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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 09 2009, 8:20 AM

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General Motors used the New York Auto Show to stage the official first showing of its GT1 line of special edition Corvettes. The car wasn’t competing for the spotlight, however, as GM generally ignored the car and instead decided to focus on its new SUVs – like the GMC Terrain and Yukon Denali Hybrid.

The GT1 edition corvettes are being built to celebrate the tremendous success Corvette has had in racing over the past decade. The GT1 Championship Edition Corvette comes with racing inspired graphics, including driver flags and the series championships. On display in New York was a black version, but the the car is alos available in Velocity Yellow. Unfortunately the car comes with so not-so-race-inspired chrome wheels.

Inside the interior is swathed in ebony leather with yellow stitching and features GT1 embroidery on the seats, instrument panel and center console armrest..

Under the hood, the engine cover has a special carbon look with yellow Corvette lettering.

The GT1 Championship Edition is offered as either a coupe, convertible or Z06 (as shown in New York), with just 100 of each model being made in each color for a total of 600 units.

All models receive a navigation system and both coupe and convertible will include the Z51 Performance Package and performance exhaust with an optional automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Pricing is listed as $65,310 for the coupe, $71,815 for the convertible and $86,385 for the Z06. The GT1 Championship Edition Corvette will go on sale in the Spring.

The GT1 Championship Edition Corvette was create in homage to the successes of the C6.R racing Corvettes which took the ALMS GT1 Manufacturers Championship for 8 years, claimed over 70 victories in the series and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 5 times.

2009 will make the last year for the C6.R in racing.

GALLERY: GT1 Championship Edition Corvette 

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More on the GT1 Championship Edition Corvette after the jump:

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 |  Apr 07 2009, 9:38 PM

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Ahead of the New York International Auto Show, Nissan dropped the cover (and the top) on the roadster version of its new 370Z. Normally convertible versions of coupes aren’t all the different from their hard-top cousins, and while that is mostly true here we have to hand it to Nissan on the design of the new model – especially after the 350Z Roadster was, from a design point of view, an automotive hack job.

The new 370Z Roadster looks purposefully designed and is as elegant as the Coupe is sporty. To achieve this, Nissan designers used a shorter windshield and a new deck, which, by the way, completely covers the convertible roof when in the down position. This “tonneau” cover also incorporates the two-seater design with sculpting behind each of the seats.

The top itself is a material unit (in keeping with Nissan’s commitment to reduce the weight of the new Z cars), which raises or lowers in roughly 20 seconds. The operation is completely automated and can be done by the flick of a switch on the center console or by a button located on the door.

The soft-top also features a larger rear window (over the 350Z Roadster) for improved visibility.

“As expected, the 370Z Roadster delivers an exhilarating connetion to the air, wind and environment on top of the new Z Coupe’s exceptinal levels of performance,” said Nissan North America general manager Al Castignetti. “But perhaps unexpected for a car this sporty is its greatly enhanced refinement and quality – as seen in features such as its one-touch auto-locking convertible top and beautifully crafted interior.”

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The interior comes standard with cloth seats, as well as the Nissan Intelligent Key with a push button ignition and power windows and locks, with Touring models getting power seats and “net” leather seating, with both heating and cooling functions. Touring models have three color choices for the leather seats: Gray, Black or Wine. Other Touring model features include HomeLink, Bluetooth compatability, an 8-speaker Bose audio system and aluminum pedals. 

The Z Roadster comes with 18-inch factory wheels with an option to upgrade to a Sport Package that includes light weight 19-inch RAYS wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A P245/40R19 front/P275/35R19 tires. This upgrade also includes the NISMO brakes with four-piston front calipers and 14-inch rotors and rear two-piston calipers with 13.8-inch rotors.

All models come with Nissan’s new 3.7-liter V6 engine with 332hp and 270 ft-lbs of torque, an increase of 26hp and 2 ft-lbs over the past Z Roadster. 

“The new 370Z Roadster lives in the same sweet spot of performance, style and value that the Z Coupe does,” said Castignetti. “Open air diriving just begs for open riads and the new 370Z Convertible is the perfect companion.

The 2010 370Z Roadster will be available late this summer in six colors (Solid Red, Magnetic Black, Brilliant Silver, Platinum Graphite, Pearl White, Monterey Blue), as well as a special Black Cherry.


GALLERY: Nissan 370Z Roadster

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GALLERY: 370Z Roadster additional photos

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More on the 370Z Roadster after the jump:

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 |  Apr 07 2009, 8:33 PM

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Nissan just couldn’t wait for the New York Auto Show doors to open to unveil its high-performance NISMO version of the 370Z, choosing to give select media a sneak peak the night before at a private event in the Big Apple.

Enthusiasts are sure to love the NISMO car as it’s more than just a few bolt-on aesthetic parts (even if it has those too). This NISMO edition takes the Z to an even higher level in every performance category.

For starters, the NISMO edition car comes with 350hp – an increase of 18 ponies over the stock Z. Torque is also up, but just slightly, to 276 ft-lbs – an increase of 6 ft-lbs. Part of the reason for the added power is a new H-pipe exhaust, which, Nissan tells us, also gives the car an excellent sound – but we’ll have to wait to drive it to find out.

Power is also achieved at a higher rpm with the 3.7-liter V6 strung-out to 7400 rpm to acheive maximum horsepower, as opposed to the stock cars, 7000 rpm max power level.

And possibly better than the added power (for those who really appreciate track days) is a standard limited slip differential.

To give the car even better track performance, Nissan stiffened up the chassis with special “body dampers” on the front frame rail and below the rear cargo area. And of course, the car comes with a NISMO springs and a big NISMO strut tower bars front and rear. The front springs are 15 percent stiffer and rear springs are 10 percent stiffer, with the new strut bars incresing stifness by 15 and 50 percent respectively. 

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As expected, the stock brakes were tossed in favor of a more serious setup with front 4-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors and rear two-piston calipers and 13.8-inch rotors. Those big brake sit inside a set of amazing looking 19-inch NISMO wheels. Manufactured by RAYS forged, the new wheels measure 19×9.5-inches up front and 19×10.5-inches in the rear witt front 245/40/19 tires and rear 285/35/19 tires. 

As mentioned earlier, the NISMO Z does get some styling additions, although they are more than just aesthetic. The new front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper and rear spoiler are all functional, reducing lift on the front axle and increasing downforce in the rear. 

“One look at the dramatic NISMO 370Z body and you know that this isn’t your everyday sports car,” said Nissan boss Al Castignetti. “The styling is highly emotional yet totally functional – expressing dynamic movement while enhancing airflow and downforce for enhanced aerodynamic performance.”

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Inside, the NISMO branding is obvious with the name stitched onto the special seats made of a grippy fabric. Also inside the cabin can be found plenty of red stitching and some nice NISMO gauges.

“The NISMO name is known throughout the world as the leading supplier of race-bred, factory-tuned, extreme performance Nissan parts, accessories and vehicles,” said Castignetti. “The new, second-generation NISMO Z proudly – and deservedly – wears the NISMO badge, carrying on the tradition of bringing racing-inspired performance and engineering to the street.”

The NISMO 370Z is available only with a 6-speed manual transmission in one of five colors:  Pearl White, Brilliant Silver, Magnetic Black, Solid Red and Platinum Graphite.

GALLERY: Nissan NISMO 370Z

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GALLERY: Nissan NISMO 370Z additional photos

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More on the NISMO Z after the jump:

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 |  Apr 01 2009, 1:17 PM

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German Audi tuner MTM is once again pumping out massive horsepower numbers from those Audi powerplants. The company’s latest project is a TT-S, modified to 380 horsepower.

The package includes a retuned ECU for more boost from the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, as well as the replacement of the factory turbocharger with a larger unit. Also included is a new air intake, exhaust manifold and complete exhaust system.

All 380hp come on strong at 6240 rpm, with torque reaching 364 ft-lbs at 4580 rpm - enough to not only significantly reduce the car’s 0-60 mph time but it also provides a higher top speed of 165 mph.

To produce that much power the boost has too be cranked all the way to 22.5 pounds.

MTM also offers a complete line of performance parts for the TT-S including a set of 20×9-inch “Bimoto” wheels, wrapped in 245/30/20 Michelin tires. And for inside those front wheels, MTM offers a massive Brembo brake upgrade with 15-inch rotors and 8-piston calipers.

Other items include a set of lowering springs as well as that significantly-sized rear spoiler.

For those without the need for quite so much speed MTM also offers a 330hp kit, which is much more affordable and doesn’t include swaping turbos.

GALLERY: MTM Audi TT-S

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For more information visit MTM’s website here:

www.mtm-online.de

Lotus Evora Chassis Wins Prestigious “Technical Achievement” Award

Dewar Trophy awarded for Lotus's Versatile Vehicle Architecture

 |  Apr 01 2009, 10:13 AM

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Those engineers over at Lotus have received a pat on the back by industry experts in the U.K., as the company was recently awarded the Dewar Trophy by the Royal Automobile Club.

The Dewar Trophy is handed out each year for a “outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive field.” Lotus received the award for developing its Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) chassis that underlies the upcoming Evora sportscar (pictured above).

What makes the VVA architecture so special isn’t just that it’s a light weight, but that is was created specifically to be used in different variants to be an equally capable and ideal platform for several different low to medium production number models (like the ones Lotus builds). Traditionally, a niche market vehicle requires an entirely new platform or the adaptation of an existing platform, two solutions that are either expensive or full of compromises. With the VVA chassis, Lotus has found a middle-road solution that will be the basis for the Evora as well as other future platforms.

“I would like to thank the Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee for the award, and all at Lotus are most honored to receive this accolade,” said Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc. “It is a fantastic achievement for Lotus to win such a prestigious and recognized award for our Versatile Vehicle Architecture technology which is used in our stunning new Lotus Evora sportscar. This award is for everyone at Lotus; those who created the VVA technology, those who delivered the Evora engineering program and those who are building our car. With incredible hard work and dedication at Lotus, using this technology our excellent staff have delivered the Lotus Evora in 27 months from a clean sheet to the first production car driving off the line, a great achievement.”

“The automotive industry is changing fast, and technology needs to be robust, faster to market and more cost and mass effective than ever before,” continues Kimberly, “and Lotus will be there at the forefront of this exciting period for the future of personal transport.”

Official release after the jump:

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 |  Mar 26 2009, 5:35 PM

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Ford is preparing to take on the front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap record with the all-new 2009 Focus RS. The current front wheel drive record is held by the Renault Megane R26R, which set a blistering 8 minute and 17 second run, eclipsing the previous 8:22 of the Chevy Cobalt SS.

U.K. publication AutoCar reports that the R32 was spotted last week running at the famous north loop, a move which sparked the rumors. Now a Ford rep is stoking the flames.

“It’s no secret that we will be looking to achieve a time at the ’Ring, but there’s no set schedule for it,” said the unnamed source in an interview with AutoCar. “We didn’t get any opportunities before Christmas because the car’s production set-up wasn’t confirmed and the weather was against us. But we can work on it now.”

An industry day will be help on March 31st and it is expected that would be the first possible opportunity for Ford to go for the record.

The 2009 Focus RS is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter Duratec five-cylinder engine with 295hp and 302 ft-lbs of torque. It also makes use of a Quaife limited slip differential and a unique-to-the-RS suspension setup.

GALLERY: Ford Focus RS

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[Source: AutoCar]

More on the Ford Focus RS after the jump:

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Porsche May Bring New Entry-Level Baby Boxster to Market

356 Speedster to be based on Volkswagen Blue Sport concept

 |  Mar 26 2009, 10:01 AM

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As automakers downsize their payrolls, many are also looking to downsize their auto offerings by producing smaller and more affordable vehicles. While we expect as much from the GMs and Toyotas of the world, luxury and sportscar makers are also hopping on the band wagon. We recently reported that Audi is now selling a less powerful version of the TT Roadster in the U.K., and latest reports suggest Porsche might be bringing a new entry-level vehicle to market to slot in under the Boxster.

The new model would be called the 356 Speedster and would be a two-seater, mid-engine, rear drive machine, based on the Volkswagen Blue Sport Concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

There is no word on a powerplant for the new model,  but there is speculation that Audi’s 2.0 TFSI engine could be used, with an output of just over 200hp and 200 ft-lbs of torque. This would seem appropriate were it not for the fact that we can’t really see Porsche using an Audi /VW powerplant for a sportscar. It also wouldn’t be very likely that a turbocharged model would be the standard engine, as Porsche typically reserves turbos for high-performance “Turbo” models.

From here the speculation continues to get even more ridiculous with German source autozietung stating that through the use of aluminum and magnesium the new model could weight as little as 1,675 lbs – that’s a good 300 lbs lighter than a Lotus Elise – which has all the comfort and convenience features of a gym locker (we still love them though).

The possibility of such a model actually making it to market is, however, quite good as Porsche is eager to expand its market share and essentially repeat what it did 10 years ago with the Boxster – a vehicle that has grown up in a decade to be a significantly faster and more expensive model. The 356 Speedster wouldn’t see production until 2013 with pricing expected right around the $40,000 mark (undercutting the $46,600 Boxster).

GALLERY: Volkswagen Blue Sport Concept

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[Source: autozietung via WorldCarFans]

Mazda Miata to Return to its Roots

Fourth generation sportscar to be lighter, with a soft top and use smaller forced-induction engines

 |  Mar 25 2009, 11:14 AM

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The fourth generation Mazda Miata, due out in 2012 is going to be more in line with the original Miata, with a smaller engine and lower curb weight. There is also a strong possibility that Mazda will bring back the soft-top (as well as offer a hard-top) – a move that would easily save a bundle of weight.

This most recent news come from Australian publication GoAuto, which cites an inside (but unnamed) source.

The article claims that the new model will not only get lighter thanks to a traditional soft top, but do to the use of electric power steering (over hydraulic) and by using a new lighter suspension. Apparently the adapted RX-8 suspension parts used in the current Miata were forced upon Mazda engineers by the accountants at Ford (Mazda’s parent company) who wanted to keep costs down.

The target curb weight of the fourth-gen model is set at less than 2,200 lbs – significantly lower than the current 2,485 to 2,595 curb weight of the third-generation model.

The report also states that the Miata will be powered by a smaller and more efficient engine; possibly a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter engine with forced induction. A dual-clutch transmission is, however, unlikely.

[Source: GoAuto]

 |  Mar 24 2009, 1:41 PM

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With the economy in its current state, many people can’t (or aren’t prepared to) shell out big bucks for a sportscar. Audi understands this and so it is offering its U.K. customers a new version of its TT Roadster – with a smaller engine.

The new TT Roadster 1.8 comes with Audi’s turbocharged 1.8-liter powerplant – similar to the engine in the original TT. Power is rates at 158hp from 4500 to 6200 rpm and 184 ft-lbs of torque are handy from 1500 to 4500 rpm. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, this is good for a 0-62 mph run of 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 139 mph.

It’s also good on fuel with an average fuel-economy rating of 40.9 mpg.

Other specifics for the new model include 17-inch wheels, electronic climate control, power windows and cloth seats.

This new 1.8-liter model also comes in a front wheel drive setup, which is significantly less expensive than the quattro models. The asking price is set at £23,910 (which comes out to $34,717), a significant difference from the £27,355 (or $39,748) cost for a 2.0 TFSI model.

More on the 1.8 TFSI TT Roadster after the jump:

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 |  Mar 24 2009, 12:30 PM

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The Camaro Convertible is back on track say the latest industry reports. While several media outlets (including Motor Trend) recently reported the indefinite future of the drop-top muscle car, MotorTrend is now reporting an about-face by General Motors.

The apparent reason for putting the model on hold was that the German supplier of the convertible top had gone bankrupt. Presumably GM needed to take some time to find a new parts supplier – something which could have eventually lead to the cancelation of the model.

The latest report, however, is that the supplier is still in business (maybe GM is paying them up front for the parts?) and that the Camaro Convertible will go into production. As a result of these shenanigans, the Camaro Convertible will see a production delay with the wind-in-your-hair sportscar going on sale in 2011 as a 2012 model.

Unfortunately this little incident is the extend of the good news, with plans for the Z28 (a high performance model using the supercharger 6.2-liter V8 found in the Cadillac CTS-V and Corvette ZR1) still slated for the recycle box.

GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Concept

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[Source: MotorTrend]

 |  Mar 23 2009, 2:23 PM

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Generally speaking, car manufacturers hold press launches of new vehicles for the press, but not this time. As Hyundai continues to reinvent itself as a company, it is also reinventing how the whole system works and so they’ve invited, well, everyone, to come along - virtually anyway (those without WiFi, an ethernet cable or anything remotely resembling a 56k modem need not apply).

What Hyundai is doing is planning a live webcast of it the press launch of its new Genesis Coupe. Those interested can drop by http://genesispresspass.com/live/ at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 25th (this Wednesday) and participate. That’s right, not only will the unwashed masses get to share this glorious moment with the unwashed press, they’ll be able to take part by submitting questions that may (or may not) be answered by Hyundai executives, through a question and answer session.

The webcast will also include a briefing on Hyundai and the new Genesis Coupe with highlights on all the technical details – basically all the boring stuff before they strap the journalists in and let them bang gears on a race track.

http://genesispresspass.com/live/