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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.
 |  Mar 07 2012, 1:39 PM

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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ flagship model, the Phantom has been around since 2003, which in car years is almost an eternity.

Although Rolls is a company that prefers steady, progressive improvements rather than flash in the plan redesigns or updates (it just wouldn’t be proper you know), Goodwood has decided that the imposing Phantom could receive a few enhancements for its second decade on the market.

As a result, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, an updated Phantom Series II made its world premiere. Changes included a revised front end with new front bumpers and full LED headlamp assemblies, plus the adoption of a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and revised rear differential, said to improve fuel economy on the monster 6.75-liter V12 by around 10 percent.

Inside, a new, larger 8.8-inch touch screen is incorporated in the center stack, while an updated navigation system and improved multi-media controller, deliver better usability for the car’s info/entertainment  and ventilation systems. In addition, front, overhead and rear view cameras provide better peripheral visibility when maneuvering this magnificent beast of a car; just as well for the thought of scratching or scraping one of these things is enough to make you cringe.

GALLERY: 2013 Rolls-Royce Phanton Series II

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 |  Mar 07 2012, 6:35 AM

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Alongside the scene stealing F12 Berlinetta, Ferrari also chose the Geneva Motor Show as the venue for the unveiling of its updated front mid-engined California, which is lighter, more powerful and faster than its predecessor.

Still powered by a 4.3-liter V8, tuning tricks and a less restrictive exhaust boost power by an extra 30 ponies, from 460 to a total of 490 horses. Torque stands at a meaty 372 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to shaving some 66 lbs of mass, due to a revised lightweight alloy chassis, performance is improved, with a projected 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 3.8 seconds.

Although the idea of tracking a convertible may seem a bit odd to some, Ferrari has added a “Handling Speciale” option to the new California, which adds stiffer springs and faster reacting magneto rheological shock absorbers, thanks to a specially calibrated ECU that tailors damping to match the individual driver and road conditions. Quicker ratio steering is also part of the package and combined with the car’s F1-Trac traction control system, will help result in a highly capable corner carver, topless coachwork or not.

At present, Ferrari has only confirmed European sales, though given the appeal of a car like this and the name, US availability seems a given, though exactly when that will happen is still to be determined.

As one expects of such a machine, a variety of options, including paint colors, upholstery patterns and even two-toning are available to help make your California stand apart from the  herd.

GALLERY: Ferrari California Handling Speciale

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GALLERY: Ferrari California Handling Speciale

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 |  Nov 17 2011, 2:50 PM
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We’ve been hearing a lot about Lincoln lately. Ford Motor Company has been pouring lots of money and effort in an attempt to revitalize the storied brand. 7 new or significantly updated models are coming in the next three years and in terms of design, Lincoln is on its way to becoming a full independent operation; a new design center is currently under construction in Dearborn and a dedicated team, headed by Max Wolff, has been assembled, whose task it is to live, breathe, eat and sleep Lincoln.
Now while the fruit of such labors is still a ways off, Lincoln has given us a taste of what’s to come with the updated 2013 MKS sedan, which was officially unveiled at the 2011 LA Auto Show on November 17. On the outside, the car has been given a facelift. You might not be able to tell at a glance, but Lincoln says all sheetmetal forward of the A-pillar is new, lending an appearance that is lower and wider than the 2012 model. The “waterfall” grille effect has been de-emphasized, though the resulting effect is perhaps a tad more elegant than before.
At the rear, the car has also been given a new set of tailights and a redesigned trunk lid and fasica (luggage access is also improved). Inside, the MKS features Bridge of Weir leather seating and a redesigned instrument panel and center stack that “flows” into the rest of the cabin, a design cue we’re told can expected to be found in future Lincoln models. The somewhat controversial MyLincoln Touch system has been updated, the objective being simpler and more intuitive to operate than before, while SYNC gains a live operator assist feature to help users get more out of the voice command system.
Yet the biggest improvements lie underneath the skin; namely vehicle dynamics. For 2013, Lincoln has added Continuously Controlled Damping as standard equipment. This real time system, via multiple sensors, allows suspension settings to be adjusted by up to 500 times per second, designed to provide both optimal ride quality and handling control.
In addition, there’s Lincoln Driver Control which allows the pilot of the 2013 MKS to effectively “alter” the car’s driving characteristics by moving the shifter from “Drive” to “Sport Mode.” This results in improved throttle response, more aggressive shifting, better steering response, as well as adjusting stability and traction control to deliver a more “enhanced driving experience.”
Besides standard and Sport damping settings the CCD system can also be adjusted to a “comfort” setting, should you feel the need to hark back to Lincoln ride quality of yore. Another interesting feature are Lane Keeping Alert and Aid technologies which are designed to provide the driver with a gentle nudge, should the vehicle cross lanes. Think of it as a bit like the vibration you get  from your XBox 360 controller when your car goes off road while playing Forza Motorsport. 4. A quaint little coffee icon also displays on the dash signaling that it’s probably time for you to pull over and nap or get a fresh cup of Joe.
Larger brakes and a more powerful 3.7-liter V6 (now with an expected 300 hp instead of 274) plus aerodynamic tweaks designed to reduce wind noise essentially round out the changes. The 2013 Lincoln MKS is expected to arrive in dealer showrooms sometime early next year, though by then we should also have a better idea of the brand’s new direction. Here in LA were told to expect something significant at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in January, 2012.

Gallery: 2013 Lincoln MKS

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