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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  May 01 2012, 7:31 AM

According to a leaked spec sheet, Ford‘s upcoming Focus ST global hot hatch will start at $23,700 ($24,495 with the $795 destination charge).

Since its inception, Ford’s former Global Performance Vehicles chief Jost Capito intended for the Ford Focus ST to be at the top of its class, ”We want to have the best hot hatch in the sector. We want to be better than a VW Golf GTI, better than a Renaultsport Megane 250 – and we believe we have achieved that with a car that can be used day-to-day but is also extremely entertaining for enthusiastic drivers.”

Packed with the robust EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Focus ST produces 247-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Offered with a 6-speed manual transmission, the driving enthusiast’s gearbox of choice, the Focus ST lays down a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds.

Although the latest hot hatch is certainly a lot of car for an affordable price, tacking on additional trim packages and equipment groups can quickly drive the price closer to $30k. Order codes ‘Equipment Group 201A and 202A charge for $2,505 and $4,840, respectively. A moonroof will cost $895, navigation is an additional $795, the special Tangerine Scream Tricoat Paint finish will cost another $495, and finally, an engine block heater will set you back another $35.

Depending on trim levels and combinations, a fully equipped Focus ST should fall close to $29,000, drawing it near basic Ford V6 Mustang territory. Despite the risk of overlap, these two sport oriented cars are distinct enough as to not risk the cannibalization of sales.

With the Focus ST set to arrive in dealers later this year, it’s only a matter of time before Ford releases a Fiesta ST hot hatch for the US as well.

GALLERY: 2013 Ford Focus ST

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 |  Apr 29 2012, 5:02 PM

Having renewed its long-term business relationship with GM, Walt Disney Land has renovated, or “re-imagined”, an older test track feature at Epcot for a more up-to-date experience.

With an atmosphere that combines Tron themes and the appearances of a development lab, the new ride incorporates a new design center concept that allows visitors to design and create their own GM vehicles. Guests use interactive design and styling workstations to come up with their own prototypes, and will later hop aboard to experience their thrilling creation first-hand on the twisting and turning Test Track. After the ride, participants can also make their own pretend commercial, or take a picture with the new car.

Sponsored by Chevrolet, the ride is intended to provide a fun learning experience, sharing a look inside the process of vehicle testing and development.

Expect the new Epcot Center Test Track to be revealed this fall. To car enthusiasts planning a fun trip to Orlando, don’t miss out!

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 |  Apr 28 2012, 4:37 PM

A Russian car dealer is redefining the word ridiculous by offering a gold-plated Porsche 911. Rather than going the slightly more popular route of gold chrome wrapping, this example features 44 lbs of gold plating instead, with etchings on the metal designed by respected Russian artist, Denis Simachev.

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 |  Apr 27 2012, 3:15 PM

A tiny car with big personality, Morgan CEO Charles Morgan announced that the radical Three-wheeler will be offered in the U.S. through the distribution channel of three select U.S. dealerships. Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 27 2012, 12:11 PM

Iconic racing cars never retire. Having not seen competitive action for a decade, a special 1952 Jaguar C-type returns to racing for the 2012 Royal Automobile Club Woodcote trophy, and the racing Reverend Simon Butler will be behind the wheel. Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 27 2012, 8:45 AM

Honest business: 1, international crime syndicate: 0. Eric Blumberg owns Rent-In-Style, an L.A. based high end rental car company, which offers clients an opportunity to take out premium luxury and performance vehicles for a couple hours or even a week.

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 |  Apr 26 2012, 5:45 PM

Brace yourselves, the Ferrari hybrid is coming. Having first revealed its mid-engine HY-KERS development at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa confirmed that the future halo mid-engine hybrid supercar will officially debut in 2013.

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 |  Apr 26 2012, 1:52 PM

Honda announced a technology breakthrough today capable of detecting the potential for traffic congestion by actively determining whether the driving pattern of a vehicle is likely to create bottle-necking. 

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 |  Apr 26 2012, 8:38 AM

Can’t find enough ways to proudly display your love for Porsche? The German luxury company suggests you try a banner. Once again showing its prowess for engaging its fans, Porsche has introduced a new app on its Facebook page, allowing users to create their own Porsche themed Facebook timeline cover picture.

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 |  Apr 25 2012, 8:02 PM

Brabus established its name as the monster tuner of Mercedes-Benz engines capable of exceeding 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque. But for its latest project, the company drops its earth-shaking V12 in a bold pursuit for a more eco-friendly diesel hybrid.

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 |  Apr 25 2012, 2:01 PM

A series of very public Li-ion defect related incidents have caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) decision to hold a meeting with automakers and battery suppliers with regards to the safety of the new technology.

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 |  Apr 24 2012, 6:15 PM

Adoration for Ayrton Senna was rekindled after Asif Kapadia’s film “Senna” came out in 2010, creating a new following among younger racing enthusiasts and inspiring a fresh group of Formula 1 fans.

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 |  Apr 24 2012, 12:31 PM

From Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport L’Or Blanc and Grand Sport Vitesse to everything in between, there is no shortage of special edition Veyrons produced. A natural progression, Bugatti has joined the likes of the Jeep Wrangler Dragon and has unveiled a China-exclusive special edition vehicle for the 2012 Beijing Motor Show – the Veyron Grand Sport Wei Long.

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 |  Apr 23 2012, 7:01 PM

Judging from the series of releases at the Beijing Auto Show, China is far and away the most important market for global automakers. A trend first started by high-end luxury brands, Jeep is hopping on the bandwagon by introducing the Jeep Wrangler Dragon design concept, a China-market-exclusive vehicle that features a “dragon design” theme to commemorate the Chinese calendar’s Year of the Dragon.

“The Jeep brand is committed to China and therefore we must design and tailor our vehicles to the specific tastes and preferences of chinese consumers,” said Jeep Brand CEO and COO for Asia, Mike Manley.

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 |  Apr 23 2012, 2:32 PM

Last week, patent applications from Ferrari revealed a new hybrid system for its front-engine V12 road cars. Continuously developing efficient and high performing engines at a fierce pace, Ferrari has now released details on a new mid-engine V12 hybrid powerplant at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.

Designed specifically for the Ferrari Enzo successor slated to debut towards the end of the year, Ferrari intends for its new hybrid system to deliver a flagship that will raise a new benchmark in performance, emissions and efficiency. The HY-KERS system features two electric motors connected to batteries. While the primary electric motor mounted to the gearbox sends power to the rear wheels, the role of the secondary electric motor is to power auxiliary systems including power steering, brake servo, air conditioning and on-board systems.

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 |  Apr 23 2012, 8:02 AM

The latest Land Rover Evoque “Special Edition with Victoria Beckham” seems to possess all the right ingredients to become a proper special edition vehicle. The former “Posh Spice” member of the wildly successful Brit pop girl group Spice Girls, a stand-out BFA award-winning fashion designer, and wife of international soccer star David Beckham, Victoria has worked closely with the British Automaker in developing the latest model.

In its latest Victoria Beckham special edition offering, the Evoque features what Victoria described as a “masculine” treatment. Describing her process, Victoria Beckham explained, “When I first started working with the team I did a lot of research, and created mood boards to show the team my love of timeless and classic design. I looked at yachts, luxury jets and classic cars.”

The result is an exterior painted in a stealthy matte gray color scheme accented with a glossy black roof and trim pieces. The 20-inch wheels are black as well, each wearing 245/45 rubber, exclusive to this particular edition Evoque. Lending a softer “Posh” touch, Victoria sprinkled rose-gold accents, painted onto the wheels and plated to additional trim pieces inside and out.

As for the special Evoque’s interior, Victoria Beckham chose “vintage tan” semi-aniline leathers , finishing the seats with baseball stitching a composition that gets Mrs. Beckham to remember her family’s time in California. What’s more, Victoria also chose Mohair Carpets similar to those found in her father’s Rolls-Royce. Finally, no special edition is complete without a bespoke four-piece luggage set to go with the vehicle.

Mechanically untouched, the Evoque Special Edition with Victoria Beckham offers the same turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four engine producing 240-hp. Land Rover has decided not to tack on a bespoke “Special Edition with Victoria Beckham” badge onto the Evoque either, as a long and clumsy moniker won’t do the car any favors anyway. Instead, the limited examples will be distinguished by Beckham’s signature found inside the leather folder for the Evoque owner’s manual.

Only 200 examples of “Special Edition with Victoria Beckham” will be produced, beginning sales in the Chinese market first. Prices start at £80,000 to £90,000, or $130,000 to $145,000 after currency exchange. While a 200 percent mark up over a standard Evoque may seem outrageous, no price is too high for the well-heeled.

Check out the Evoque “Special Edition with Victoria Beckham” promo video below: Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 22 2012, 8:53 AM

Mercedes-Benz revealed images and a video of its latest Concept Style Coupe design study earlier this week, but the concept’s rollout accelerated as the Mercedes CSC exhibit headlined yesterday’s Transmission LA:AV Club at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.

A 17-day art event featuring concerts, DJ nights, performances and installations, the Transmission LA:AV Club is curated by Mike D of the iconic Beastie Boys rap group. While the Mercedes-Benz CSC concept only officially bows at next week’s Beijing Motor Show, this LA sneak preview provided a welcome closer look at the car.

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 |  Apr 21 2012, 7:02 PM

Although BMW M division president Friedrich Nitschke emphasized earlier that the BMW M135i will not arrive to U.S. shores, later reports confirm that we will get the sporty small BMW after all.

Hinged on a technicality, the M135i concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show is based on a 1-Series hatchback layout exclusive to the European market. However, a recent interview between BMWblog and Nitschke revealed that an M135i tailored for the North American market will be available. Rather than a hatchback format, the American M135i will likely adopt a coupe or convertible layout.

No word on the official release date for the hot little Bimmer, but its arrival should come well after the standard second-generation 1 Series in 2013. BMW is refraining from revealing official performance numbers as well, but we expect the solid twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six to produce roughly 340 hp.

GALLERY: BMW M135i Concept

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 |  Apr 20 2012, 5:02 PM

Relaunching the Alfa Romeo brand in North America has been a priority for Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne since he assumed the chief executive position for Fiat and Chrysler three years ago.

Through years of setbacks, Marchionne admitted that transitioning Alfa Romeo’s return into the United States would be among his most difficult tasks.

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 |  Apr 19 2012, 6:45 PM

BMW‘s M division president Friedrich Nitschke has revealed some new details regarding the line of future M products.

First, the BMW M135i concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show is confirmed for production, offering a turbocharged six-cylinder powerplant mated to a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. What’s more, optional all-wheel drive is offered as well. Unfortunately, the M135i will be out of reach for the North American market.

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 |  Apr 19 2012, 5:02 PM

Last year, civil unrest and rioting caused the Kingdom of Bahrain to withdraw from hosting the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix. One year later, Formula 1 returns to Bahrain despite remaining political instability.

Authorities gave their word to assure the safety of the visiting Formula 1 community, promising to provide an enormous security presence for the event.

Unfortunately, the security measures proved insufficient when four mechanics of the Force India F1 team were caught in the middle of an incident as police clashed with protesters while the team’s hire car was stationary in Bahrain traffic after leaving the circuit yesterday.

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 |  Apr 18 2012, 8:02 PM

Ford announced the launch of a new campaign encouraging people to adopt a lifestyle devoted to environmental sustainability. The program includes a national electric vehicle education program, a multi-city tour, and finally the debut of a 10-film short documentary series.

Ford’s documentary series, The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World, goes beyond the automotive sector to put emphasis on people creating sustainable businesses to affect positive change around the world. The short film series will feature game-changing eco-entrepreneurs that have brought innovation in sustainability for areas ranging from food and fashion to urbanization, technology and design.

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 |  Apr 18 2012, 7:15 PM

Last week, Chrysler announced delivery of four plug-in hybrid Town & Country minivans to the Auburn Hills city of Michigan as the initial part of an extensive two-year hybrid development project worth $25.8 million. Today, company delivered eight more units to the Duke Energy utility company as part of the two-year project.

As the only minivan to boast a plug-in hybrid powertrain in combination with flex-fuel capability, Chrysler also revealed the specifications of its new plug-in Town & Country.

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 |  Apr 17 2012, 6:32 PM

Following the infamous incident at the 2011 Targa Newfoundland where Zahir Rana, owner of ZR Auto, sent his Edo Ferrari Enzo, careening it into the Atlantic Ocean, Rana will return to the open road event.

Rana was upbeat in an interview immediately after his crash, “Gee, this was so much fun, I’m going to do it again. Gonna do bigger, better next time,” he said.