston Martins are hand-made treasures that show off their artisans' decades of experience. The attention to detail is obsessive.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are machines that look like they were haphazardly slapped together by some drunken hack in a toolshed. This Dongfeng "Hummer" falls solidly into the latter category.

The Beijing Motor Show presented our first opportunity to see one up close. Now, love 'em or hate 'em, a real H1 has that genuine military-industrial chic going for it. This vehicle, however, was a hot mess of the first order. The tires had painted-on whitewalls that looked as if they were applied by someone with a five-minute deadline, a paintbrush, and a gallon jug of Wite-Out. Truly, it's something very special to behold.

Beijing 2010: 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Along with a refreshed Phaeton, Volkswagen also pulled the satin off a refreshed Tiguan here in Beijing. Like the flagship, the Tiguan has adopted the new corporate horizontal bar grille that we've seen on other recent VWs, including the Mk VI Golf. As near as we can tell, not much else has changed. The new look serves the Tiguan well, giving its face a lower, wider appearance. We're guessing the refresh will hit U.S. shores this fall when the 2011 models arrive.

Beijing 2010: 2011 BMW 535Li ready for chauffeur duty

2011 BMW 535Li

The Audi A8 L W12 isn't the only long-wheelbase saloon to debut at this year's Beijing Motor Show. BMW has a stretched version of the all-new 2011 5 Series that'll be built and sold exclusively in China. The limo-like Fiver is a full 5.5 inches longer than the standard 5 Series sedan, all of which accounts for additional rear legroom. New rear seat amenities like an entertainment system, adjustable sunblinds and a folding table are on hand, as well.

Spec-wise, the long-wheelbase BMW 5 Series isn't much different than the models sold in other markets. Three six-cylinder engines are available and eight-speed automatic transmissions are standard across the board. It may not be as over-the-top as Herr Audi, but we'd gladly go for a ride in the back of this upscale Bimmer any day.

Beijing 2010: Geely Gleagle GS

Geely Gleagle GS

The first time we saw something that could roughly be equated to a sport coupe from Geely was a few years ago at the Detroit Auto Show. That red car had some enormous panel gaps and dubious styling. My, how times change. The star of Geely's new midrange Gleagle brand (we're pretty sure it doesn't come across as oddly in Chinese as it does in English) was the GS coupe.

Similar in size to Scion Tc, the GS is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged inline four producing 127 horsepower. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual clutch unit. If any Chinese automaker is going to make it to the U.S., Geely seems the most likely and its purchase of Volvo could even give it access to a sales network.

Beijing 2010: First Auto Works Red Flag limo is fit for government work

FAW Red Flag

Beijing-based First Auto Works has long been the provider of the official transportation for the hierarchy of the People's Republic of China. Back in the 1950s, FAW started off building a localized version of the standard Soviet parade car, and over the past half century, they have evolved. FAW has also built licensed stretched sedans based on Audi and Lincoln vehicles.

Here at the Beijing Motor Show, FAW is showing off a new limo that is a modern interpretation those original models from the 1950s, but with a greenhouse and door array that looks more like a contemporary Rolls-Royce Phantom. We couldn't find any press materials written in English, but we have reason to believe that this machine is powered by a V12 engine that looks suspiciously like the one from the BMW 7 Series V12 of the late-1980s.


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