Great. Another SUV. Just what the world needs. Acutally, it’s what the world wants, says Audi worldwide product planning manager Frank Herrman, here in dusty, smoggy Beijing for the global reveal of the all-new Q5 soft-roader. “Consumers still want SUVs,” he says. “The segment is growing very fast, and all over the world. We think it’s the segment that has the biggest potential growth.” That’s quite something coming from a company that;has a range of cool, nice to drive wagons that are doing great business in Europe. But Herrmann insists the SUV is still the auto industry’s hot ticket, despite the growing concerns over global warming and tough new fuel consumption standards that are just around the corner. Why? He says customers like the high seating position, the all-wheel-drive capability, and the multifunctional seating and load package. Uh, yeah. But can’t you get most of that in a tall-ish wagon? With better gas mileage? … [Read more...] about Another SUV: Just what the world needs
The world needs
Economical? Schmeconomical! The folks at GeigerCars are building vehicles like it’s 2002 again. The company’s latest, a supercharged H3 Alpha (its title translates to “The Alpha Animal”), combines all the modern social automotive irresponsibility possible atopfour wheels. The H3 Alpha’s stock 5.3-liter V-8 receives a breathing upgrade — a supercharger for the inhale and a sports exhaust for the exhale — and now returns 423 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque (an impressive improvement on the stock V-8’s 300 hp and 320 lb-ft). As a result, the company claims acceleration from zero to 62 mph should take seven seconds. To slow the rolling mass, StopTech 380 mm discs and six-piston calipers are employed up front. Further pushing the boundaries of impracticalness (not to mention taste), the Hummer also receives lowering springs, carbon fiber interior trim, and new wheels. Those wheels are Borbet BSU-alloys, sized 10×22 and shod with 305/40R22 … [Read more...] about What the World Needs Now? Geiger’s Supercharged, 423-Horsepower Hummer H3
Germany’s Endora seems to think so. Endora has just released details of their newest project. Endora calls the C6 Corvette based SC-1 “A classic sports car design with modern technology.” Upon first glance “1980s futuristic Vette” comes to mind. Of course Endora’s press release views it slightly different: “the SC-1 picks up the looks and values of contemporary American and European sports cars once built in the ‘60s and early ‘70s and skillfully reinterprets it into the presence.” We’re sure something is lost in translation. Endora describes the SC-1’s body to look like the futuristic concept cars of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s without being too retro. The SC-1uses modern HID headlights and LED fog lights. The body line starts at a point in the center of the front bumper and flows along the top of the front fenders and kicks up around the rear quarter panel — almost reminiscent of the … [Read more...] about Does the World Need a German Retro-Futuristic Vette?
Five years ago, Mercedes was about to order the shut-down of its Smart micro-car unit. The little two-seater had been in production since 1998, but it kept hemorrhaging money. Yet quite apart from the costs of a shut-down — both in worker, dealer and customer compensation, and in corporate pride — there was another factor in Smart’s favor. Senior management, all the way up to Dieter Zetsche, believed that this tiny urban car was an idea whose time would come. It just needed a partner to help finance the development of the next-generation car, and to get some scale economies. “If we got no partner, it’s likely there would have been no new Smart,” Zetsche told Motor Trend last month. Fortunately, Daimler had begun to talk to the Renault-Nissan alliance, and in 2010 announced cooperation on a number of projects, including a city van, a small four-cylinder engine, and a car that would replace both the Smart and Renault’s smallest. Today, Smart CEO … [Read more...] about Smart CEO Annette Winkler: The World Needs This Car
Of course not, but this is apparently what we’re going to get from the new Ferrari Enzo – which may or may not be called the F70 – when it screams on to our streets sometime before the end of this year. This frankly mental power output is Ferrari’s direct response to the potential pace of the Porsche 918, according to Maranello’s CEO Amedeo Felisa. Which is a bit odd considering he told us at Autocar not 18 months ago that, “Top speed is not important to us anymore. It doesn’t mean anything, we will leave that to other people from now on." So what’s happened in the interim, you wonder? Has Ferrari’s position as maker of the world’s fastest, most desirable cars been undermined so badly that it feels it has to make a statement such as this? Ferrari’s ultimate road car will, we’re told, be powered by a modified version of the new 7.3-litre V12 that’s due to appear in the successor to the 599. Except in this case … [Read more...] about Does the world really need a 920bhp Ferrari?
The past two weeks have been pretty interesting. First, I spent a few hours at Aston Martin’s Gaydon HQ with Aston’s design chief, Marek Reichman. I should admit that I know Reichman from way back in the late 1980s, because we did our first Industrial Design degree together. Having had a good look at the new Lagonda ‘super-saloon’ I had to ask question about the Lagonda SUV concept shown five years ago. Will the company would pursue an SUV after the launch of the new limited-edition Lagonda ‘super-saloon’, but Reichman would only hint that any decision is some way off. “I won’t say definitely yes and I won’t say definitely no,” he said. “But will Ferrari build an SUV? Probably not,” said Reichman. Which might be the best steer yet that Aston is cooling on the idea of launching into what will be a crowded market for ‘ultra-luxury’ SUVs. A few days after meeting Reichman, I found myself with Rolls … [Read more...] about Does the world need another super-luxury SUV?
"Google it,” recommended a feature on the website PistonHeads, referring to the Scenicruiser GX-2 coach. So I did. And, gosh, what a thing the Scenicruiser is: a vast, splitlevel cross-state American coach, built for cruising through vaster, big-screen US scenery, in a time when roads still wove through, rather than around, towns like Radiator Springs. What a way to travel. It reminded me of an Oldsmobile Eighty-eight I saw on the M6 the other week, dominating the lane in which it sat, with O L D S M O B I L E written large across the rear because, well, with that amount of metallic real estate on offer, why wouldn’t you use it? They’re both evocative designs, partly because they’re both bigger than they strictly needed to be, but more so because outwardly they’re so extravagant; the Scenicruiser with its shining, ribbed aluminium sides, and roof part-raised like a 40ft Land Rover Discovery; the Oldsmobile with its flares, italicised fonts and chrome … [Read more...] about Why the world needs more optimistic retro cars
We’ve been quite vocal in our opinion of “Car of the Year” awards such as those sold handed out every year by Motor Trend. Even worse are those awards bestowed by non-automotive rags where a COTY announcement ranks right up there with their pronouncements of the years trendiest sunglasses or the best place for killer mojitos. Yet, for whatever reason, Esquire has decided the world needs yet another of these useless (to everyone but their advertising department) awards.At least “the magazine for men” is up front about their selection criteria and admits “picking a car of the year is not a scientific business.” They have their “own set of priorities.” They explain a Car of the Year “should be able to stir the ol’ loins . . . it should also be attainable for most men . . . be sharp enough to impress a date and restrained enough to park next to your boss . . . [be] thrilling but not profligate, handsome but not faddish . . . … [Read more...] about Just What the World Needs—Another COTY Award
The ad says that cotton is “the fabric of our lives.” It wasn’t the fabric of my youth, I can tell you that. There were the blue school uniforms, seemingly forged in a single piece from iron-strong polyester, hot in the summer and abrasive in the winter. There were suits and ties in rough wool to wear during the weekends, sweaters in soft Lacoste velour and miserable Brooks cable knit, and the instantly dirty, plasticized leather of the Nike “Burt Bruin” shoes on my feet. And, of course, there was M-B Tex, eternal and unchanging, perennially youthful even as the car surrounding it disintegrated into flakes of chromed rust.You have to understand this: there was only really one acceptable Mercedes-Benz to own, and that was the W123-chassis 240D. The S-Class was for bounders, social climbers, and the irresponsible. I can still remember gagging with personal agitation as my father refused to even test-drive a W126 560SEL. “Not the message I’d want … [Read more...] about What The World Needs Now… Is A Wallet Made From Real MB-Tex… And GTO Trunk Fabric…
TTAC Commentator MWebbRambler writes:Sajeev,Your recent Piston Slap on HID lights reminded me of a problem I had with replacing tail lights on my wife’s 2009 Traverse. One of the OEM bulbs burned out, so I decided to replace both brake/tail lights with LEDs.The LED lights worked great and were brighter than the OEM bulbs, but there was just one problem–the turn signals would blink rapidly, just like they did with the burned out bulb. After I went back and RTFM I learned the rapid blinking or “hyper-flashing” occurs when a bulb is burned out OR the system is drawing little to no current. Since the LEDs use a lot less power, the system thinks the bulb is burned out.A quick check online indicates my only option for the Traverse is to install a load resistor kit, which requires splicing the wires and adding a load resistor to each bulb. The process looks easy enough, but seeing how you are a lighting aficionado and a wizard when it comes to all things … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Traversing the World of LED Retrofit Bulbs!