OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: BMW X6 to debut at Detroit

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click above image to see high-res gallery of the BMW X6

BMW’s big Detroit debut will be the production X6 Sports Activity Coupe (unsurprisingly, BMW avoids the somewhat unbecoming “SAC” acronym), which will be arriving in US showrooms sometime during the second quarter of 2008. When it does, buyers get two flavors to choose from. The xDrive50i is powered by a new twin-turbo, direct-injected 4.4L V8 pumping out 400-horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The xDrive35i, meanwhile, gets the automaker’s acclaimed 300-hp TT inline six-cylinder. Dynamic Performance Control is a standard feature that can direct torque to either rear wheel, further aiding steering in both dry weather and sloppier conditions. Design-wise, the production X6 looks pretty much just like the hybrid-equipped concept version we saw earlier this year. Basically, it’s a larger “X” model with a coupe roofline. Not bad, as SUVs go, but the sloping roof obviously forces owners to compromise some space in the name of style. Still, the driver and three friends can stow their golf clubs in back while riding in comfort. Interior appointments are typical BMW fare, meaning they’re quite nice. If you’ve been in a modern Bimmer, you know precisely what to expect. The X6 is no slug, either, with a manufacturer-claimed 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds for the turbo V8 model. We’ll have plenty more to say after we check it out firsthand in a few weeks.

[Source: BMW]

Gallery: BMW X6

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Maserati GranTurismo has some baggage

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Click photo for gallery

Fret not. The new Maserati doesn’t have issues and isn’t in need of therapy or anything. The baggage we’re talking about is the kind you pack your clothes and shaving kit in. The slinky new coupe is actually the beneficiary of a little tie-in with Salvatore Ferragamo, which has produced a new five-piece set of fitted luggage inspired by the GranTurismo. To celebrate the car’s UK arrival, the set is being displayed in the window of the Salvatore Ferragamo store on London’s Bond Street through Christmas Eve. It’s the perfect gift for that special someone who pretty much has everything else there is to have already. You can see it in the gallery below, which also contains four nice new hi-res shots of the car. We know that’s what you really want to look at anyway.

[Source: Maserati]

Gallery: Salvatore Ferragamo luggage for Maserati GranTurismo

Gallery: 2007 Maserati GranTurismo

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REMINDER: Enter to win a DashDAQ Series II

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If you haven’t already entered to win the Grand Prize of our 2007 Holiday Sweepstakes, click here to do it now. The prize of a DashDAQ Series II is worth $695, and it’s more than just a computer for your car. Read more about it on the DashDAQ website, click here to enter, and read the official rules. We’ll be randomly selecting a commenter as the winner at 12:00PM EST, Monday 12/17/07. Good luck!

 

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Spy Shots: 2009/10 Ford Fiesta

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click above image for more spy shots

Brenda Priddy & Co. caught a Euro Fiesta mule filling up its gas tank in North Sweden, and the car can already be seen wearing a few cues inspired by the Verve Concept that debuted in Frankfurt. First and foremost is the large front grille that punctuates the cladding this mule is wearing. This car’s beltline also sweeps up dramatically from front to back, and the rear taillights are mounted on the C/D-pillar just like the Verve’s. Of course, we’re interested in the European Fiesta because after it debuts over there next summer as a 2009 model, it will arrive in the U.S. virtually unchanged the following year as a 2010 model. Expect both three- and five-door hatchback models to be offered, which makes the loss of those model types in the larger Focus lineup a bit easier for us to swallow.

[Photos: Brenda Priddy & Co.]

Gallery: 2009/10 Ford Fiesta – spy shots

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Performance-based pay raises coming back to Ford

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Cost-of-living pay increases are nice and all, but after you’ve invested your heart and soul in a job well done and have performance metrics to prove it, a merit increase should be expected, as well. Salaried employees for Ford haven’t seen a merit-based increase in pay since last year. Regardless of how well they performed their jobs, the Blue Oval just didn’t have enough money to invest back into its workforce. While Ford claims it’s hasn’t “completely turned the corner”, it’s doing well enough that merit-based pay increases are being reinstated this April.

According to The Detroit News, Ford is setting aside 2.7% of its total U.S. payroll for salaried workers so that it can dish out raises based on how well each employee has performed. Managers will get an automatic half percent pay increase, and bonuses will also be doled out. There’s a catch, though. Salaried employees will also be asked to be pay 24% more for their health insurance next year, an amount that breaks down to be between $20 and $25 per month, which TDN reports is more than the merit increase for most workers will cover. For their sake, hopefully Ford will turn the corner soon so these people can get paid.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 

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2007 SSC Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo for sale

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Getting tired of the staid supercars sitting in your garage? Now is your chance to own the Guinness-verified world’s fastest car, the SSC Ultimate Aero which was clocked at an average two-way speed of 255.83 mph – besting both the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX. Motorcars of Las Vegas, the sole distributor of the Ultimate Aero, has chassis #SSC-07-004 on its showroom floor ready for its first owner. This is the first one they have had for immediate delivery, and there are only 15 miles on the odometer. The twin-turbo V8 mounted amidships puts out 1183 horsepower and 1094 lb-ft torque. Other features include a full carbon fiber body, navigation system, back-up camera, and a front lift system to clear speed bumps. If this particular one doesn’t suit your taste, you can also commission one to your own specifications.

[Source: Motorcars of Las Vegas]

Gallery: 2007 SSC Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo

 

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First nighttime F1 race gears up

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On September 28, 2008 at 8 pm, the first Formula 1 race ever held at night will begin in Singapore. Sixty-eight miles of power cable will provide juice to 1,500 light projectors mounted on 240 pylons around the track. What does that mean? It means three billion watts of power — about four times brighter than a sports stadium. And that might make it the only night time race that requires sunglasses.

Recent developments in Melbourne, Australia, however, mean that Singapore might not be so special for long. Hella has created a special night lighting system for the Australian Grand Prix, and is waiting on a response from the FIA to move forward with it.

 

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Chevy Silverado commercial spoils CBS show for fans

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Earlier this year, the CBS show Cane was the seventh most searched new fall show. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about it, neither good or bad. That changed this week when someone at CBS had a Homer moment (“D’oh!”) and ran a story-spoiling commercial before the plot had run its course on the show.

On the show, cut to: Jaime taking off in a Chevy Silverado into a cane field, being chased by his father, Alex (Jimmy Smits in the lead role), and getting caught in a fire set by a rival. Fade to black. Cut to commercial: a Chevy Silverado bursting through a wall of flames, and a narrator asking “Did you think that stunt with the Silverado was hot?” Cut to viewers asking: “Uh, what the…?”

But come on — was this really a plot spoiler? Because you really thought it possible that the main character and his son were going to die in a fire in the show’s first season? Really? CBS, in fact, did get one angry call. And with that, probably lost the one ardent fan of Cane.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

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Volkswagen undergoes name change

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (Dec. 12, 2007) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it has changed its name to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. The change will be fully effective January 1.

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Nissan GT-R dynoed at 475 hp, 428 lb.-ft. of torque

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Japan’s BestCar buff book grabbed the keys to a new Nissan GT-R and made for the nearest Super Autobacs. Once they arrived, they mounted Godzilla atop a Dynapack chassis dynamometer, removed the wheels and laid down a few runs to get power figures straight from the axles. The numbers are due for publication in the mag’s December 25th issue, but our new friend Jeff made Christmas come early.

The dyno chart shows a peak output of 475 hp at 6,115 rpm and 428 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,130 rpm. Those numbers are incredible close to Nissan’s claim of 480 hp and 430 lb.-ft. of twist, but we’ll have to wait until a few lucky souls slap the GT-R onto a set of rollers to get some idea of wheel horsepower and torque figures.

Looking over the chart shows very little happening before 3,000 rpm, which is contrary to a number of driving reports we’ve read so far. Turbo lag has virtually been eliminated on many new models, the GT-R included, so we’re assuming that the Dynapack at Super Autobacs wasn’t paying attention until later on in the rev range.

[Source: NAGTROC]

 

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