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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 30 2012, 10:15 AM

At the end of last year, Mazda decided to pull the RX-8 off its North American showroom floors and announced that a limited edition model will be produced for 2012, but just for the local Japanese market.

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 22 2012, 11:02 AM


While many businesses had been hurt badly by the tough economic times, some of which have never recovered, British luxury and sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is thriving.

The company just released its full year results for the 12-months ending on December 31, 2011 and are happy to report that the numbers are in the black.

Aston Martin’s revenues increased by 7 percent, to $817.3-million, its highest since 2008. Aston’s earnings before interest,taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) works out to be $112.8-million.

Aston Martin managed to make this profit by shifting 4200 vehicles in these 12-months, which also included selling all 77-examples of the One-77 supercar.

“Our 2011 results demonstrate the energy, passion and ongoing resilience of Aston Martin – a truly unique, independent manufacturer. We are on track with our expansion plans around the world, especially in China, and are investing in new models,” said Aston Martin’s CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez.

The Aston Martin brand is stronger than ever. This is demonstrated by intense interest in the new V12 Zagato, recently shown at the Geneva Motor Show, and our $1.93-million One-77 supercar – all 77 of which are now sold.”

Aston Martin has also accrued $122-million in projected sales since last months Geneva Motor Show, so the future is looking very bright indeed.

While many car enthusiasts have complained in recent years that Aston Martin has not come out with an all-new car in quite some time (apart from the mega-bucks One-77), it seems those who can afford such high-priced items are buying them and the people running the company know what they are doing.

 |  Mar 09 2012, 11:45 AM


One of the most iconic sports car brands in the world has to be AC cars. After all, it was their Ace model that a young Texan by the name of Carroll Shelby took a liking to back in the early 1960′s, added more power (and bulges) to it, and hence gave birth to the Cobra.

Since then, AC has had its fair share of ups and downs, with the company going into receivership in 1996. Thankfully the new owner of the company decided to not only service existing cars, but also put the Cobra back into production. With the popularity of this iconic sports car only growing with time, the company has been able to sustain itself while many other British cars firms have disappeared.

However, even if the continuation series Cobra MK II and MK IV models are doing well, AC cannot move forward by just making a model from its past. To move forward, they needed a new model, and what they came up with has just been unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show.

It’s called the AC 378 GT Zagato, and it is the first all-new model the company has presented in over a decade. If the design looks familiar, it’s because this car was first shown back in 2009 as the Perana Z-One concept by Zagato.

While Perana seems to have vanished, Zagato offered the design to AC, who have thankfully taken on the project which has culminated to the car you see here today.

The AC 378 GT Zagato has its own chassis and body (both of which are put together in South Africa, by the same people who build the Noble sports car), but motive power comes from a very American source. Under that long hood is the same 6.2-liter, naturally-aspirated V8, that you would find in the base Chevrolet Corvette C6. According to AC, this engine produces 434-hp and that is good enough to propel this 3223-lbs car from 0-60 mph in under four-seconds and onto a top speed of 185-mph.

So not only is it pretty, it is also quite fast. At this point we are sure you’re tempted to park one on your drive way, but there are a few issues with that. Initially, AC will only offer this model for sale in U.K. and Germany, and currently there are no plans to bring this model for sale in the U.S.A. Even if it was available, you’d have to come up with $141,800 to have one. That makes it three-times more expensive than the car it shares its drive-train with.

After their initial run, AC will be taking the brand to global markets. After all, a car this pretty that comes from a well-established brand has the potential to do well in emerging economies.

 |  Dec 06 2011, 12:45 PM

Next year, Ferrari will bid farewell to the aging 599 GTB, but not before giving it one last special edition model.

This next one will be called the 599 GTB 60F1 Edition and it is to commemorate 60-years since Ferrari won its first race in Formula 1 back in July of 1951, at the Silverstone circuit.

This new car will not only commemorate Froilan Gonzalez, who drove the 375 F1 back in 1951, but also Fernando Alonso, who secured the teams first win in the 2011 season.

So as a tribute, a plaque featuring the signatures of Gonzalez and Alonso will be affixed to the dashboard.

Technically these special edition models aren’t much different from the regular 599 GTB, so there is no extra power on tap. However, all the 60F1 special editions will come standard with the Handling Grand Turismo Evoluzione (HGTE) package.

The 60F1 will also feature three special paint schemes:

The 375 F1 livery pays tribute to Gonzalez’s car and is painted in the darker red of historic Ferrari race cars.

The 150th Italia livery is based on the 2011 racer as driven by Alonso and features white A-pillars and buttresses, and white lower front bumper, with painted mudguards and a discreet white paint on the hood. This one also features the tri-colors of the Italian flag on the rear spoiler.

The 150th Italia Livery 2 is completely red, apart from the white lip on the front bumper.

All special edition models also get the Ferrari fender shields and satin finished 20-inch alloy wheels. You will also get grippier rubber for better handling.

Inside, you will either find a four-point racing harness in blue and red (as per all the F1 cars on the 2011 grid), or a regular three-point belt in red for markets that do not alloy four-point harnesses for road cars.

The Euro-spec models will get seats by Sabelt, while the American version will be fitted with Recaro seats. Both types of seats will feature a material called Superfabric which provides more grip.

So if you want to own a piece of Ferrari history, make your way to your local dealer and place your order. All these models will be delivered in 2012.

Gallery: Ferrari 599 GTB 60F1

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 |  Oct 26 2011, 4:30 PM

Since the inception of the Subaru WRX and STI models, they have thus far been linked to the ho-hum Impreza compact sedan/hatch. While that saved Subaru a lot of money in developing a new platform in the past, and they have done a phenomenal job transforming a boring family car into a supercar hunting sportscar, for some the Impreza link is this car’s only downfall.

Subaru too wants its WRX and STI models to now be taken more seriously and hence from 2013 are going to unveil new versions which will be based on a unique platform.

We first reported on this news back in July, when this was just in a speculation stage. But now it seems the WRX and STI will form their own models, separating them from the Impreza.

So while there is a brand new Impreza being launched for the 2012 model year, the old (or shall we say current) WRX and STI will soldier on for one more year.

As for the 2013 WRX and STI models, lots is still being speculated about what powertrain this car will have. One rumor circulating the web is that it’ll be powered by a 1.6-liter, boxer four-cylinder motor with a massive turbo-charger, and it will be capable of producing 270-hp. Could the next STi sport around 350-hp? Only time will tell.

GALLERY: 2011 Subaru WRX STI

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[Source: Car and Driver]

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Subaru WRX STI Review

 |  Oct 25 2011, 2:15 PM

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The Audi TT has been among us for a long, long time. While the original model wasn’t great, it sold in huge numbers. The second generation model was much better to drive, but has not sold in the same capacity.

To keep the public interested in the TT, Audi keeps coming up with newer, more powerful versions of this car. There was the TT-S, which was followed by a the oh-so-awesome TT-RS. Now word comes that Audi is working on a even more potent model, which could possibly be called the TT-RS Plus.

According to industry moles, this new model will use an upgraded version of the current, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder, turbo-charged motor. Power is expected to rise from 340 hp to 385 hp. That should make it quite fast. It should be lighter also, by as much as 130 lbs, thanks to no back seats, so expect this to be the best TT ever.

Since Audi is looking to replace the current TT in 2013, this new hot version will be the last hurrah for this model. Not much else is known at the moment, but we will keep you posted.

GALLERY: Audi TT-RS

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[Source: L'Automobile]

 |  Oct 05 2011, 3:00 PM

There once was a time when the British cottage-car industry was flourishing and they made many unique and interesting cars like TVR, Marcos and Healey. However bad business planning, reliability woes and ever toughening safety and emission regulations have killed off many such niche-market car companies.

One of the few survivors is Ginetta. First started in 1958 by the Walklett brothers, the company is now owned by Lawrence Tomlinson, who in the last six years has been working on a full revision for the brand. First came the G40, which uses mechanical components taken from the Mazda MX-5, and now comes what you see here today, the new G60.

Those who follow the British motor industry might recognize this car as the Farbio GTS. Tomlinson bought the rights to produce that car under the Ginetta banner in 2010, and initially called it the F400.

However, the car has changed quite a bit over the last year, so hence it warrants a name change. It has new headlights and tail lights, revised cooling vents, and many new carbon-fiber bits on its body. Inside it sports a new dashboard, a new pedal box, and a new touch screen infotainment system. The biggest change however is found under the hatch. This is where you’ll find its new engine, a 3.7-liter, V6 taken from the Ford Mustang. In this application, this engine produces a respectable 310 hp and 288 lb/ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed gearbox, via an automatic torque biasing rear differential.

Launch this 1080 kg, mid-engined sports car properly, and you’ll sail past 60-mph from a standstill in 4.9 seconds, and onto a top speed of 165 mph.

Impressive performance then, and since it has no power steering, no ABS brakes, and no traction control, it will be a sportscar for purists who prefer doing the work themselves, rather than some computer.

It will also appeal to those who want something rare. Ginetta plans to produce only 50 examples of the G60 for its Global distribution network, so if you have one, chances of you running into another will be rare. At $105,000 it’s not cheap, but then exclusivity always has its price. Unfortunately, since the car is not crash test approved for North America, you won’t be able to buy one here. Such a shame.

The G60 will have its first public unveiling at the Silverstone circuit next week.

[Source: Pistonheads]

 |  Sep 24 2011, 3:10 PM

 

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is one of the most highly anticipated models of 2012. This 580-hp, supercharged V8 monster will certainly be one of the fastest sportscars on the market.

Many enthusiasts are waiting to get their hands on this model, but if you want the very first one, get ready today. At the Barrett-Jackson Auction being held today in Las Vegas, a Chevrolet dealer will auction off the first customer ZL1.

While in actuality, this will be the 69th ZL1 built at the Oshawa factory, this carbon-black metallic example is a tribute to the 69 examples of the 1969 Camaro ZL1, but it will be the first one delivered to a customer.

The car is donated by Fairway Chevrolet in Las Vegas, with 100% of the proceeds going to the YMCA of Southern Nevada.

The ZL1 will be delivered to the highest bidder by next spring.

GALLERY: 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1

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 |  Sep 12 2011, 1:00 PM

Another year, another auto show and another special edition exotic sports car is to be unveiled. At the 64th Frankfurt International Auto Show, Aston Martin is to introduce the Vantage 4.7 Special Edition.

This model, which features the firms V8 motor, produces 426-hp (6-hp more than usual). That power is sent to the rear-wheels via a six-speed manual or Sportshift automated manual gearbox.

This model, according to its maker, is capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 180-mph.

From the exterior, there is not much difference. Apart from the silver grille surround, it looks just like any other V8 Vantage.

It is the same story inside, with changes limited to a gunmetal alloy instrument binnacle and graphite finish on the center console. However, this special edition model does come with such goodies such as satellite navigation and park distance control as standard.

This special edition is only on sale in Europe and for a very limited time. Orders will be taken from 13th September to 30th September only. The number made will depend on how many orders got taken in these 17-days. These special edition cars will be delivered by the end of this year.

[Source: GT Spirit]

 |  Sep 02 2011, 9:00 PM

While some may accuse Porsche for having the most lazy designers who rather than invent something completely different, just softly modify their cars year after year, the same cannot be said of its e ngineers.

Its engineers are constantly trying to improve the cars dynamics, making it faster and handle better. Those in the market for the 911 GT3 R customer race car will see a host of new changes that will make it an even more competitive weekend racer.

First of all, the 2012 version benefits from more power. The 4.0-liter, flat-six will now produce 500-hp, that is 20-hp more than before. Customers now also get the steering-wheel mounted pedal-shifters for faster gear changes. This gearbox also features an automatic throttle blip for those perfect downshifts.

To help keep the car on the racing line, it also has traction control and racing spec ABS brakes. Softer anti-roll bars on the front axle help reduce understeer. This race car might just make you look like a better driver than you really are.

This new and improved race car will go on sale in November, 2011 with prices starting at $434,500. If you still plan on keeping your old 2010 or 2011 model GT3 R, no worries, for $61,500 you can buy an upgrade kit for your existing race car to turn it into the new racer.

Just remember, this latest upgrade is based on the outgoing 997 platform and not the new 991, so expect another new racing car from Porsche in about a years time.

Gallery: Porsche 911 GT3R

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 |  Aug 08 2011, 11:45 AM

The current Lotus Exige is on the way out. Production has stopped for the European spec model since last December, because its current 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine does not meet current emission standards. And here at home, Lotus just announced a Final Edition model to bring the car’s run to a close.

So what is Lotus to do with the Exige now? Simple answer, make a V6 version with the engine out of the Evora. But it is no easy swap. The Toyota-sourced V6 engine is bigger, so Lotus has been running a test mule with a wider track and a longer wheelbase.

Don’t think the next Exige will be some Frankensteinien-like disfigured monster either, cobbled together hastily. The new car will be mostly new and its styling will be quite different. Lotus design boss Donato Coco thinks their current line-up looks “too weak” and wants to inject more style in their future models.

So expect the new Exige to have the new family look as previewed by Lotus at various auto shows over the last year. Their first completely  new model will be the Esprit, which is due in 2013.

For the time-being, an updated Exige along with the current Evora should allow Lotus to bridge the gap between their current and their future cars.

[Source: Autocar]

 |  Aug 04 2011, 5:45 PM

Some believe that if you are a true petrol-head, you have to have owned an Alfa Romeo at least once in your life. Taking a look at their history, its easy to see why. This Italian brand has produced some of the most gorgeous automotive designs ever, like the Montreal, GTV6 coupe and the 8C Competizione.

Now Alfa fans will soon have another model to lust after, the 4C. Previewed at the Geneva Motor Show in concept form, now it seems that Alfa Romeo will be unveiling a near production model at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

To start us drooling, Alfa Romeo has released a teaser picture of the new 4c. The head-on shot reveals that it’ll look very much like the concept version, which is no bad thing.

Mechanically, it will use a 1.75-liter, turbo-charged, four-cylinder motor that is capable of producing 230-hp. Since the car is expected to weight just over 1,900 lbs., it should be a rapid car.

European sales for the 4C are expected to start next near, although US-sales will like commence in 2013, along with a full range of other Alfa Romeos. We cant wait.

GALLERY: Alfa Romeo 4C Concept

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Discuss this story at 4CForums.com

 |  Jul 20 2011, 12:32 PM

There used to be a time when China was an “export-only” nation. But with China all the rage, foreign companies are making their way into this burgeoning market, and Caterham Cars is the latest entrant.

Caterham Cars has just signed an exclusive deal with Courtenay Trading International (CTI) as its exclusive importer. CTI will appoint six dealers in China, in some of its key provinces, and hopes to sell between 30 and 50 cars in its first year.

All of the current line of Caterham Seven’s will be offered, including the rapid Superlight R300 and the CSR 175. Models like the SP/300 R might be introduced at a later date.

On this occasion, Caterham Cars’ International Business Manager, David Ridley, said: “We are engaged in one of the most exciting new chapters in the Caterham Cars story and our entry into the Chinese market is another tangible sign of how Caterham is striving to become a truly global brand.”

While Caterham has been present in the Far East, namely Japan for quite a long time, this is the first time customers in China will be able to park one on their driveway. The first Sevens are scheduled to arrive in China in January 2012.

 

 |  Jun 23 2011, 10:32 AM

German sportscar maker Porsche is celebrating quite a milestone this month, as it has now exceeded the 300,000 mark for the total production number of the Boxster and Cayman models. This special occasion comes exactly 15-years to the month after production started back in 1996.

The car carrying the exclusive 300,000 build number was a platinum silver Boxster Spyder model with a red leather interior. It is intended for a customer in Germany.

The Boxster started out as a concept car back in 1993 at the Detroit Auto Show, but thanks to its overwhelmingly positive reaction, Porsche decided to put the car into production. It spent the first decade as only a convertible model, but then in 2006 was joined by the Cayman coupe. Nowadays, both these models come with a variety of engine, gearbox and trim packages to appeal to different clients.

While 300,000 units is an impressive number, it is far from the being the most populous sportscar on the market. Mazda for instance has produced over 900,000 of their MX-5 models, while Chevrolet has produced just over 1.5-million Corvettes.

Click here to read AutoGuide’s Porsche Boxster Spyder Review

 |  May 24 2011, 11:21 AM

In the world of German sports cars, the Porsche 911 is king. Mercedes-Benz hopes to change that when they introduce their new sports car, rumored to be named the SLC.

The SLC, which will be placed below the SLS in their line-up, will be priced at the more humble versions of the 911 like the Carrera and Carrera S models, so expect a sub-$100,000 price tag for their new model. Insider’s say this model is scheduled for launch in 2014 as a coupe, with a roadster version due out by 2016.

To keep development costs down, this model will share mechanical and technological components with the next generation of the SL-class model, which is due out next year.

Between 1971 and 1981, Mercedes-Benz had a fixed roof version of the SL called the SLC. This new AMG developed version might share certain aspects with the new car, but will be a model all on its own.

Unlike the SLS, the SLC will be offered with a few engine options, just like Porsche does with the 911, so it can cater to a larger market segment. However, it will retain the front engine configuration rather than mid-engine as some previously suggested.

Expect to see this model in concept form within the year.

[Source: Autocar]

 |  May 09 2011, 11:46 AM

Last month, the private Formula 1 outfit Team Lotus acquired Caterham cars. Now comes news that Caterham will be looking to expand on their product portfolio, while keeping Colin Chapman’s vision of lightweight cars.

Caterham is best known for building and constantly improving on the old Lotus 7 design. The company earlier this year launched an all-new additional model called the SP300/R, which was the first new model launched by the company since their ill-received Caterham 21 went out of production.

New owner Tony Fernandes has plans for a new range of cars, with technology trickling down from their F1 division. Ansar Ali, the man responsible for running Caterham over the years, is still in charge of all operations and wants to see the principals of the company to stay upheld in the new products. He said; “We will be looking at expanding with Seven-esque cars. Anything we offer will be an affordable supercar with wide appeal that complements what we’ve already got.”

Team Lotus is still in court with Group Lotus over the legal use of the name, and a decision by F1 courts will be revealed in July. If Team Lotus is forced to give up the Lotus part of their name, they will likely rename themselves Team Caterham, which would bring global exposure to the British brand.

[Source: Autocar]

 |  Feb 23 2011, 11:28 AM

Ford is serious about the performance of the new Mustang Boss 302, and they want the new owners to be able to get the most out of their cars.

So much so that Ford is now offering a full track day experience to those who have bought the track ready Boss 302. Called the ‘Boss Immersion’ track experience, this program has been put together by Team Mustang and Ford Racing. The events will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

While you will need to cover your travel and hotel stay in Utah, Ford will pay for the track time and will even bring their own cars. The day before your track time, an evening reception will be held to get everyone acquainted with each other and learn more about the technical details of this normally-aspirated, 5.0-liter, V8 monster, which produces 440-hp.

Jamie Allison, the director of Ford Racing said, “There’s nothing like the experience of being behind the wheel of a high-performance car on a dedicated track. It’s the environment that breeds incredible machines like Mustang Boss, and for owners who want to experience all these cars are capable of, we can promise an unforgettable event.”

So if you weren’t decided about buying the new Mustang Boss 302, maybe this added track benefit will help make your decision a lot easier.

 |  Feb 14 2011, 4:16 PM

The original Lancia Stratos was a very successful rally car, but the car’s continued popularity undoubtedly stems from its stunning body and its Ferrari engine.

Fast forward nearly 40 years since the first Stratos was produced, and a new Stratos has come among us. This one too has a Ferrari engine and even the underpinnings of the Ferrari F430 as its basis.

While the original was designed by the design house of Bertone, the new Stratos is penned by Pininfarina.

Interestingly, the new Stratos has no direct Lancia link. The prototype was commissioned by Michael Stoschek, a German businessman who loved the Stratos and wanted a modern interpretation of it.

While the new Stratos was supposed to have been a one-off, it now seems  that 40 people have come forward who want one of their own. According to reports, this 540-hp supercar will cost around $545,000 (or just over $10,000 per horsepower). For that price, the donor F430 is included.

So if you’ve got the means and the desire to own a modern day Stratos, join the queue.

(Source: Carscoop)

 |  Feb 05 2011, 8:31 PM

British sportscar maker TVR has had a less than perfect life. Back in the 1970s the factory burned down, but thanks to a large order placed by its Canadian dealer, they had the money to start over again.

Then, after a very successful run in the 1990s, the company was sold in 2004 to Nikolay Smolensky, a young Russian businessman with no previous experience at running a car company. As many predicted, the company went under in 2006, and while many attempts have been made to revive TVR, it still has not emerged from the ashes.

During its life, TVR made many interesting cars and perhaps one of the best was the Tuscan model. Its curvaceous styling had even caught the eye of John Travolta, who used one of these (and Halle Berry) in the movie Swordfish.

Now, you can have one for yourself. A dealer in Tampa, FL. is advertising a 2005 Tuscan S for sale, with a 400-hp 4.0L and a 0-60-mph time of 3.6 seconds. This particular example has covered just over 4000-miles and can be yours for the low, low price of $159,000.

OK that price is pretty steep, especially when you consider that you can find similar models for sale in U.K. for less than $50,000.

But if you have to have one that has already gone through the hassle of importing and customs, then this might be the car for you. And since Ms. Berry is single again, you may catch her attention too.

[Source: duPont Registry]

 |  Sep 16 2009, 6:41 PM

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MINI confirmed it will produce the Coupé model unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show alongside the MINI Roadster.

Powered by the same John Cooper Works turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder as the current line of top-level MINIs, the Coupé makes 211hp and 192 ft-lbs of torque, with a bump to 206 ft-lbs possible thanks to an overboost function.

The unique roof, 2.36 inches lower than other MINI models, was designed to increase downforce, while create a functional amount of rear storage space. The new roof is also made of aluminum to help keep weight on the Coupé to a minimum. The windshield also slopes 16 degrees further than on previous MINI models.

As for the dimensions, the coupé measures 146.2-inches (3,714 millimeters) in length, 66.3-inches (1,683 millimeters) in width and 53.4-inches (1,356 millimeters) in height.

Both the MINI Coupé and the MINI Roadster will be built at the company’s Oxford facility.

Gallery: MINI Coupé

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Report: Lotus Exige Cup 260 Announced

New version of already impressive track car now weighs in at under 2,000 lbs

 |  Aug 27 2009, 11:34 AM

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As expected, Lotus has announced the release of a cup car version of the new 2010 Exige 260. Powered by the same 257-hp supercharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder as the street car, the race-ready Cup version weighs just 1,958 lbs, making for what will no-doubt be an outrageously good track machine. Lotus says the Exige Cup 260 can hit 60 mph in four seconds flat.

The standard Exige 260 model already weights 84 lbs less than last year’s model, and the Cup car version sheds an additional 26 lbs thanks to the use of plenty of light-weight material. Carbon fiber components include the roof, seats, dash-top, tailgate, center tunnel, front access panels, front splitter, side intake ducts and rear spoiler. Additional light weight components include a lighter motorsports battery, ultra-light wheels, a revised rear engine subframe, alloy u-bend pipes for the supercharger and a lightweight flywheel.

The new Lotus Sport forged wheels are the lightest original equipment wheels in the world, weighing just 5.65 kg (12 lbs) in the front and 7.75 kg (17.1 lbs) in the rear.

Additional improvements over the past cup car include a Ohlins two-way adjustable shocks and a chassis that is now 30 percent stiffer thanks to a new diffuser and structural “shear panel” that links the rear subframe to the main chassis. The rear spoiler also grows for improved downforce, measuring 181mm (7.1-inches) wider, 46mm (1.8-inches) higher and it sits 61mm (2.4-inches) further back.

Roger Becker, Director of Vehicle Engineering for Lotus said, “The Lotus Exige Cup 260 is the epitome of the Lotus brand philosophy of performance through lightweight. Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus, once said “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere” and the Exige Cup 260 totally proves this, being one of the most exhilarating, focused and pure sportscars on the road today.”

So far Lotus has only set European pricing, with the Exige Cup 260 priced at £45,000 in the U.K. We do expect it will make its way to North America, although PR boss Kevin Smith at Lotus Cars USA says there are no official plans yet. Still, we’re certain a few of the competitors in the Lotus Challenge Series would be eager to get their hands on this new model.

GALLERY: 2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 26 2009, 11:04 AM

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At long last, it’s here. Rumors of some sort of even-sportier MINI model have been bouncing around for years and finally, with the debut of the MINI Coupé Concept, there’s reason to believe MINI will actually take action and bring a sporty two-seater to market.

The debut comes exactly 50 years after Alec Issigonis showed the original MINI.

Powered by the same John Cooper Works turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder as the current line of top-level MINIs, the Coupe makes 211hp and 192 ft-lbs of torque, with a bump to 206 ft-lbs possible thanks to an overboost function.

The unique roof was designed to increase downforce, while create a functional amount of rear storage space. The new roof is also made of aluminum to help keep weight on the coupe to a minimum. MINI has yet to release all the details but does mention in its press release that “extreme lightweight technology makes this tw0-seater particularly agile and efficient.”

As for the dimensions, the Coupe measures 146.2-inches (3,714 millimeters) in length, 66.3-inches (1,683 millimeters) in width and 53.4-inches (1,356 millimeters) in height.

Inside the MINI Coupé Concept keeps much of the traditional MINI interior style. There are even two clocks inside, one for keeping time and one for keeping lap times!

MINI is expected to bring the Coupé Concept to market but it’s not likely until 2011 at the earliest.

GALLERY: MINI Coupé Concept

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Official release after the jump:

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2010 GT-R Faster (But Still not Fastest) at the Nürburgring

Revised sportscar runs 7:27.56 lap time

 |  Apr 16 2009, 3:44 PM

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Nissan bested its own Nürburgring record today with a 7:27.56 lap in the updated 2010 GT-R. The new time trumps the previous GT-R “personal best” of 7:29. It is, however, still short of the ZR1′s best time of 7:26.4 and the Dodge Viper ACR’s record of 7:22.1.

The new GT-R features 5 more horsepower than the previous model, as well as a revised transmission, new tires and a retuned suspension. Apparently those small modifications made a difference.

Nissan’s top test driver Toshio Suzuki piloted the new GT-R around the Ring and while the company is pleased with the result they aren’t finished yet. Citing less than ideal track conditions (including dust and sand on the track) the Nissan team will attempt a faster time tomorrow and search (somewhat fruitlessly we might add) to set a new overall Nürburgring record.

We’ll be sure to bring you an update tomorrow if there’s a better time.


 |  Apr 09 2009, 1:36 PM

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With a notable absence at many auto shows this year, Porsche did make it to New York and finally got around to giving the reworked GT3 a proper U.S. debut.

The engine’s new output is up 20hp for a total of 435hp, thanks to an increase in displacement from 3.6 to 3.8-liters. The engine also receives Porsche’s VarioCam variable valve technology on both the intake and exhaust side. Porsche hasn’t release torque numbers but it has said that mid-range torque is up.

The result of this power-boost is a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 194 mph!

The design of the new GT3 is also updated with a new aerodynamic kit that increases downforce on both the front and rear of the car to more than double that of the outgoing model. Aesthetic changes include bi-xenon headlights, LED rear lights and modified air intakes and outlets.

Porsche has tuned the suspension to be stiffer than the outgoing model with higher spring rates and more rigid anti-rollbars. The car is also more user-friendly as Porsche has decided to offer the GT3 with an optional height-adjustable suspension. A driver would be able to raise the height of his car by as much as 1.2-inches to enter or exit parking garages or when driving on rough roads.

As the GT3 is known for its trackability, Porsche has outfitted this new model that will make it even more appealing. For starters, it will be offered with a new version of PSM (Porsche Stability Management) that will allow a driver to turn of Stability Control and Traction Control in different steps. Other performance improvements include larger and lighter brake disks (and the option of a special PCCB ceramic disk set. For racing applications Porsche will even offer the GT3 with single lug center-locking wheels.

The 2010 GT3 will go on sale in North American this fall and will be priced at $112,000 ($138,000 CDN).

GALLERY: 2010 Porsche GT3

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More on the 2010 Porsche GT3 after the jump

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