The Truth About Cars » Tuners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:47:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Tuners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/tuners/ Next-generation Audi TT RS Will Happily Relieve You of Shifting Duties http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/next-generation-audi-tt-rs-will-happily-relieve-you-of-shifting-duties/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/next-generation-audi-tt-rs-will-happily-relieve-you-of-shifting-duties/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 20:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120209 When the next Audi TT RS arrives in the U.S. in 2017 (and earlier elsewhere), it will be so advanced that you won’t even have the option of “shifting gears” in a “manual” fashion. Isn’t it nice of Audi to make that decision for us? Decisions — like coordination — are pretty difficult, after all. Car […]

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2016-audi-tt-roadster-04

When the next Audi TT RS arrives in the U.S. in 2017 (and earlier elsewhere), it will be so advanced that you won’t even have the option of “shifting gears” in a “manual” fashion.

Isn’t it nice of Audi to make that decision for us? Decisions — like coordination — are pretty difficult, after all.

Car & Driver is reporting the TT RS won’t be available with a manual gearbox. At all. Anywhere. Instead, the sole cog-swapper will be of the DSG variety with seven forward ratios. That’s interesting considering the current car was a manual-only affair in the U.S. If you wanted an automatic, you were forced to step down to the lesser S model.

The new TT RS is expected to arrive with 400 horsepower, an improvement over the current car’s 360 horses, by way of another turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine.

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Volvo More than Doubles US Polestar Allocation for 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-more-than-doubles-us-polestar-allocation-for-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-more-than-doubles-us-polestar-allocation-for-2016/#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 16:01:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119449 After the sale of Polestar to Volvo, the Swedish automaker is cranking up output and bringing more than double the number of high-performance sedans and wagons to the U.S. for 2016. Also, there will be more wagons than sedans wearing Polestar badging this time around, as Volvo states 60 percent of the 265 total Polestar […]

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Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016

After the sale of Polestar to Volvo, the Swedish automaker is cranking up output and bringing more than double the number of high-performance sedans and wagons to the U.S. for 2016.

Also, there will be more wagons than sedans wearing Polestar badging this time around, as Volvo states 60 percent of the 265 total Polestar units will be V60 models.

It should come as no surprise that Volvo is looking to leverage its now-owned Polestar brand a little more than they have in the past. The automaker is also expanding the Polestar color palate with Icy White and Bright Silver in addition to the Black Sapphire and photo-friendly Rebel Blue shades available last year.

As in 2015, S60 and V60 Polestar models will be powered by a 345 horsepower, turbocharged,  six-cylinder engine.

Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, model year 2016

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Subaru of America COO: BRZ Needs ‘More Performance’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/subaru-america-coo-brz-needs-performance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/subaru-america-coo-brz-needs-performance/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 22:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115433 It seems enthusiasts aren’t the only folks looking for a little more performance from the rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ. Subaru of America COO Tom Doll would also like a little more performance — in terms of sales — from the sports car co-developed with Toyota. Thankfully, he sees the best way to increase interest in […]

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Subaru BRZ STI Performance Concept

It seems enthusiasts aren’t the only folks looking for a little more performance from the rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ. Subaru of America COO Tom Doll would also like a little more performance — in terms of sales — from the sports car co-developed with Toyota.

Thankfully, he sees the best way to increase interest in the BRZ is to give us what we want.

Maybe.

Speaking on Autoline Detroit (via AutoGuide), Doll said: “We may have to do some things to (the BRZ) to enhance the driving performance a little more; take it up a little bit. Because I think that’s one of the learnings we’ve seen out of that vehicle, if it had a little bit more performance to it, it could really take up the sales level even more.”

Earlier this year, officials at Subaru confirmed a STI-branded BRZ would go on sale in the United States, but didn’t reveal specs or additions beyond the current car.

In addition to admitting the BRZ needs more performance — whether that means bumping up the power or giving the car some other tweaks — Doll also mentioned a second generation of the BRZ is still up in the air and wholly dependent on the intentions of executives in Japan.

A second-generation BRZ may also depend on Toyota. It’s been rumored the larger Japanese manufacturer is envious of the new Mazda MX-5 Miata — so much so that they’d be willing to use the architecture for the next Toyota GT86 and Scion FR-S. If that’s the case, don’t expect Subaru to follow suit.

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Yamamoto: This MX-5 Is All You’re Getting, Take It or Leave It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/yamamoto-this-mx-5-is-all-youre-getting-take-it-or-leave-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/yamamoto-this-mx-5-is-all-youre-getting-take-it-or-leave-it/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104809 First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5. Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere. Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere.

Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has plainly stated there won’t be a high-output special in the same vein as the NB Mazdaspeed MX-5.

From TopGear.com:

“It’s important not to get hung up on numbers,” Yamamoto-san told us. “Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power.

“In my mind it just has to be fun to drive,” he added.

To put it plainly, there will be no additional powerplants, no superchargers and no turbochargers. The most horsepower you’ll be able to buy on the showroom floor will be 155 from the 2.0L four-cylinder engine, take it or leave it.

While a vocal minority will cry foul at the thought of the MX-5 having less power than the outgoing model, we should commend Yamamoto and Mazda on this line-in-the-sand decision, especially when you consider the reasons why.

“It’s got to be affordable. Faster MX-5s means more money,” he added.

But, with the prevalence of turbocharged engines in today’s market, adding one to the MX-5 likely wouldn’t cost much more. According to Yamamoto, though, a turbo would ruin the Miata.

“I never considered using a turbo,” he said, “because naturally aspirated engines are just nice, especially for this kind of car.

“What’s very important to me is the feeling, and that you are happy driving it. I don’t want any more power or torque for the MX-5, but the sensation is important.”

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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Nissan IDx is Super-Dead, But Parts May Live On in FWD Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072786 Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx. That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z. While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview […]

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Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx.

That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z.

While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview in Nashville, Tennessee, we had a chance to prod Loing on what could be the future of IDx considering its overwhelmingly positive reception in Tokyo and Detroit.

Nissan IDx Freeflow / IDx NISMO

“IDX is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in,” Loing said about the future of IDx as we saw it revealed in Tokyo.

The reality is auto manufacturers are finding it difficult – or impossible – to build a small, rear-wheel drive performance vehicle and make money. Either a current platform, like that of the 370Z, needs to be shrunk down, or a whole new platform needs to be engineered to serve one niche vehicle.

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Unfortunately, at least for Nissan, the 370Z platform isn’t an option.

“Small, sporty cars are very attractive for consumers but not in huge numbers. To do them properly – in our case – you can’t rely on an existing rear-wheel drive platform, because its dimensions are for a much larger powertrain. So, for us, it would mean developing a different rear-wheel drive platform and then we are bumping into the same obstacles every other automaker has: the volumes of a small, sporty car are not enough to justify the investment,” said Loing.

With the current Z doing quite well, at least in the eyes of Nissan as top-dollar NISMO models make up nearly 20 percent of units sold, going down-market is going against the market. Also, based on Loing’s remarks about size, it doesn’t look like we will be getting a smaller Z car next time around.

But, since it was the IDx’s design garnering the most attention, could it transfer to something else?

“It wouldn’t be the same design because, of course, the proportions are based on a rear-wheel drive platform,” Loing explained. “But that kind of retro 510 inspired design was very well received in Japan and in the U.S. (when Nissan debuted in Tokyo and Detroit), and to some extent in Europe as well. So, yeah, that could be an option – among other ones, it could be an option.

“I think we may still have some room (to add a retro-inspired car). We have a wide lineup.”

And with the new Maxima pumping out 300 horsepower to the front wheels alone, a FWD performance compact is possible.

Renault Megane RS 275

“If you look at the Alliance, Renault has some extremely strong front-wheel drive cars that are very sporty; Megane RenaultSport, for example, holds the front-wheel drive record on the Nurburgring. So, yes, it is possible within the limitations of front-wheel drive today.”

But, is that something Nissan is considering? Loing held his cards close to his vest.

“You will have to come back in a few years to see if it has materialized or not. *laughs* But, we do show cars to test reactions all the time, so those reactions are included in the debate on future global products. Sometimes they will be the deciding factor to go one way or another. Sometimes they won’t.”

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Honda Civic Hatch “Near Identical” To NY Coupe Concept, Will Get Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-civic-hatch-near-identical-ny-coupe-concept-will-get-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-civic-hatch-near-identical-ny-coupe-concept-will-get-hybrid/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 10:59:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058010 If a report from Britain’s AutoExpress is to be believed, the front clip of the next-generation Honda Civic hatchback – due to arrive in North America for the first time since 2000 (in non-Si form) – will look “near identical” to the Civic Coupe concept revealed in New York. Head of Honda UK, Philip Crossman, […]

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Civic Concept

If a report from Britain’s AutoExpress is to be believed, the front clip of the next-generation Honda Civic hatchback – due to arrive in North America for the first time since 2000 (in non-Si form) – will look “near identical” to the Civic Coupe concept revealed in New York.

Head of Honda UK, Philip Crossman, told the UK outlet the next Civic hatchback will only differ from the coupe at the rear third of the car and all sheetmetal fore of that will be the same. In addition to a coupe, sedan, and hatchback, AutoExpress also posits a new Tourer model will likely be available, though we can’t see this version of the Civic coming to our shores.

The Civic will ride on a common architecture for both European and North American models. Under hood will be a brand new drivetrain with a hybrid version available later.

“We’ll come back with a class-leading hybrid powertrain in the next five years,” said Crossman, “and it’s likely to make as much impact as the VTEC valve system.”

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Toyota Tundra Goes Pro, Loses V6 Entirely For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-tundra-goes-pro-loses-v6-entirely-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-tundra-goes-pro-loses-v6-entirely-2015/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913218 After its makeover for the 2014 model year, the 2015 Toyota Tundra has gained a few more tricks up its sleeve, beginning by going all in on V8 firepower and losing the V6 due to the latter’s take rate of less than 5 percent. Under the bonnet awaits two potential powerplants for Tundra owners: the […]

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After its makeover for the 2014 model year, the 2015 Toyota Tundra has gained a few more tricks up its sleeve, beginning by going all in on V8 firepower and losing the V6 due to the latter’s take rate of less than 5 percent.

Under the bonnet awaits two potential powerplants for Tundra owners: the 4.6-liter i-Force V8 delivering 310 horsepower and 327 lb-ft of torque, and the 5.7-liter i-Force V8 offering 381 horses and 401 lb-ft of torque; the latter can be had as either gasoline-only or in Flex Fuel configuration. The power is delivered through a six-speed electronic automatic to either rear or all four wheels.

Towing capacity is 10,500 pounds in 4×2 regular-cab configuration, and is compliant with SAE J2807. Additionally, trailer control is made easier through the Tundra’s Trailer Sway Control, part of the truck’s overall vehicle stability system.

Those wanting to live out their Ivan “Ironman” Stewart fantasies can do so through the new-for-2015 TRD Pro package, which brings the 5.7-liter V8 together with 18-inch black alloys wearing exclusive Michelin off-road rubber, dual exhaust, skid plate and upgraded suspension components.

Other features available for 2015 include: spray-in bed liner, rear under-seat tray storage in double cab models, standard backup camera with blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring systems, and the Entune infotainment system.

Pricing for the 2015 Tundra starts at $29,020 MSRP for the base SR 4×2 regular cab model, while no word has been said thus far regarding the TRD Pro model. That said, PickupTrucks.com has published a price list for the majority of the models on sale for the 2015 model year.

2015 Toyota Tundra MSRP Price Sheet

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A Primer On Houston SLAB Culture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/a-primer-on-houston-slab-culture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/a-primer-on-houston-slab-culture/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:55:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=794826 This well-traveled Houstonian thinks his town is Pistonhead Nirvana, proven every month via fanboi scale and diversity at Cars and Coffee gatherings.  Or with every 1000+hp racer on at Texas2k, every shoestring budget’d LeMons racer and Art Car fanatic: it’s all here. Except there’s nothing like Houston SLAB culture. A confession: I know automotive subcultures, […]

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This well-traveled Houstonian thinks his town is Pistonhead Nirvana, proven every month via fanboi scale and diversity at Cars and Coffee gatherings.  Or with every 1000+hp racer on at Texas2k, every shoestring budget’d LeMons racer and Art Car fanatic: it’s all here. Except there’s nothing like Houston SLAB culture.

A confession: I know automotive subcultures, no matter which socioeconomic population nurtures it, always raise the ire of outsiders. My response?  Every generalization about SLABs applies to anyone building a custom, race or show car. We are all the same, deal with it.   

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Like most automotive hobbies, the Houston SLAB scene starts with the belief that the factory’s work needs improvement.  While spec racers turn a depreciated hulk into a track beast, the SLAB rider takes a slice of unloved Americana, bringing it back to a time when Japanese cars were cheap rust buckets that’d never threaten General Motor’s existence! I mean, look at our grilles and look at theirs, right?

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A car that traces its roots back to the 1970s Pimp Rides is necessary to make a modern SLAB: Camcords need not apply. Any Blaxploitation movie gets you up to speed on Pimp Rides, but the Houston SLAB scene uses them as a springboard to something new.

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Depreciated American luxury cars are the norm: Cadillacs, Buicks and certain Oldsmobiles are preferred.  Lincolns/Panthers and Chryslers are cool too, even Jaguars and Quattroportes pull it off vis-à-vis distinctly luxurious proportions.  But don’t break your budget on the ride, GM’s W-body is one of the most common platforms for good reason, as costly modifications are necessary to pay homage to the Pimp Riders while advancing the game:

  • Massive stereos, some are IASCA worthy with a little tweaking.
  • Kitted out power popping trunks, slathered in custom vinyl and personalized phrases in neon/mirrors.
  • Wire wheels much like the Cragar units supplied as OEM for Cadillac in 1983 and 1984, except replacing the fragile tin content with 100% steel. Texan Wire Wheels sells them as “83s” and “84s”, seemingly cornering this niche market.
  • Vogue tires in new sizes for new cars, naturally.
  • Replacement steering wheels, usually with wood grain rims.
  • Candy Paint, just like any vintage rodder.
  • Reupholstered interiors, taking advantage of the latest trimmings on the market.
  • Aftermarket HID lights, custom LEDs, Lambo doors, flat panel TVs and anything else you’ll find in the custom car scene.
  • Oversized brand logos, like the tailgate emblem from an Escalade.
  • Lowered suspensions (often aftermarket Air Ride) for obvious curb appeal.

That stance is at the SLAB’s core: it’s a sweet American luxury sedan ridin’ close to the curb.  Close to the concrete, up against the “slab”…hence the name. Some suggest that SLAB is an acronym for Slow-Loud-And-Bangin’ but that definition seemingly came later.

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But the wheels make SLABs so eye-catching: references percolating through Houston’s music, Houston’s culture.  Originally a re-pop of those Cadillac rims from 1983 and 1984, some are fed pro-baseball grade growth hormones to extend the hub far beyond Cadillac’s factory specification.  Ordinary wires have “pokes” while insanity ensues when you go “super poke.”  While not sure of their origin, odds are that having more poke comes people’s need to out-do each other. Like everything else in this world!

IMG_1759Your taste in poke is subjective, but they are all known as swangas and elbows.

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Elbows are when the hub and spoke of your wheels “poke” out of your body just like your arm’s elbow when perched atop the door sill.  Makes sense, but Swangas?

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Again, not sure: it’s connected to the organized dance that multiple SLABs do on an open stretch of road.  It’s like watching racers warming up their tires during pace laps.  It’s infectious: even the cops do it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Here’s what I saw at the first annual SLAB Parade, put on by the Houston Arts Alliance.  This cow town’s been good about supporting the art scene, especially our Art Cars and our screwed and chopped Rap artists.  While H-town Rap is a “thing” for the likes of Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, Detroit has yet to embrace Houston’s re-branding of their Camry prey/Rental Car fodder and their highline euro-wannabes. Aside from the Chrysler 300, of course.

So welcome to the Third Coast, the coast that actually likes American cars. How they were: with real names, impressive proportions and maybe even SLAB hugging overhangs, too. And the people who make them?  They are no different than other car nuts.

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No doubt, Houston is the best place to be a car fanatic, mostly thanks to our diverse population.  Love it or hate it, hopefully you enjoyed seeing this slice of Automotive Americana while I avoided the pitfalls of a milquetoast overview of an automotive sub-culture. Fingers crossed on that last part.

 

 

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Introducing The All New Porsche Paaaaaaaanamera (Chinese Spec) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/introducing-the-all-new-porsche-paaaaaaaanamera-chinese-spec/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/introducing-the-all-new-porsche-paaaaaaaanamera-chinese-spec/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 16:23:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=426157 German tuner Ruf is coming to China. He did what everybody should do who is setting up shop in another land: Do thorough market research. When he asked what Chinese like, the answer was: “Long!” With that in mind, Ruf made what the Chinese market (possibly) wants: A stretched Porsche Panamera. This thing is a […]

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German tuner Ruf is coming to China. He did what everybody should do who is setting up shop in another land: Do thorough market research. When he asked what Chinese like, the answer was: “Long!” With that in mind, Ruf made what the Chinese market (possibly) wants: A stretched Porsche Panamera.

This thing is a full 40 centimeters (that’s a little less than a foot and a half for the metrically challenged) longer than stock. I would have called in “Max Legroom” and would have created a cartoon character. Instead, Ruf opted for “XL”.

In China, the car may have to contend with a factory-stretched Panamera. The Dutch version of Autoblog says that Porsche will combat penis envy cramped rear compartments with a Panamera that gained a mere 12 cm in length. The accompanying picture shows the subtle shapes of a dildo.

Tip o’the coolie hat to Tycho at Carnewschina, who keeps an eye on these developments. He has more pictures.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: GM Hearts Cycling After All Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-gm-hearts-cycling-after-all-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-gm-hearts-cycling-after-all-edition/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2011 17:40:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416427 Having royally pissed off all of cyclist-dom with a tone-deaf, multi-brand ad in college newspapers, GM just so happens to have a concept car for the SEMA tuner show featuring a mountain bike. Not that the two are in any way related though, as NASCAR racer Ricky Carmichael is the creative force behind the concept. […]

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Having royally pissed off all of cyclist-dom with a tone-deaf, multi-brand ad in college newspapers, GM just so happens to have a concept car for the SEMA tuner show featuring a mountain bike. Not that the two are in any way related though, as NASCAR racer Ricky Carmichael is the creative force behind the concept. The 15-time American Motorcycle Association champion explains in a Chevy press release

The car looks so cool, colorful and fun to drive. I live my life on the go and this Sonic really represents that active lifestyle and my desire to have fun when I’m off the race track.

See? Cycling is cool… as a hobby. On the other hand, maybe the bike just a way to escape the photoshopped beach when this slammed Sonic inevitably gets stuck in the sand. Or perhaps it’s there as a reminder that even if you want to drive a Sonic you may be stuck on a bike, as Automotive News [sub] reports that GM has to idle production of the subcompact for two weeks over a parts shortage. Either way, it’s an improvement on shaming cyclists into buying cars.

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Nissan Leaf Owners Take The Lead In Improving Efficiency http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/nissan-leaf-owners-take-the-lead-in-improving-efficiency/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/nissan-leaf-owners-take-the-lead-in-improving-efficiency/#comments Sat, 15 Oct 2011 19:10:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414873 One of most common complaints that traditional “car guys” have about the modern auto industry is that cars have become so complex and computerized that repairs and modifications have become too complex for their mechanical skillset. But, on the other end of the car guy spectrum, EV enthusiasts are taking over the mantle of the […]

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One of most common complaints that traditional “car guys” have about the modern auto industry is that cars have become so complex and computerized that repairs and modifications have become too complex for their mechanical skillset. But, on the other end of the car guy spectrum, EV enthusiasts are taking over the mantle of the homebrew automotive modifications. The New York Times reports that Nissan Leaf owners are taking the lead to fix issues with the first mass-market electric car, creating more reliable state-of-charge indicators and rapid-chargers, tipping the balance of power from the manufacturer back to the savvy, hands-on consumer.  And as EV enthusiasts build communities, share their experiments and improve vehicles like the Leaf, automakers like Nissan are listening.

Despite the antipathy between old-school auto enthusiasts and their new-wave EV counterparts, these two groups have more in common than you might realize… which can only be good news for the larger automotive culture.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: An Archetype’s Progress Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-an-archetypes-progress-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-an-archetypes-progress-edition/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2011 15:39:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412835 I’m no fan of tuned cars, particularly the garish, over-the-top bodykit jobs that seem to curse the high end of the European sportscar market. And yet, when I saw these pictures of the new Porsche 991, as tuned by the Russian house TopCar, something strange occurred to me: this was the first picture of the new 991 […]

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I’m no fan of tuned cars, particularly the garish, over-the-top bodykit jobs that seem to curse the high end of the European sportscar market. And yet, when I saw these pictures of the new Porsche 991, as tuned by the Russian house TopCar, something strange occurred to me: this was the first picture of the new 991 that I could instantly recognize as the new model. And then I read, over at Pistonheads, that the 991 will be sold with only minor design changes through 2025, a 14-year lifespan for a model that’s barely distinguishable from its predecessor. And all of a sudden, this garish Russian tune-job started looking a lot better. It may not be subtly tasteful, but there’s an undeniable hunger to its flared-and-scooped styling. It’s trying to be something different, while Porsche’s design evolution has ground to halt. We hear that Ford, which has enjoyed great success working a retro groove with the last couple of Mustangs, is “moving on” to craft an entirely new, non-retro Mustang for the next generation. It seems that we’re going to have to wait about 14 more years for Porsche to similarly realize the benefits of making its flagship a “living document.” In the meantime, if you want a 991 that looks like it has moved with the times, you may just have to look at the aftermarket…

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Most Interesting Tuned Cayenne In World Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-the-most-interesting-tuned-cayenne-in-world-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-the-most-interesting-tuned-cayenne-in-world-edition/#comments Sat, 10 Sep 2011 14:43:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410844 What does it take for a tuned Porsche Cayenne to be featured at TTAC? It must be nothing less than the most interesting tuned Cayenne in the world. And your eyes don’t deceive you… that’s exactly what you’re looking at. The Eterniti Hemera may or may not have advantages relative to the competition from Mansory, […]

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What does it take for a tuned Porsche Cayenne to be featured at TTAC? It must be nothing less than the most interesting tuned Cayenne in the world. And your eyes don’t deceive you… that’s exactly what you’re looking at. The Eterniti Hemera may or may not have advantages relative to the competition from Mansory, Ruf, Gemballa et al, but its story beats all of them (with the possible exception of Gemballa, er, hollow. Eterniti burst onto the scene when a Twitter squatter managed to spread all kinds of speculation about the company, including that it would use licensed RedBull F1 technology, adding to rampant speculation that the company was somehow associated with Nissan’s Infiniti brand. Of course Bertel Schmitt tracked down the truth, and even though Porsche no longer associates itself with its former dealer and Eterniti founder Kenny Chen, Bertel could have told you nearly a month ago that the Hemera would be a tuned Cayenne. So, though this glorified bodykit of a car may seem like something of a letdown, its strange social-media-parable storyline makes it… the most interesting tuned Cayenne in the world.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: I’m Looking For Something That Says “Dad Likes Leather” Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-im-looking-for-something-that-says-dad-likes-leather-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-im-looking-for-something-that-says-dad-likes-leather-edition/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2011 15:08:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407747 What’s next for the whale penis leather upholsterers at Russia’s gauchest tuning house, Dartz? How about a wrapping a Ferrari F430 in leather-grain vinyl? Sophisticated! [via GTspirit]

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What’s next for the whale penis leather upholsterers at Russia’s gauchest tuning house, Dartz? How about a wrapping a Ferrari F430 in leather-grain vinyl? Sophisticated! [via GTspirit]
f430leather Are you a "leather daddy"? f430leather2 f430leather3 f430leather4 f430leather5 f430leather6 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Quote Of The Day: The Ultimate Data Machine Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/quote-of-the-day-the-ultimate-data-machine-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/quote-of-the-day-the-ultimate-data-machine-edition/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2011 23:47:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406480 The source of today’s Quote Of The Day, a BMW M Division engineer, is clearly not a native English speaker, but he reveals just where performance cars like the new M5 are going when he says: More and more demand is from our test engineers from the referring(?) departments and they come over and 80%, […]

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The source of today’s Quote Of The Day, a BMW M Division engineer, is clearly not a native English speaker, but he reveals just where performance cars like the new M5 are going when he says:

More and more demand is from our test engineers from the referring(?) departments and they come over and 80%, 90% are only working on the electronic systems. The other 10, 20 percent are working at the car, under the car….

Of course, the M engineers aren’t developing a car from the ground up here, but it’s still amazing that the workload is so unevenly weighted towards electronic rather than, for lack of a better term, “greasy hands” work.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: MINI’s Untouched Niche Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-minis-untouched-niche-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-minis-untouched-niche-edition/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:50:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400481 Since cementing its premium-retro-cutesy positioning in the marketplace, MINI’s been leveraging its two platforms into a niche-munching binge. Soon the MINI lineup will range from cozy Coupe to two-door “Sport Activity Vehicle,” and will include two convertibles, multiple versions of the two-door hatche, two-and-a-half-door hatch, and four door SUV. So what’s missing? A Moke? A […]

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Since cementing its premium-retro-cutesy positioning in the marketplace, MINI’s been leveraging its two platforms into a niche-munching binge. Soon the MINI lineup will range from cozy Coupe to two-door “Sport Activity Vehicle,” and will include two convertibles, multiple versions of the two-door hatche, two-and-a-half-door hatch, and four door SUV. So what’s missing? A Moke? A Delivery van? What about a re-interpretation of the old Mini Pick Up? You and I may feel like the MINI brand  already has plenty of niche offerings, thanks, but here is indisputable proof (found in a supermarket parking lot) that the market thinks MINI hasn’t chased enough niches. Carry on then, lads…

IMG_0337 Oh MINI, how did you leave this niche unfilled? IMG_0339 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_0342 IMG_0341 IMG_0338

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Brand Management Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-brand-management-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-brand-management-edition/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:26:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=391113 Typically, when a focused, well-branded company like BMW buys storied brands and then tries to combine them, the results are less than ideal for all involved. Thus far, BMW had actually been doing a fantastic job with its MINI and Rolls-Royce franchises, expanding into new niches while revitalizing potent brands with high-quality products. But putting […]

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Typically, when a focused, well-branded company like BMW buys storied brands and then tries to combine them, the results are less than ideal for all involved. Thus far, BMW had actually been doing a fantastic job with its MINI and Rolls-Royce franchises, expanding into new niches while revitalizing potent brands with high-quality products. But putting the two together? It’s not clear how many buyers will line up for this Rolls-fettled MINI Goodwood (price estimated as high as £50,000), but at least the thing has good historical precedent in the Peter Sellers Mini-Rolls. And compared to some of the modern attempts to create premium city cars (hello Aston Cygnet), that makes this über-priced MINI-mashup something more than a mere cynical play for profits and C02 emission average reductions. In fact, it’s something of a tribute to BMW’s stewardship of two brands that could well have been botched over the past decade or so. Hit the jump for details on the Mini Goodwood’s posh appointments.

According to Autocar, the 1,000 units of limited edition Rolls-prepped MINIs will feature

a bespoke cabin whose spec was overseen by Rolls-Royce interior designer Alan Sheppard. It features elements synonymous with the Sussex-based luxury brand, including walnut burr veneers on the instrument panel and door pulls, Corn Silk beige leather on the fascia, centre console, seats, door sides and pillar trim, and deep lambswool fleece carpets.

Even the roof lining, sun visors and boot compartment cover are coated in a Rolls-Royce-spec cashmere blend. Rolls’ own typeface features on the speedometer and revcounter, and there’s a piano black finish on the steering wheel-mounted controls and centre console switches.

The car’s exterior mixes Cooper S parts — specifically, the front and rear bumpers — with the non-vented bonnet of the Cooper D. The standard colour will be metallic Diamond Black, which was developed, again, by Rolls-Royce Design — but Mini’s own Reef Blue metallic will be offered as an option.

Underneath there’s a standard Cooper S turbo petrol powertrain, producing 181bhp and 177lb ft (192lb ft on overboost). That’s enough for the Goodwood edition to hit 62mph in 7.0sec. The transmission is a six-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic will be a cost option.

Standard kit in the Mini Roller will include xenon headlights, Harman Kardon speakers, automatic climate control and parking sensors.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: If You Love Something, Let It Go Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-if-you-love-something-let-it-go-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-if-you-love-something-let-it-go-edition/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2011 16:10:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=387392 “Fine. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” -Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight What is it about human nature that forces us to destroy the things we love the most? Jaguar’s E-Type died long ago, shuffling off this imperfect mortal coil to take its place in […]

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“Fine. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

-Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

What is it about human nature that forces us to destroy the things we love the most? Jaguar’s E-Type died long ago, shuffling off this imperfect mortal coil to take its place in automotive Valhalla. And, if we really loved the XKE, that’s where we’d let it stay, swathed in the immortality of the glorious yet out-of-reach past. Instead the E-Type is being destroyed in the name of love… and on the 50th anniversary of its birth, no less. For between €500k and €1m (depending on the number of takers) Switzerland’s Robert Palm will modify a new Jaguar XKR into this hollow mockery of the E-Type’s epic proportions and classic design cues. Called the Growler E 2011, this 600 HP beast is neither a high-quality, faithful resto-mod like the Eagle E-Type, nor a truly modern interpretation of the classic. Instead, what we have here is a wire-wheeled lesson in learning to let go.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail growler3 growler5 growler1 Respect yourself...

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Put That Top Back On Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-put-that-top-back-on-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-put-that-top-back-on-edition/#comments Sun, 06 Mar 2011 16:31:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=386344 I just returned from the press launch of a certain, shall we say unexpected convertible. The kind of vehicle that makes you stop and wonder what’s being put in the water at a certain product planning department. Look for a review tomorrow, but in the meantime, as a kind of innoculation, consider this Subaru STI […]

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I just returned from the press launch of a certain, shall we say unexpected convertible. The kind of vehicle that makes you stop and wonder what’s being put in the water at a certain product planning department. Look for a review tomorrow, but in the meantime, as a kind of innoculation, consider this Subaru STI drop-top modified for Manchester Subaru. It’s one thing to chop the top off a car that doesn’t lend itself to convertible versions, but it’s quite another to add picnic basket-handle roll bars and then top it all off with a huge rear spoiler. It’s no Transvertible,  but death is still too good for this little monster. Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-7 Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-3 Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-6 Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-2

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Taste Invaders Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-taste-invaders-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-taste-invaders-edition/#comments Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:25:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=384234 In his recent review of the Lexus LX570, Michale Karesh noted that he struggled to make this 5,995-pound, technology-packed, luxurious SUV make sense. Apparently he’s not the only one. From the looks of things, the Japanese tuning house Invader Technologies is having a hard time making the LX570 make sense… at least to anyone who’s […]

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In his recent review of the Lexus LX570, Michale Karesh noted that he

struggled to make this 5,995-pound, technology-packed, luxurious SUV make sense.

Apparently he’s not the only one. From the looks of things, the Japanese tuning house Invader Technologies is having a hard time making the LX570 make sense… at least to anyone who’s not a drug-addled, mobbed-up Russian gangster. I suppose that, by post-Mansory tuning standards anyway, the Invader L60  isn’t exactly breaking new ground… still, I’m amazed by how freshly insulted my optical nerves feel.

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Cadillac Knows What The Kids Want http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/cadillac-knows-what-the-kids-want/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/cadillac-knows-what-the-kids-want/#comments Wed, 02 Feb 2011 22:53:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=382691 Yeah, yeah, we know… wood and beige leather are out, edgy and blacked-out are in. But did anyone expect that these hot, youthful trends would give rise to a murdered-out factory special Cadillac CTS-V Coupe? Now, more than ever, this thing is “Darth Vader meets Don Draper.”

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Yeah, yeah, we know… wood and beige leather are out, edgy and blacked-out are in. But did anyone expect that these hot, youthful trends would give rise to a murdered-out factory special Cadillac CTS-V Coupe? Now, more than ever, this thing is “Darth Vader meets Don Draper.”

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: That’s Not A Gullwing, This Is A Gullwing Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-thats-not-a-gullwing-this-is-a-gullwing-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-thats-not-a-gullwing-this-is-a-gullwing-edition/#comments Wed, 05 Jan 2011 19:52:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=379567 The tuning house Gull Wing America have a huge thing for vintage Mercedes models, resulting in such bizarre creations as a re-interpreted W-121 and a retro-fied SLS. But for its latest project, GWA has taken on the most ambitious gullwing Mercedes ever, the “forgotten gullwing” known as the C111. Based on a tubular steel chassis, […]

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The tuning house Gull Wing America have a huge thing for vintage Mercedes models, resulting in such bizarre creations as a re-interpreted W-121 and a retro-fied SLS. But for its latest project, GWA has taken on the most ambitious gullwing Mercedes ever, the “forgotten gullwing” known as the C111. Based on a tubular steel chassis, and sporting a 400 HP Mercedes V12, the “Ciento Once” is more of a re-interpretation than a strict replica. Still, it’s heartening to see such an influential yet forgotten car re-appear on the automotive scene, if only as a one-off prototype.Perhaps it will even inspire the the boys in Stuttgart to come up with their own “take two” on the great gullwing C111.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Leaf It To The Tuners Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-leaf-it-to-the-tuners-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-leaf-it-to-the-tuners-edition/#comments Mon, 27 Dec 2010 18:29:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=378712 While Brabus digs deep for ideas to keep its tuning business relevant in the EV era, Nissan has a less sophisticated approach to electric car tuning: the bodykit. According to Nissan, the Nissan Leaf Aero Style Concept includes new wheels, skirts, mirrors, front bumper and LED daytime driving lights. Because, in the words of the […]

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While Brabus digs deep for ideas to keep its tuning business relevant in the EV era, Nissan has a less sophisticated approach to electric car tuning: the bodykit. According to Nissan, the Nissan Leaf Aero Style Concept includes new wheels, skirts, mirrors, front bumper and LED daytime driving lights. Because, in the words of the firm’s press release:

Equipped with an aero body kit that accentuates Nissan LEAF’s distinctive silhouette and character lines, this concept car expresses an image of futuristic sport EV driving.

Emphasis on “image.” The rest of the EV tuning equation is still largely a mystery.

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The Mercedes Hot Hatch: Fantasy Meets Reality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-something-old-something-new/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-something-old-something-new/#comments Sat, 18 Dec 2010 16:05:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=377680 This is the B55, a silly one-off project by workers at Mercedes’ Rastatt plant that involved shoving an old “55” AMG engine into a new B-Class, running a driveshaft through the “sandwich floor” and hooking it up to an old E-Class wagon rear axle. The result: 383 HP, a 0-60 time in the 5 second […]

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This is the B55, a silly one-off project by workers at Mercedes’ Rastatt plant that involved shoving an old “55” AMG engine into a new B-Class, running a driveshaft through the “sandwich floor” and hooking it up to an old E-Class wagon rear axle. The result: 383 HP, a 0-60 time in the 5 second range, and what Autocar terms “surprisingly mature dynamic properties.” Possibly even more surprisingly, the whole project was done without a lick of help from the nutters at AMG, and required no frame modifications. Best of all is how  comfortingly old-school the project is: the days of turning an FWD compact car into a V8 RWD beast are rapidly drawing to a close. Need proof? For the next-generation of A/B-Class, AMG is going in a very different direction, creating an “A25 AMG” which will use a two liter turbocharged four-banger, putting around 300 HP through a dual-clutch transmission and Haldex AWD. This “STI by AMG” will doubtless be infinitely more practical, efficient and useable than the B55’s old-school V8/RWD setup… but more than a few gearheads will be sad to see these kinds of unhinged anachronisms ride off into the sunset.

That thing got enough power? (courtesy:Autocar) b552 b551

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Raptor Hunting Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-raptor-hunting-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-raptor-hunting-edition/#comments Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:38:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=377583 Where did GMC get the idea to take a short-bed pickup, widen the track, fit some Fox shocks and generally beef it up to create a factory off-road “halo” truck? Oh right, from Ford. If you’re not convinced that Detroit still has at least one foot firmly stuck in the past, this halo niche-chasing behemoth […]

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Where did GMC get the idea to take a short-bed pickup, widen the track, fit some Fox shocks and generally beef it up to create a factory off-road “halo” truck? Oh right, from Ford. If you’re not convinced that Detroit still has at least one foot firmly stuck in the past, this halo niche-chasing behemoth should help clear up some of that doubt.

Picture 205 Picture 198 Picture 206 Picture 203 Picture 199

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