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Friday, April 29, 2011

Ferrari takes bold step and offers 7-year maintenance on all new models

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The Ferrari Genuine Maintenance will cover all new models for 7-years of service without a mileage limit
Ferrari is taking a bold step amongst luxury automakers and is now offering a 7-year unlimited mileage service program for all new Ferrari models.

The Ferrari Genuine Maintenance program includes the current lineup of the 458 Italia, the California and the FF models.

The program was designed to service vehicles about once a year but customers who reach the 20,000 km (12,500 miles) intervals earlier will still get their vehicles serviced. There is no mileage limit on the 7-year coverage.

This kind of service is unique amongst luxury automakers and could signal a new competitive realm amongst supercar makers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.

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Alfa TZ3 Stradale

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Rebodied Viper = Zagato TZ3 Stradale Today Zagato released details of their TZ3 Stradale to celebrate the late Alfa Romeo Centennial. Its style is a fitting tribute to the legendary Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 of 1965 and maybe the Alfa Romeo T33/2 Stradale made two years later.

Surprisingly, unlike the Corsa version that came before it, the Stradale is essentially a rebodied Dodge Viper ACR. This begs the question: what besides the badges warrants the Alfa Romeo nameplate? It's these sticky situations which Ferrari has tried to avoid by banning any and all restyled cars except their own.

The classic TZ nameplate is an essential part of Alfa Romeo history: The Giulia TZ of 1963 took advantage of Zagato's lightweight aluminum bodies with ‘Codatronca’ bodywork from the Giulietta SZ. The ultimate version is the Giulia TZ2 which many people describe as a mini Ferrari GTO.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2012 Ferrari FF

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OMG! The winningest team in Formula 1 and the company that best translates that racing technology to its road cars has gone off the reservation and built an all-wheel-drive wagon with a suspension that goes up and down like a Range Rover's. Not even Nostradamus saw this coming. The Mayans were right -- the world is ending in 2012!

Ferrari offers 16 standard colors, 10 colors inspired by the 1960's, 12 non-standard colors, and 3 three-layer colors. Pair them with polished, matte, or black rims, six caliper colors, and myriad combinations of interior monotone or multi-tone leathers and stitching. An online configurator makes them all available for internet dreamers.Such was the hysterical reaction of many following the Geneva unveiling of Ferrari's latest V-12 grand tourer, the FF.

That's because the company decided to go for a revolutionary redesign of the 612 Scaglietti with the aim of luring more rich golfers and skiers. Basically the design brief was this: Make the car fit four full-sized 95th-percentile adults, plus a couple of tournament golf bags or four people's roller bags for a weekend getaway within the 612's footprint, while ensuring that it could A) reach the slopes safely in winter, and B) perform like any other Ferrari on dry pavement.

Those packaging requirements pretty much forced Pininfarina into the controversial square-back design (call it a "shooting-brake" if you're fancy), but at least this shape contributed to the 20-percent improvement in overall aerodynamic efficiency. By raising the roof just 1.4 inches, the car can snugly carry four 6-footers while providing Porsche Panamera-topping luggage space in back.

The performance targets sent the engineering department to their drawing boards. The first goal requires all-wheel-drive (plus proper winter tires and that optional hydraulic lift that boosts ground clearance by 1.6 inches up to 20 mph), while the second demands a rear weight and drive-torque bias. Those divergent requirements basically ruled out every known AWD system since the Jensen FF's, including Nissan's tangle of driveshafts and transaxle solution. (It adds too much weight and wrecks the underbody packaging.)

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2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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You don't have to be a Camaro fan, or even a Chevrolet fan, to appreciate the 2012 Camaro ZL1. You may well think the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 is the greatest car ever built, but you still read every word of our ZL1 first look to see what Ford's up against. Get ready to see new super Chevy in a whole new light.

You see, we were able to schedule a little private time with the ZL1 following its big debut at last month's 2011 Chicago auto show. Think of it more as a sensual massage than a one-night stand. Chevy wasn't going to let us get all handsy with their latest star, but a private modeling session? Why not? Chevy brought the car, we brought the cameras and a good time was had by all in the strategically-lit room.

How could it not be fun? After all, this is the Camaro we've been asking Chevy to deliver since we first drove the fifth-generation SS. It's the car we enthusiasts would build if we could pick through GM's parts bin without having to pay for it. Carbon-ceramic brakes and magneto-rheological shocks cribbed from the mighty Corvette ZR1? Check. A 550-horsepower LSA supercharged V-8 cribbed from the giant-killing Cadillac CTS-V? Check. Aggressive, but restrained styling? Check, but to be fair, they could've taken it a step farther. A steering wheel and shift knob we'd actually want to hold? Double check. Nice to hear the guys at Chevy were listening.

As we alluded to, though, this was a first date in suburbia, not a Vegas fling. Chevrolet wasn't about to throw a bunch of "drive it like you ain't payin' for it" journalists the keys to their only prototype for a romp in the neighborhood. We were, however, able to pry the keys from the car's handlers long enough to fire up the ZL1 and take in its aural delights.

Join us, then, by proxy. Fire up the video and hear the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the first time as it roars to life and gives us just a little tease of musical chops. Tease. We'll be back for more when Chevrolet decides to let its latest offspring venture out in the world and date the jerks, but for now, enjoy the happy ending.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

2013 Porsche 998 911

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The 911 is the most successful model in Porsche’s history. It started its long history back in 1963 and since then Porsche has offered five distinct generations: 911 classic, 964 Series, 993 Series, 996 Series, and 997 Series. Moreover, the sixth one is already under intense testings and will make its official debut in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

It may be a little unorthodox for Porsche to be bringing out a new generation 911 despite the fact they just revealed a facelift version, but the requests keep changing and Porsche must answer the call of duty. Their latest target is improving both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The sixth generation 911, or the 998, will be a completely new vehicle, even though everyone will recognize it as a 911 model. Shortly after the launch of the 998 911, Porsche will also be releasing the Turbo, GT2, and GT3 in 2012.

2011 Jaguar XKR-S

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It wasn’t that long ago when, in the middle of their brand reinvention, Jaguar released the refreshed XKR sports car at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. A year after the new XKR made its debut to the public, Jaguar is headed back to Geneva with another XKR model. Only this time, it’s the hot-as-a-scorching-summer’s-day XKR-S.

The new XKR-S features exclusive new paint colors that reflect Jaguar’s racing heritage. As with competition Jaguar cars of the past, the exterior of the XKR-S adheres to the principle of form following function.

Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s new Global Brand Director, describes the car as a "bold and exciting new model for Jaguar". He adds: "The styling of this car isn’t about image, it’s about true performance. Like other iconic Jaguar cars before it, the styling has been driven by geometry and aerodynamics for genuine design purity."

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mercedes-Benz wants full hybrid lineup by 2013

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Mercedes-Benz wants to have a full hybrid lineup in both Europe and the United States by 2014.

"We have a leading position in the premium segment concerning alternative propulsion systems, and we will defend it," said Daimler's E-Drive and Future Mobility chief, Herbert Kohler, in an interview with Automotive News Europe.

The full hybrid lineup will include a C-Class hybrid and E-Class hybrid variants launched in Europe by 2013 and the S-Class plug-in hybrid (pictured here in concept form) debuting by 2014. U.S.-market launches for those models will follow six-months after their European debuts.

Kohler said that Daimler spends about half of its research and development budget of €4.1 billion ($5.6 billion) on alternative powertrain technologies.

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Pagani Huayra officially revealed

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After a flurry of leaks, Pagani has officially unveiled the Huayra ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Named after the god of wind, the new supercar is powered by an AMG-sourced 6.0-liter biturbo V12 engine with over 700 hp (522 kW / 710 PS) and 1000 Nm (737 Nm) of torque. It is backed up by an XTRAC seven-speed sequential transmission which weighs 96 kg (212 lbs) and is mounted transversely behind the engine. Performance specifications haven't been finalized, but testing has revealed the 1,350kg (2,975 lb) Huayra can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds and hit top speed of 370 km/h (230 mph).

While the car's styling won't win many fans, the Huayra was designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. As part of this mission, the car has four adjustable flaps which can operate independently to improve downforce as needed. Furthermore, the sleek carbon fiber body incorporates gullwing doors and plenty of openings to assist in engine cooling.

Inside, the cabin is elegantly appointed with premium leather upholstery, milled aluminum components, and acres of carbon fiber trim. Thankfully, unlike most specialty supercars, the Huayra is also equipped with a touch-screen infotainment system and Bluetooth connectivity.

As promised, the car is fully homologated to meet U.S. safety regulations. This added weight, but thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials - such as a carbon-titanium monocoque tub, carbon-ceramic brake discs, and forged Avional suspension components - the Huayra is only 120 kg (265 lbs) heavier than the outgoing Zonda.

Production is slated to commence later this year and pricing is expected to start at €1,000,000 ($1,368,800 / £867,030).

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