Tuners

BMW X6 by AC Schnitzer – Is It Worth the Effort?

German tuning specialist AC Schnitzer has heralded the introduction of their version the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe (SAV), itself neither a coupe nor a proper sporting vehicle.

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8th Gen Mercedes-AMG SL Unveiled

Mercedes-AMG wanted to show you its new SL Roadster, a 2+2 seater, testing its 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system at a private proving ground in Sweden near the Arctic Circle. In typical Mercedes fashion, they said it was as much a test of the Roadster’s convertible top as it was the all-wheel-drive system under these harsh conditions.

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2022 400Z HP Revealed?

According to Project Cars 3, a video game from Slightly Mad Studios distributed by Bandai Namco, the new Nissan 400Z is shown in their latest downloadable content (DLC) power pack to possess some very serious horsepower.

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Mini Takes The States Tour Goes Flat Again

In a YouTube video announcement yesterday, Mike Peyton, vice-president of Mini of the Americas, let the air out of Mini Takes The States for 2021, postponing the bi-yearly event which was canceled in 2020.

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Novitec Presents Over-The-Top Ferrari F8 Tributo

Ferrari F8 Tributos are a rather exclusive ride already, and at $277,000 or thereabouts, it stands to reason. German tuning specialist Novitec ups the ante on the F8 Tributo, both in performance and appearance.

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QOTD: VW Golf – Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone? [UPDATED]

VW today announced the end of the road for the base Golf for North America. The question is, will you miss the base Golf when it’s gone?

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Time for a New Toyota Celica?

Toyota may have a new Celica in the works, according to gr86.org. While filing a trademark for Celica at this point in time seems to be rights retention more than anything, there is a trademark limitation of three years. After that time, Toyota would be required to re-apply to retain their rights to the iconic name.

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Tokyo Auto Salon 2021 Takes Place Virtually

The Tokyo Auto Salon, possibly the most anticipated event among tuner-car enthusiasts, was canceled for 2021. In its place, a virtual event was held this past weekend.

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Tokyo Auto Salon 2021 Cancelled

The Tokyo Auto Salon, one of the world’s top shows for modified vehicles, has been canceled. Scheduled to take place January 15-17, 2021, the event was canceled due to concerns over the outbreak of COVID-19.

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First Audi ABT RS7-R in North America

The first new ABT RS7-R Limited Edition version of the 2021 Audi RS 7 has been completed by GMP Performance in Mooresville, North Carolina, at their facility in Lake Norman.

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Hennessey F5 Supercar the World's Fastest or Full of Hot Air?

The Hennessey Venom F5 supercar has been unveiled in advance of 2021 customer deliveries. The all-new Venom F5 is built to deliver what the company declares is an exhilarating all-around driving experience, coupled with unparalleled performance. With its power, low weight, and vehicle dynamics, the F5 brags about its handling, and how you may have a truly visceral experience behind the wheel.

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Speed On: 178 MPH Jaguar F-PACE SVR for 2021 Rolls Out

Zero to sixty in 3.8 seconds, or 0.3 seconds faster than the outgoing version, the 2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR is also said to be 2 mph faster, with a top speed of 178 mph. The real question is where outside of Iredell County, North Carolina, scene of NASCAR racer Kyle Busch’s infamous 2011 speeding ticket (128 mph in a 45 mph zone), could you get anywhere near those limits?

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It's Crate Engine Day, Apparently - This Time, It's the Honda Civic Type R Mill

Between Mopar’s 707-horsepower Hellcat engine and Honda’s 306-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter from the Civic Type R, the crate engine gods have smiled on both axles today.

Like Mopar, Honda took advantage of this week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas to announce the availability of the front-drive monster’s engine in standalone form. No doubt this news immediately inspired visions of the cobbled-together HR-V Type R you really wanted, but be warned. This engine comes with an asterisk.

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Ditch That Slant Six: Dodge Hellcat Powerplant Is Now Available as a Crate Engine

This should lead to more than a few odd pairings. Mopar, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ performance and aftermarket parts division, will now offer a Dodge SRT Hellcat engine — the company’s 707 horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 — minus the car.

Dubbed the “Hellcrate,” the warranty-backed engine and associated kit was unveiled Monday ahead of this week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. This means Mopar fans looking to own a 707-hp beast have other options than just visiting an FCA dealer and signing on the dotted line for a new vehicle.

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Drive a New Civic? Got a Tax Refund? Time to Add Power

Honda’s new Civic is a heck of a car, even if the styling is polarizing. But it’s not a performance car like Civics of old, where mixing and matching engine and transmissions from other models could yield a very quick ride with a stratospheric redline. Enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting the Si and Type-R trims, which promise plenty of power — but what of those who already have a car, or need features the high-performance cars don’t have?

Enter Hondata, the firm that’s been tuning Honda engine management systems for years. It’s been the industry leader for those looking to do those engine swaps, and has developed software and devices to add performance to the factory ECU.

Recently, Hondata released its FlashPro for the newest Civic powered by the 1.5-liter turbo engine, and I had a chance to drive a Hondata-tuned 2017 Civic.

Even stock, the new turbo Civic is faster in the quarter-mile than the previous-generation Civic Si, so the extra performance should be impressive.

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Seven Off-Roaders You'll Never See Off the Asphalt

For the automotive aftermarket, SEMA is all about showing off the latest and greatest gear, and more often than not that comes in the form of vehicle builds around the Las Vegas Convention Center. There’s everything from mild to wild, but there’s also plenty of trucks and SUVs that go so far over the top that they reach a level of absurdity.

That leads us to this collection of trucks. Although fitted with suspension lifts and aftermarket wheels, in spite of the aggressive tires these trucks and Jeeps at the 2016 SEMA Show will live their lives on asphalt and never see the dirt.

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John Hennessey Again Earns His 'Crook' Badge

I hate it when people get ripped off. And judging by your reaction to Bark’s piece last week about a dealer in Florida, you hate it too.

The latest con job to be posted to the Interwebs involves someone who’s no stranger to crime: John Hennessey. The Texas-based tuner of extraordinary supercars, Hennessey Performance Engineering, might not be building cars as exclusive as it purports — that is if it builds them at all, reports Jalopnik.

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Ford GT Engine Could Be Made Available, Minus the GT

If you missed your chance getting into a limited edition Ford GT supercar last week, your EcoBoost-powered dreams might not be over.

Dave Pericak, director of Global Ford Performance, recently told Autocar that the 600-plus horsepower heart of the GT could beat on — in other low-volume specialty models.

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Ohio Ford Dealer, Selling 727HP Roush Mustangs for $39,995, Tells Hellcat to Step Outside

Is the 707 horsepower Dodge Hellcat too weak for you? Do you miss the 662 hp Shelby GT500? Do you love the sensual whine of a supercharger pulley? Well, a Ford dealer in Ohio has the car for you.

Lebanon Ford of suburban Cincinnati is a Roush Performance dealer, and has decided to offer the base 2016 Mustang GT with a Roush Stage 2 supercharger for under $40,000.

This undercuts the Challenger Hellcat by nearly $25k, meaning you could pick up a new Fiesta ST with the difference, or perhaps a few sets of tires. You’ll need them.

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Craigslist User Wants to Put You in This Yugo Tank

Craigslist can be a great place to waste a few hours browsing oddities or finding your next money pit of a project car. I have a few projects but one of my more nostalgic goals is to find a Yugo to add to my collection.

Most examples of the Yugo that pop up online are usually in a non-running state or resemble Swiss cheese, but the crew over at BangShift found the oddest one of them all.

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Bipartisan Bill Aims to Kill EPA Racecar Regulation

Attention, racecar enthusiasts: Your Congressional representatives are looking out for you!

Normally, this phrase would be met with suspicion and outright fear, but for those fighting the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation on racecar conversions, it’s the best news they’ve had in weeks.

A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress would protect the track-only use of modified street vehicles for use in competition, a practice the EPA is seeking to prohibit.

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Before You Buy That 2016 Ford Focus RS, You Should Know Something

There may be a quicker one coming.

That’s if you believe what Autocar reported Thursday. According to the British publication, Ford engineers in Europe are already be whispering there could be a lighter, quicker version of the 2016 Ford Focus RS coming. Engineers are reportedly aiming for a sub-4 second 0-60 run.

The increased performance won’t come by way of a bigger engine however — the laws of thermodynamics in cramped spaces preclude a bigger bolt-on snail, apparently — but rather the ol’ Colin Chapman route: adding more lightness.

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Volkswagen Emissions Fix May Not Last Long Thanks to Aftermarket Tuners

Many in the Volkswagen diesel community are fanatical about their fuel economy and are understandably angry that a fix for the current emissions scanda l may see them lose fuel economy in order to lower NOx output. The aftermarket community has provided modifications for the DPF and Adblue systems in the past, meaning there’s good chance they’ll provide parts and tuning to revert any changes Volkswagen may implement on the affected models.

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Could the Volvo XC90 Polestar Be a 450-Horsepower Crossover?

This one we should have seen in the cards already: Last month, Volvo announced that it purchased Volvo tuner Polestar to bring in-house and churning out more models for eager hands.

Last year, Volvo announced it had developed a triple-turbo, 2-liter four that could produce 450 horsepower.

It’s entirely likely, TTAC has learned, that the two will meet in a Polestar-branded XC90.

Details about the car were few and far between, but the engine combination and newly branded vehicle would up the ante on what Volvo powertrain chief told Auto Express earlier this year.

Instead of slotting between the 316-horsepower XC90 T6 and the 400-horsepower hybrid T8, the Polestar version would offer the 450-horsepower variant, with a 48-volt supercharger boosting twin turbochargers on the craziest family crossover.

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Next-generation Audi TT RS Will Happily Relieve You of Shifting Duties

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.

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Volvo More Than Doubles US Polestar Allocation for 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.

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Subaru of America COO: BRZ Needs 'More Performance'

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.

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Yamamoto: This MX-5 Is All You're Getting, Take It or Leave It

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.

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Nissan IDx is Super-Dead, But Parts May Live On in FWD Platform

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.

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Toyota Tundra Goes Pro, Loses V6 Entirely For 2015

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.

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A Primer On Houston SLAB Culture

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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Introducing The All New Porsche Paaaaaaaanamera (Chinese Spec)

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.

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What's Wrong With This Picture: GM Hearts Cycling After All Edition
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 tu…
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Nissan Leaf Owners Take The Lead In Improving Efficiency
One of most common complaints that traditional “car guys” have about the modern auto industry is that cars have become so complex and computerize…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: An Archetype's Progress Edition
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,…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: The Most Interesting Tuned Cayenne In World Edition
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…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: I'm Looking For Something That Says "Dad Likes Leather" Edition
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-gra…
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Quote Of The Day: The Ultimate Data Machine Edition
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…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: MINI's Untouched Niche Edition
Since cementing its premium-retro-cutesy positioning in the marketplace, MINI’s been leveraging its two platforms into a niche-munching binge. Soon the…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Brand Management Edition

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.

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What's Wrong With This Picture: If You Love Something, Let It Go Edition
“Fine. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” -Harvey Dent, The Dark KnightWhat is it about human nat…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Put That Top Back On Edition
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 bein…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Taste Invaders Edition
In his recent review of the Lexus LX570, Michale Karesh noted that hestruggled to make this 5,995-pound, technology-packed, luxurious SUV make sense.Apparent…
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Cadillac Knows What The Kids Want
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 ris…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: That's Not A Gullwing, This Is A Gullwing Edition
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-f…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Leaf It To The Tuners Edition
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 bod…
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The Mercedes Hot Hatch: Fantasy Meets Reality
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-Cl…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Raptor Hunting Edition
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…
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Brabus Breaks New Ground In EV "Tuning"

With electric cars becoming the new big thing among car lovers with more money than sense, it’s clear that the world’s many tuning houses will try to get in on the action sooner or later… but how? Brabus has offered tuning packages for the Tesla Roadster since shortly after the EV sportscar launched, but the treatment has always been basically skin-deep: wheels, spoilers, lighting, and best of all,

several simulated engine sounds including that of a typical V8 combustion engine, a racecar engine and two futuristic soundscapes named ‘Beam’ and ‘Warp.’

Which is all well and good, but it highlights a real problem: tuners simply can’t improve the performance of EVs without replacing the batteries or reprograming the entire car. For a company like Brabus that’s used to turning crazy-fast Benzes into super-crazy-fast ‘bahn burners, this has to be a frustrating state of affairs. So what’s a tuner to do? Instead of dialing up the power, the future of EV tuning may just be in making these already-green cars even greener.

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Ask The Best And Brightest: Infiniti AMG?
Infiniti recently got into the in-house tuning game, by rolling out the Infiniti Performance Line as an answer to Lexus’s F line, Audi’s S line,…
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Quote Of The Day: Shelby Cobra And The Pursuit Of Distinctiveness Edition
It is one thing to recognize the legendary status of Mr. Shelby and the original Cobras, including the 427 S/C, and quite another to assert that purchasers a…
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What's Wrong With This Picture: Stealth Fuzz Edition

You’re driving down the road at a spirited tempo when you see a big, black, tuned Taurus. No biggie, right?

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TTAC Project: The Zombie Sierra

I’m going drifting. I’m going drifting dressed in the finest English brown velour ever to roll out of Dagenham, England. I’m going drifting in what this week’s Curbside Classic should have been, a 1983 Ford Sierra. And with that, I rejoin TTAC after a long hiatus due to our wonderful country sending me to various deserts to hunt for Osama bin Laden.

I have survived, although my Hilux did not after one ill-placed Taliban rocket sent shrapnel through the radiator. I also relish returning to write for one of the finest audiences I know, the Best and Brightest.

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What's Wrong With This Picture: Tuners To SEMA New Charger First Edition
The 2011 Dodge Charger’s unofficial debut came in the form of a police cruiser which mixed things up at the Michigan State Police trials this year. And…
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Trade War Watch 16: Hot Wheels Just Got Hotter

It’s been some time since since we had a “ Trade War Watch” on mounting trade tensions in the auto industry, and thank goodness for that. In this economic climate of cuts, currency swings and bankruptcies, what we need are things which will make the situation worse, right? In May I reported about how the EU put a 20.6 percent tariff on aluminium wheels from China. The EU did this in response to complaints from domestic manufacturers. Naturally, this left a sour taste in China’s mouth. Well, over 5 months later, you’d think that the EU would have calmed down and this nasty business would be swept under the carpet, right? Erm, not quite….

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They Found Gemballa: Shot In The Head

About a year ago, a mutual friend introduced me to Uwe Gemballa. He looked a bit like a pimp from central casting: bleached blond hair, a flashy watch, gold chain. He tuned Porsches. He wanted to import Gemballas to China, and could I help him? Like many China deals, that deal never got off the ground. And as I read the news today, I think to myself: I’m glad it fizzled. Dodged that bullet. Literally.

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Piston Slap: Tuner Talk, Debunked

TTAC Commentator Rehposolihp writes:

I drive a MKV GTI and despite it being a car that always brings a smile to my face when its working…well, just having to make that last qualification doesn’t bode well for me.

Combine that with a warranty on the verge of expiration and I’m fairly sure I should run away now.

The only thing I’ve done to it is popped on a boost gauge, and purchased an ECU flash (which can be locked back into stock), because I wanted to be reminded that I drive a turbocharged car from time to time. Before I start snapping photos and trying to sell should I replace it back to stock? I may have possibly broken the poor original vent assembly into tiny little pieces in my clumsy attempt to remove it, but the surrounding bits still look good. So – is the minor hassle of replacing it back to stock going to net me a profit, or am I over thinking a boost gauge?

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New World Record: 231 Mph

What is the fastest sedan under the sun? Up until a few days ago, it was a Mercedes E-Class, tuned by Brabus. That car can kiss the world record good-bye.

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How Do You Fix An Acura TL's Looks?

With commentary on today’s Acura TL review struggling to move past the sedan’s jarring styling, this seems like a good time to discuss alternatives to the TL… or, at least the alternatives to that jangly beak. Remember, even if you like your TL enough to get past the “distinctive” looks, the rest of us still have to look at it. Here, for your consideration, are a number of ways to improve the looks of the TL, starting with Acura’s official cure, the “Full Nose Mask.”

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Bitter Builds A Better Buick

Now that we can basically predict the styling of future Buicks by putting waterfall grilles on current Opels, and the brand’s biggest market is China, it’s safe to say that Buick is no longer a particularly American brand anymore. It should come as no real surprise then, that it took a German to build the Ultimate Buick. That “B” on the grille stands for Bitter, an old-school German tuning house that has been to Opel what Alpina is to BMW. But because Erich Bitter has spent his life improving mass-market cars rather than Bavarian bahnsturmers, he brings a unique approach to the Opel Insignia, also known as the Buick Regal. In fact, you could almost call it more Buick than Buick.



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  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.
  • Jeff S We all have issues some big and most not so big. Better to be alive and face the issues than to be dead and not have the opportunity to face them.
  • NJRide Now more than ever, the US needs a brand selling cheaper cars. I know the old adage that a "good used car" is the best affordable transportation, but there has to be someone willing to challenge the $45k average gas crossover or $60k electric one that has priced out many working and middle class people from the market. So I think Mitsu actually may be onto something. Call me crazy but I think if they came up with a decent sedan in the Civic space but maybe for $19-20k as opposed to $25 they might get some traction there's still some people who prefer a sedan.However, I just compared a Trailblazer on Edmunds to an Outlander Sport. Virtually same size, the Trailblazer has heated seats, keyless ignition and satellite radio and better fuel economy for almost same price as the Mitsu. Plus a fresher body and a normal dealer network. This has always been the challenge off brands have had. Mitsu probably would have to come in $2-3k less than the Chevy unless they can finance more readily to the subprime crowd.
  • MaintenanceCosts At least on the US West Coast, Waze is perfectly happy to send cut-through drivers down residential streets or to disregard peak-hour turn or travel restrictions. I hope if it's going to be standard equipment the company starts taking a more responsible approach.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm more curious about the effect (if any) on battery lifetime than range. Drawing current faster creates more heat and if that heat is not promptly drawn away it could affect life of the cells.I agree this sort of thing can make sense as a one-time option but is consumer-hostile as a subscription.