Archive for April, 2007|Monthly archive page

Über-CLS may be next from Maybach

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Any way you look at it, Maybach has not been the success DaimlerChrysler had hoped for when it revived the old super-luxury badge a few years back. Industry sources – and by industry sources, we mean our magic 8-ball and cabinet of stuffed-animal advisors – all seem to agree that the uber-Mercedes brand is going to need some new models to supplement the 57 and 62 limousines if Maybach is going to live to see another sunrise. The question remains, however, what those new models might constitute.

Earlier reports suggested the possible addition of convertible versions of both Maybach sedans, drawing on the concept previewed by the Mercedes Ocean Drive to revive the “parade car” segment. Another suggestion was the production of a Maybach sport-ute, based on the full-size Mercedes-Benz GL-Class SUV, but luxed-up and blinged out to the max to make for a super-premium truck destined for the Aspen slopes, Arabian dunes and Hollywood hills.

Newer reports suggest that the next Maybach model could take the form of an ultra-premium four-door coupe to take after its corporate cousin the Mercedes CLS, only positioned significantly higher in anticipation of the arrival of the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera. This uber-CLS would slot in the range below the current Maybach 57, but above the Mercedes CLS and S-Class.

(More after the jump…)

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Fuel of the future: Hydrogen at the corner gas mart

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From an emissions standpoint, hydrogen is one of the cleanest fuels available. Unfortunately, our most abundant source is water, and with current technology, breaking those two H atoms away from that one O atom (electrolysis) uses more energy that it creates.

But water isn’t the only hydrogen source. A Virginia company, H2Gen, makes a hydrogen-extraction device that basically (very basically) sucks the hydrogen right out of nature (see the graph for a somewhat more detailed explanation). An Orlando Chevron station has acquired one of their units and is currently testing the viability of using it for producing hydrogen right at the point of purchase. If the test works out, one more stumbling block, transportation of hydrogen, would be removed.

H2Gen claims the process is as much as six times more efficient than conventional electrolysis.

Now let’s hope automakers’ hydrogen programs, like BMW’s test of its Hydrogen 7, work out. Then stand back and watch gasoline-powered cars go the way of the dinosaurs.

More details can be found in the press release after the jump.

[Source: H2Daily via EvWorld]

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Lotus Elise confused for bass boat in horrible painting accident

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Surfing around these great interwebs, we’ve learned far too many times that there is no accounting for taste. Case in point: someone with 50 large to spend on the most pure form of driving bliss – the Lotus Elise – decided the car’s factory paint scheme wasn’t eye-catching enough. The result? The abomination you see above.

Not only did the owner decide to go for the Hot Import Nights-approved color shifting hue, he or she decided that 12 different light-dependent colors wasn’t enough, hence the liberal application of glitter to make this Elise an eyesore from the Liberace House of Crap.

We’re disgusted and disturbed by such a careless disregard for something as perfect as the Elise, so much so that we’re considering the establishment of a Hague-like tribunal to prosecute such offenses.

[Source: DieselStation]


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VIDEO: What does Evil look like at Speed? The Maybach Exelero

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“The Exelero show car did more for us than all the tweaks to the 57/62 series combined.” That’s what a source inside Maybach had to say about the gargantuan showcar when speaking of future Maybach models. The Exelero, more than any other, looked like it was built to transport Darth Vader. But it wasn’t. Nor was it built just to garner attention, although that factored big in the formula, as well. The purpose of the Exelero was to serve as a high-speed – and high-profile – test vehicle for German tire manufacturer Fulda, who decades prior had embarked on a similar venture with the original Maybach. In short, the Exelero has the go to back up all that show.

In the video after the jump, witness the time-warping power and speed of the two-door performance coupe built on the platform of the Maybach 57, which itself is second only to its big-brother 62 in the rankings of the largest and most obscenely powerful cars on the market.

In so many ways, and in so many words, this is huge.

Related posts:

[Source: Automobiles Deluxe via Motor Authority]

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Rinspeed releases 997 Turbo-based Le Mans 600

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click above image for more pics of the Rinspeed Le Mans 600

As the gap between rich and poor becomes more pronounced, so does the gulf between the fastest and not-so-fastest cars. The latest entrant in the go faster stakes is Rinspeed, which has done a number on the 997 Turbo. Called the LeMans 600, the car bundles 600 hp and 590 lb-ft into the already fast-as-blue-blazes Porsche.

Two VTG turbos combine with a ram-air intake system, new intercoolers, and a high performance exhaust to provide the added grunt. With the power of the earth’s core behind its rear wheels, the car gets to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds, and goes 213 mph. Cosmetically, the restyling is purposeful but subtle. The front gets a new skirt with carbon splitters, new daytime driving lights, and reshaped air intakes for the brakes. Speaking of brakes, you get 8-pot calipers — count ’em, 8 — to bring all of that Rinspeediness to a halt. Behind, the mirrors get a dash of carbon, and new side skirts lead to a reshaped rear valance with a high-performance exhaust system. Also in the rear, hovering over the sound and the fury, is a whopping great tail.

Keeping all that hurdy-gurdy on level is an adjustable suspension, and 20-inch aluminum Rinspeed wheels that are 12 inches wide in the rear. Rinspeed’s press release is after the jump if you prefer and the gallery below.

Gallery: Rinspeed LeMans 600

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Follow Up: More on the 2008 Chevy Corvette LS3

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click above image to view our entire high-res gallery of the 2008 Corvette

During this weekend?s C5/C6 bash, GM introduced the “mid-cycle refreshment” for the 2008 Corvette. While the exterior remains unchanged, there have been a host of changes to the interior and engine that you’ve already read about (no changes were made to the Z06). More pics have been added to the gallery and more details on the car — including everything we could get them to tell us about the so-called Blue Devil — are after the jump.

Gallery: 2008 Chevrolet Corvette

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Chrysler Aspen And Dodge Durango SUVs Offer HEMI…AND Hybrid

Auburn Hills, Mich., Apr 30, 2007 – That new Chrysler Aspen Hybrid gotta HEMI®?

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You ready for a V8-powered, RWD coupe from Hyundai?

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While we were digitally thumbing through the latest virtual issue of Winding Road (subscribe here for free if you haven’t already), we were struck by a particularly well done article on the forthcoming Genesis sedan from Hyundai. The WR folk dug deep and unearthed a lot of info about the sedan, and what its new BH platform means for the Korean automaker. For one, the BH platform will spawn four vehicles in total: the Gensis, a long-wheelbase Genesis Plus, a Genesis-esque Kia model, and (drum roll, please) a sporty rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered coupe that may look like the rendering above. Now, no one knows what this coupe will look like or even how far along in development it is, but kudos go to the WR-commissioned artist who created this image, because it looks great.

Assuming a heavy dose of parts sharing will go on between the BH platform mates, we should expect this RWD coupe to be offered with either a V6 or the new “Tau” V8 that will power the Genesis. The “Tau” is said to be capable of “well over” 300 horsepower and we already know the company’s 3.8L V6 is a gem, so Hyundai’s forthcoming coupe has plenty of powerplant potential. Reportedly, however, none of the BH cars will be offered with a true manual transmission. Instead, we should expect some sort of manually controlled automatics.

Considering that a Genesis equipped with a V6 is rumored to carry a price tag below $30,000, we’re curious to know which other RWD coupes you think will be the biggest competition for this car. Would its combination of a low price tag and powerful engine make it attractive to the Mustang crowd, or is Hyundai staring down the grille of Infiniti’s new G37? Time will tell, and we can’t wait.

[Source: Winding Road – illustration used with permission]


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Dilbert does the auto industry

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We’ve been covering the auto industry for so long that we hardly bat an eyelash when an automaker does something that, to the rest of the educated world, appears insane. That’s just the auto industry, we say, when trying to explain why well-received concepts aren’t put into production, or why the best bits of vaporware never seem to materialize. But hey, people tell us we’re the press and we’ll report on every concept and press release that gets put into circulation because, frankly, we have nothing better to do. Scott Adams, the cartoonist who creates Dilbert, thinks this little game we play with the automakers will induce a grin from his audience. We’ll let you be the judge – click the Read link to view Dilbert’s latest Sunday strip.

Thanks for the tip, amp!



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Chrysler announces Aspen Two-Mode hybrid

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Considering that the Aspen is nothing more than a rebadged and gussied up Dodge Durango, it should come as no surprise that today Chrysler has announced a hybrid version of its ute to accompany the Dodge Durango Hybrid on the market in 2008. Both the Durango and the Aspen will feature a Two-Mode hybrid system – the one developed jointly with General Motors and BMW – paired with a 5.7L V8 HEMI engine featuring cylinder deactivation. Overall fuel economy should increase by 25%, while Chrysler predicts each utility vehicle will see their fuel economy in the city rise by some 40%. Each SUV will be wearing the above badge to indicate their greenness.
We’re eager to see this Two-Mode hybrid system in action, and expect the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid to be the first on the market. AutoblogGreen has got some seat time scheduled with one in the near future and will report back with a full evaluation of how this technology works hauling around these behemoths.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]


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