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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.
 |  Apr 03 2012, 11:45 AM

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To get people excited about the new, topless Roadster, MINI has opened up a live peep show on Hollywood Blvd, just a block away from the Kodak and Chinese Theatres.

A tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign for 25 days, curious passersby will get to feast their eyes on some MINI action after pressing a button on the display, triggering the window blinds to roll back to reveal a roadster showing off on a slowly rotating pedestal, complete with neon lights, a disco ball, smoke effects, and music to set the mood.

Vice President of MINI USA explained, “The new MINI Roadster is a devilishly fast, uncompromising two-seater soft-top with the soul of a sports car and the heart of a MINI. Our Peepshow reveal in this prime Los Angeles location sets the scene perfectly for our latest model which delivers more fun than one person can handle with its exhilarating ride and unlimited headroom.”

GALLERY: Mini Roadster Peep Show

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 |  Mar 18 2012, 3:01 PM

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Preparing for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bentley took its latest model in the line-up, the Continental GT 4.0 liter V8, for a series of high-speed runs to acquaint the new British sports car to the hill-climb event and to allow Goodwood’s VIP guests to catch an early glimpse of the latest Bentley.

As 2011 sales numbers reveal one-third of all Bentleys sold were GTs, the latest 4.0 V8 model looks to be an important component to the British brand’s future growth.

According to Bentley Marketing Operations Manager Steven Egan, “The team had an excellent day at Goodwood with the new Continental V8 and we’re now looking forward to returning in the summer as one of the Festival’s official partners and with our leading ‘Bentley Boy’ drivers behind the wheel.”

During the outing, Bentley also fielded its 6.0 liter W12 Continental Supersports Convertible ISR and the flagship 6.75 liter V8 Mulsanne to tackle the hill-climb as well.

GALLERY: Bentley at Goodwood

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 8:31 PM

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Earlier today, we reported that Brabus introduced an all new Bullitt C-Class coupe. Packing 800-hp from a heavily retuned  V12, the Brabus Bullitt eclipses the output of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series by nearly 300-hp.

Having made its name with “big-power” creations, Brabus is known to go “tiny-tunes” with the Smart Fortwo as well. Not only has Brabus released details of an electric Brabus Fortwo EV for the Geneva Show, but the German tuner has also announced another project based on the Fortwo Cabrio, known as the Ultimate 120. The Ultimate 120 is pretty straightforward, offering only 120 units, just as its name suggest. What’s more, its name is also derived from the round output of its 3-cylinder turbo engine, 120 PS (118 hp) at 6,000 rpm and 118 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,250 to 3,750 rpm.

Other hardware upgrades include a stainless-steel sport exhaust, height-adjustable coil over suspension, a high-performance brake system with cross-drilled discs and four-piston calipers at the front, new 18-inch wheels fitted with high performance tires.

In terms of its exterior, the Ultimate 120 receives a wide-body kit that includes a front spoiler, side sills, a rear apron, and wider fenders.

Brabus chose black mastik leather with red contrast stitching for its interior. In addition, the Ultimate 120 also gets Recaro Sportster seats, a Brabus steering wheel, body colored agent trims, stainless steel pedals and aluminum shifter and hand-brake lever.

With so much to offer, the limited production Ultimate 120 isn’t cheap. Prices are set at a steep 45,900 euros, or $61,600 USD. At that pricetag, even the Aston Martin Cygnet starts to look like a bargain.

GALLERY: Brabus Ultimate 120

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 12:15 PM

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Last year, we shared images of Tony Stark’s Acura NSX convertible on the set of the Avengers. Initially, Acura Spokesman Gary Robinson claimed an open-top NSX is a “one-off fictional car that was created just for the film.” 

Surprise! According to a Honda and Acura forum, six drawings of an open top NSX were filed with the European Patent Office on Febuary 22. The six illustrations include a wire-frame sketch showing all angles of the vehicle. When compared to the coupe variant, we notice slight styling differences at the side vents.

Check out the images below. We can’t wait to see one in the flesh at an upcoming auto show.

GALLERY: Acura NSX Concept

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[Source: Motor Trend]

 |  Feb 22 2012, 7:12 AM

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Mercedes-Benz has revealed its latest grand touring SL63 AMG hardtop convertible ahead of a planned debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Weighing 275 pounds less than the outgoing model, the new SL63 offers the laughter-inducing, hand-built M157 bi-turbo 5.5 V8 engine mated to the MCT seven-speed automatic transmission. The MCT features a trick start-up clutch that runs in an oil bath rather than a conventional torque converter. The inherent low centrifugal mass allows the transmission to engage extremely quickly.

Other hardware add-ons by AMG include 6-piston brakes that bite onto huge 15.3 inch compound discs at the front and 14.3-inch integral discs with single-piston floating calipers in the rear. An adjustable AMG sports suspension (sport or comfort) based on the Mercedes-Benz active damping system and speed-sensitive steering provide the handling needed to match the power. Custom driving dynamics are available as well, from “C” (Controlled Efficiency), “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport Plus), and “M” (Manual). In “C”, an engine stop-start feature works to control fuel consumption.

Power in the SL63 starts at 530 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, capable of 4.2 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. If more oomph is desired, the AMG Performance package provides an extra bump in output to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft, 4.1 seconds to 60 mph and a higher top speed limited to 186 mph.

Despite the dynamite hardware, Mercedes-Benz has chosen to go with an elegant and quiet exterior. Other than daytime LED, custom sport exhausts, and 19-inch alloy wheels (20-inch also available), there’s little to differentiate the AMG from the standard SL. The AMG will also be available with the optional Sky Control panoramic glass roof found in the standard convertible.

As for the interior, the SL AMG receives rich Nappa leather AMG sport seats, an integrated AMG DRIVE UNIT infotainment system with harmon/kardon Logic 7 audio, and an unique AMG instrument cluster.

Find out more about the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG as we get closer to the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

GALLERY: Mercedes Benz SL63 AMG

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 12:37 PM

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The cloth dropped from the 2013 Shelby GT500 convertible at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show today, delivering a topless blast of fast that we’ve been eagerly awaiting.

Just like a bottle of Bacardi 151 rum, this car is wickedly strong and gets its job done fast. With that in mind, here’s the lowdown on Ford‘s most potent convertible to date.

“The Shelby GT500 convertible is every bit the performer that the coupe is,” said Kerry Baldori, SVT Global Performance Vehicles chief engineer. “All of the significant changes we made in the program were instrumental in delivering a convertible that could really shine on the track but can still be driven on a daily basis.”

As for year-over-year comparison, Ford says the 2013 model is 3.5 seconds faster around the track than the 2011 or 2012 models.

That said, there isn’t much mechanically different from the coupe, aside from the obvious convertible top, the latest angry muscle car in the 49-year lineage is anything but a disappointment. Expect the same 19-inch alloys in the front and 20′s in the rear, sitting around Brembo brakes.

It delivers on exactly what you want, obnoxious power and ostentatious appeal that’s sure to turn heads anywhere you go. Under the hood, the same 5.8-liter gut-wrencher of a V8 makes 650-horsepower and a neck-snapping 600 lb-ft. of torque.

As per the coupe version of the latest snake-worthy mustang, the same all-new 2013 drivetrain is still in place including cool features like a carbon-fiber drive shaft and an upgraded transmission axle and clutch.

It’s no surprise that the top-of-the line Mustang, meant to keep the Chevrolet Camaro ZR1 on edge, gets some additional weight thanks to Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers available on the performance package and  a newly tuned chassis.

GALLERY: Shelby GT500 Mustang convertible

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Watch AutoGuide’s first look video of the Shelby GT500 Convertible below:

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 |  Jan 10 2012, 11:25 AM

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We have seen pictures of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-class before, first when pictures from its brochure got leaked, followed by the official release of images and specs about a month ago.

However, its unveil at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI., is the first time it has been shown in the flesh. Like its predecessor, it has a folding metal roof, and the air scarf system, which blows hot air on your neck, perfect for driving with the top down even on cold days.

What is new about this new SL is its nearly all-aluminum construction. Due to this light-weight material, this new SL is 175 lbs lighter than the out-going model. Couple its lighter weight with the new 4.7-liter, turbo-charged, V8 which produces 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, and you’ll end up with a very quick rear-wheel drive car. 0-60 mph in the SL550 model now takes just 4.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically-limited to 155 mph. You can bet, faster AMG-models are also going to be offered shortly after this model goes on sale.

If you like gadgets more than performance, not to worry, the new SL has plenty of toys to keep you happy. There is the MAGIC SKY Control, which makes the panoramic glass in your retracting hard-top go from clear to dark. So it is truly a convertible for all seasons and all types of weather.

There is also the MAGIC VISION Control, which is an advanced wiper system, which features wash nozzles that send washer fluid directly onto the wiper blade, and also would heat the water on colder days, so give a nicer, cleaner wipe from the start.

The audiophiles will no doubt love the new Frontbass system. This audio system utilizes the space in the footwell, which now features extra speakers. With sound coming from all corners, the idea is to give a full orchestral experience to the cars occupants.

The 2013 SL550 will go on sale in spring.

GALLERY: 2013 Mercedes SL550

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See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the new SL below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 10 2012, 11:09 AM

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Very few car companies can lay claim to have a twin-turbo charged, 500-hp, V8 as their entry level vehicle, but Bentley can.

At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the Bentley Continental GT V8 made its World premiere. While the original W12 version continues in production, this new V8 will be offered at a lower price point to combat the very best super-coupes from its German rivals.

The GT V8 looks very similar to any other Continental GT, both inside and out, so essentially this is a powertrain story. The power comes courtesy of a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo, V8. Maximum output is 500-hp and 487-lb/ft of torque. Like all previous Continental GT’s, the new V8 model also features all-wheel drive. The only transmission on offer is a close-ratio, 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

The performance numbers as you’d expect are pretty impressive. 0-60 mph sprint takes just 4.6 seconds, while top speed is a remarkable 188 mph.

Perhaps even more impressive is its fuel economy. On a highway cruise, this GT V8 can achieve 33-mpg. It can manage that because of its cylinder-deactivation system. So when you’re simply cruising, it will shut down four of its cylinders. So this Bentley can actually run for 500-miles on a single tank of petrol. Could this be a sensible Bentley!

2011 was a great year for this British manufacturer, recording their second-highest year of sales in its history, with 7003 cars delivered globally, of which 1876 units found homes in America.

With this new entry-level GT V8 (No prices given, but expect those to be over $150,000), and also the GTC V8 convertible going on sale this year, Bentley sales might surpass all their previous records.

GALLERY: 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8

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 |  Jan 04 2012, 10:30 AM

There was a time, not so long ago, when Porsche decided they didn’t need to participate at the North American International Auto Show because Detroit, Michigan wasn’t the right demographic market for their products.

Oh, how times have changed. Not only has Porsche returned to the venue, but they are staging a World Premiere of one of their most important models, the latest 911 Cabrio (991 Coupe pictured above).

Those who will be in Detroit (that includes us) will be the first to lay eyes on the drop-top version of the 991-generation model Cabriolet.

Bernhard Maier, a Porsche AG board of management member for sales and marketing said; “The USA is and remains an important market for Porsche with good growth prospects. Detroit was deliberately chosen for the world premiere of the new 911 Cabrio because the USA is far and away our largest 911 Cabrio market.”

The latest generation of 911 will go on sale on our turf next month, with the Cabrio following a few months later. So if you’re rich and you know it, you now know when to visit your local area Porsche dealer.

 |  Dec 21 2011, 8:10 AM

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Keeping vintage Ford Mustang enthusiasts happy, Ford have added a new full classic Mustang body shell to its Ford Restoration Parts catalog.

Along with the 1969 Mustang Fastback and the 1965 Mustang Convertible, the addition of the 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible body shell should be extremely popular. Featuring pronounced character lines, the 1967 body style is identical to what was used in the era’s Shelby GT350s and GT500s. The 1967 body shell is also wider and offers a larger engine bay than the 1964 1/2 to 1966 model. According to Ford Restoration Parts licensing manager Dennis Mondrach, “These days, the chances are fairly slim of finding a restorable, rust-free ’67 Mustang that has never been wrecked. As the value of classic Mustangs has increased over the years, garages, barns, and scrapyards have been picked clean.”

Moreover, Ford built these classic shells using modern welding techniques and manufacturing practices. The new ’67 body shell will be stronger and will be capable of handling 428 cubic inch big block engines while retaining an identical appearance to the original. The ’67 Mustang Convertible body shell will be on sale for $15,995.

GALLERY: 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible Body Shell

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 |  Dec 08 2011, 4:29 PM

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The Audi A3 was caught by our spy photographers undergoing winter testing in Sweden. Despite heavy camoflague, we already know what the next A3 will look like – look at any current Audi for clues to what the front and rear treatments will resemble.

The new A3 will come in three and five door variants (dubbed the Sportback) a convertible and interestingly, a sedan. Audi previewed the sedan at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, and while the production version may not be as radical as the awesome looking concept (which packed a 408-horsepower 5-cylinder engine and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox), the car will definitely be attractive, and pack a full suite of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines, dual clutch gearboxes and all-wheel drive.

North America will definitely get the sedan, and likely the five-door hatch, but we may not get the 3-door or ragtop versions, as those have previously been the exclusive domain of world markets.

Gallery: Audi A3 Spy Shots

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 |  Nov 14 2011, 9:30 PM

With the previous generation Alfa Romeo Spider now firmly in the ground, Alfa is looking to the next generation, and reports indicate that it will be a substantial break from the last car (pictured above), based on the stunning but portly Brera sports coupe.

Alfa is eager to fast track the Spider in time for Alfa’s 2013 launch in North America. Brand recognition for Alfa Romeo remains high in the United States, thanks in part to Dustin Hoffman’s iconic Spider in the 1960′s classic film The Graduate. Power should come from a 1.7L turbocharged 4-cylinder making roughly 150 horsepower and weigh an amazing 2200 lbs.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 |  Nov 10 2011, 2:16 PM

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The ultra-limited production Jaguar XKR-S will get a droptop companion sometime in 2012, with Jaguar unveiling the 2013 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16th.

With a 5.0L supercharged V8 making 542 horsepower and 502 lb-ft , making it the most powerful Jaguar ever produced. The coupe can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds while reaching speeds of 186 mph. Expect the droptop to be just a tick slower due to the added weight. Jaguar will also show the C-X16 concept in North America for the first time, giving domestic show goers a glimpse of the amazing turbine powered concept.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 |  Oct 28 2011, 12:45 PM

The glory days of the muscle car era may be long over, but die-hard fans of V8 powered American iron don’t have to spend countless hours restoring oxidized hulks of decades-old metal anymore.

Ford will be showing off a brand new ’65 Mustang bodyshell – yes you read that right – at the 2011 SEMA Show starting Monday, October 31st. Dynacorn International, an independent contractor used by Ford to stamp body shells, also creates brand new bodies for Ford Mustangs Chevrolet Camaro and Chevelle models as well as Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Pickups.

With the new bodyshell (which costs around $15,000) and Ford’s authorized parts dealer network, one could basically build an all-new vintage Mustang, configured as an original 1964.5, a 1965 or 1966 model. Such a car would be subject to various kit car laws, and would have to be assigned a special VIN number by one’s local government, but for the hobbyist that wants the absolute best muscle car going, there’s really no better option.

[Source: New York Times]

 |  Oct 14 2011, 4:00 PM

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Volkswagen announced that they would unveil two new vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and a convertible version of the Beetle is among the rumored introductions.

Considering the popularity of the previous droptop Beetle, Los Angeles seems like an obvious choice for the new car. On the other hand, we’re not so sure what the second vehicle could be – something like a production version of the Bulli would attract more buzz in the run-up to the show, so we’re guessing it’s merely a revised version of an existing product.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 |  Oct 06 2011, 10:00 PM

Porsche‘s Camp4 Canada will return to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec for another season starting January 31st until February 6th. A new course, dubbed “Camp4S” wil continue from February 7th to February 10th.

Camp4S will expand on the skills taught at Camp4, but will only be offered for one wave. Otherwise, participants can expect a similar experience to ours when we attended Camp4 in February 2011. Of note is the addition of a fleet of new 991-chassis Porsche 911 Carrera S models, and a new off-track base at the Esterel Suites Spa & Lake hotel.

Pricing for Camp4 will be $4,995, with Camp4S pricing to be announced later. The standard course lasts two days, but one day programs will be available for corporate functions. Participants can register at porsche.ca/camp4 or by calling 1-800-Porsche.

 |  Oct 06 2011, 9:00 PM

Ferrari‘s been making a big push to promote the winter driveability of their cars, even going as far as to set up a winter driving school in Colorado featuring their new, AWD Ferrari FF.

Now Ferrari has released a video of their rear-drive California tearing up the slopes in St. Moritz, Switzlerland. It’s actually a pretty uninspiring video as far as hooning and speed go, but seeing any Ferrari driving on a snowy course is a novelty.

Hit the jump to see the video

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 |  Sep 27 2011, 5:45 PM

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The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider will retail for a starting price of $257,000 when it goes on sale in January of 2012. The 458 Spider features a retractable aluminum hardtop rather than the soft top of previous Ferrari Spiders.

The new system weighs 55 lbs less than a soft top and takes only14 seconds to deploy. The Spider is expected to hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds thanks to its 4.5L 570 horsepower V8 and 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. Like other Spiders, the 458 costs about 15 percent more than its hardtop counterpart, and Ferrari expects owners $60,000 in options alone.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Sep 23 2011, 5:42 PM

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Saab‘s museum collection of historically significant vehicles was seized by Swedish authorities from the company’s museum. The Swedish Enforcement Office took possession of  the museum and other contents, including 13 exhibits, 22 engines and six workshop tools.

Saab is said to owe parts suppliers more than $31 million in overdue payments, and the Swedish government is moving to seize Saab’s assets. Saab was said to have been readying to sell off its museum collection, but was granted protection from creditors, enabling them to hold off attempts to seize assets.

[Source: Left Lane News]

 |  Sep 13 2011, 11:09 AM

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Two years after debuting the SLS AMG at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz has followed up with a convertible version.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster swaps its predecessor’s splashy gullwing doors for conventional doors and a soft top roof that closes in 11 seconds and can be operated while moving at speeds up to 31 mph (50 kph).

The Roadster is powered by an AMG 6.3-liter V8 pumping out 571 hp and 479 ft-lb. The engine is paired to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Optional electronically controlled sports suspension offers three modes: comfort, sport and sport plus.

Other options include a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound system with a 250-watt subwoofer and AMG Performance Media. AMG Performance Media offers an unprecedented level of telemetric data for a production model. The system can display engine oil, coolant and transmission fluid temperatures, individual tire pressure, acceleration time from 0-100 kph, and both lateral and linear acceleration combined with braking performance and accelerator position all in real-time.

AMG Performance Media also provides high-speed internet access – but only when the car is stationary. The Android-powered system allows driver and passenger to surf the internet, send and receive email and even install apps. Mercedes-Benz says the AMG Performance Media system will be offered in other future AMG high-performance models.

GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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 |  Sep 13 2011, 9:57 AM

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Ferrari lifted the covers off the new 458 Spider featuring an aluminum retractable roof that opens and closes in 14 seconeds.

The Ferrari 458 Spider is powered by the same 4.5 liter V8 engine as the 458 Italia, which means 562 hp at 9000 rpm. Top speed is rated at 198.8 mph with a 0-62 mph time of under 3.4 seconds.

Helping produce those figures is the hard top. The aluminum roof – a first for a mid-engined car – fits just in front of the engine compartment without aerodynamics or performance taking a hit. The roof takes about 14 seconds to open or close.

GALLERY: Ferrari 458 Spider

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 |  Sep 12 2011, 2:57 PM

Given all the attention the Lamborghini Aventador has been getting of late, it would seem that it’s older sibling, the Gallardo has been left out in the cold.

Well, Laborghini has decided to give the smaller car some love, bolstering the lineup with the hottest version ever; the LP 570-4 Trofeo Stradale.

Unveiled at Volkswagen’s Press Night, during the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show; the spicy new Gallardo is derived from the racers that compete in the one-make Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series, hence the name.

Key features include carbon composite aerodynamic aids that improved aerodynamics over the regular Gallardo, including a manually adjustable rear spoiler (which result in a three-fold increased downforce); as well as improving stability through the corners.

There’s also a quick release, race car style engine cover ; plus a 570 horsepower mid-mounted V-10; race-derrived six-speed gearbox with standard steering wheel paddles; plus a Blancpain Super Trofeo based suspension, featuring aluminum double wishbones at all four corners. Monster brakes with eight piston front and four-piston rear calipers plus aluminum rotors round out the chassis features.

Riding on ultra-lightweight, black finished 19-inch wheels, shod in Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber and complimented by a Rosso Mars exterior hue with black accents (optional for the roof; standard on the spoiler , air intakes and mirror housings), the Trofeo Stradale is truly a sight to behold (Lamborghini says it will also offer the car in Grigio Telesto or Bianco Monocerus, fancy terms for gray and white, for those so inclined).

Weighing at just 1340 kg (2954 lbs), it promises to be the best performing of the breed ever; 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.4 seconds; with a top speed of 198 mph (320 km/h). It’s shame that the company says it will only be producing 150 examples, though for the lucky few that managed to put one in their garage, there’s no question  they’ll have a bonafide future collectible.

Gallery: Lamborghini Gallardo Trofeo Stradale

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 |  Sep 09 2011, 11:30 AM

An ingenious way to enjoy the sunshine while driving, sure, but is a convertible roof also a killing machine?

According to a report out of Belgium a woman was killed when the retractable top on a BMW closed on her. It’s not known what model of BMW or if it was a hard-top of soft-top, but the mechanism is said to have closed on her neck. The car belonged to the woman’s employer, who she worked for as a maid and was said to be cleaning the car at the time.

BMW has yet to comment and police are continuing to investigate.

[Source: Standaard via Jalopnik]

 |  Sep 02 2011, 8:30 PM

Fans of Italian cars should prepare to dry heave, as Lancia has just released an image of their new Flavia Cabrio, looking like a poorly rebadged Chrysler 200.

The only engine available is a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. Thrilling. Lancia will also get a re-badged Chrysler Town & Country, known as the Voyager as part of their rejuvenated, Chrysler-infused lineup. You can check back for AutoGuide’s for live Frankfurt coverage starting on September 13th.

Hit the jump to see the press release below

Continue Reading…