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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.
 |  Aug 22 2012, 2:03 PM

Topping the brand’s hot hatch range, the 2014 Volkswagen Golf R is appearing today for the first time in spy photos with a few visibile changes over the current model.

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 |  Feb 28 2012, 6:00 PM

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MINI is announcing their special John Cooper Works (JCW) edition Countryman ahead of its upcoming Geneva debut, touting it as a fun vehicle on any terrain.

The John Cooper Works edition will build on the already entertaining performance of the Countryman S to offer more horsepower, a tuned suspension and sport-inspired styling. MINI kept the same engine displacement, a 1.6-liter inline four cylinder, but tuned an extra 30 hp for a total 211-hp thanks to variable valve technology, direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging borrowed from BMW.

Despite that power gain, the company claims the JCW will actually be more efficient. EPA numbers aren’t available yet but the car is predicted to get slightly better than 39 mpg, though MINI didn’t specify highway or city consumption. Those numbers will probably be available this Fall when production is set to begin.

A JCW suspension is supposed to keep the car feeling nimble and fun to drive, thanks to stiffer spring and damper settings, stronger anti-roll bars and a 0.4-inch lower ride. A chrome-tipped exhaust is also supposed to compliment the large intercooler present in the JCW model.

As was true in previous Countryman models, the drivetrain takes advantage of MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system, though consumers will be able to choose between the standard six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, a first for JCW cars.

Aside from performance tuning, the JCW package gets a number of visual upgrades. It’s available with a “chili” red roof and mirror caps as pictured above, among other exclusive paint color selections. The specified accents compliment the interior in the seats.

Specially-styled lightweight 18-inch aluminum alloys and JCW emblems set the car apart from other MINIs, though 19-inch wheels are an available option. Aside from the JCW badging, the car also gets new front and rear aprons and bespoke side-skirts.

We’ll be reporting from the Geneva Auto Show next week, covering this and all the other releases.

GALLERY: 2013 John Cooper Works MINI Countryman

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 |  Apr 12 2010, 9:04 PM

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Last week we reported that the Ford RS500 had “sold out” in 12 hours based on the interest it garnered with official news of its release. Following hot on its heels and noticing the overwhelming demand on the RS500, Ford has released news of the MP350 package for regular Focus RS owners.

For those currently rocking a standard Focus RS in the UK or Europe  they will be able to order a factory-approved performance kit which includes a plethora of go-fast parts that will still retain the factory warranty. On the intake side, the forced induction RS gets a larger air box and intercooler while an upgraded exhaust expels the excess fumes. A recalibrated ECU, which probably ups the boost production of the turbocharged 2.5L five-cylinder engine. An upgraded fuel pump ensures everything works safely and in-tune.

The MP350 kit, developed with Mountune Performance, ups the horsepower output to 345-hp and 339 ft-lbs of torque, just like the RS500. Pricing hasn’t been announced for the kit yet, but it will be interesting of this hot hatch gains more momentum in North America. Perhaps ambitious Ford Focus owners will be doing their own rendition of the RS500.

GALLERY: Ford Focus RS500

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[Source: Inside Line]