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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

April Fool's Day is widely celebrated by the automotive world

Be aware, dear reader. Today, we will have dozens of stories that may sound real, but that are only jokes. Some of them don't even intend to sound real, as the ones we have selected for you below. Anyway, we don't doubt many people will believe them as if they were real. Take the new Popemobil, for example. Hyundai has based it on an i10.

The idea with it is to save fuel and have something more discrete. But this is not the only idea for helping the environment. Kia has also developed a special version of Soul, the Aero-Soul, equipped with a low-cost system called Air Propulsion and Retardation Installation Line that helps any car to spend less fuel with the help of wind. Sensors in the front and rear bumper indicate if winds are strong. If they are, a panel opens and pushes the car ahead. If the car brakes, a front panel opens to help the car stop.

Seat goes beyond that with the wind idea. It uses a turbine generator on the car roof to power the headlights, what would save energy on the already very efficient Ibiza Ecomotive. The engineer that developed the Aero-Tonto (something like Aero-fool) is called Santos Inocentes, or holy innocents, and he would be developing a new Aero-Fool with 1 m wide wings...

Worse than that is Caparo RightFuel, an equipment that prevents diesel cars of being fuelled with petrol. As if Caparo, creator of the fantastic T1, really cared about diesel cars or fuel economy.

But the best joke of them all comes from the Goodwood Festival of Speed. They have decided to create a category of competition with no emissions. The idea is to ask pilots to push their cars up a hill that is almost 2 km long.

Happy April Fool's Day, my friends. I hope you don't get fooled by anything on it.

Source: Kia, Hyundai, Seat, Caparo and Goodwood

Mercedes-Benz reveals the new E63 AMG in New York

What would you do if you could own a car that can be used to drive the kids to school, to travel in a comfortable way and, once in a while, be taken to a track and be pushed to the driver's limits (once the car may have its own limits in an unreachable distance)? This is what the new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG proposes. The new super sedan will be presented at the New York Auto Show, that will be held from April 10 until April 19.

Beside the fantastic 6.2-litre V8 that powers other AMG vehicles and produces 518 bhp and 630 Nm, the new E63 AMG presents the new 7-speed dual clutch manual automated gearbox from Mercedes-Benz, called Speedshift. It should spread to all the German carmaker line-up very soon because it offers a much better performance than regular transmissions, as well as lower emissions and lower fuel consumption.

Top speed, as usual, is electronically limited to 250 km/h, but the car is able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 s. The kids will be thrilled to go to school, but not to stay there with the chance to remain in such a car.

Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoblog,

Subaru presents the new Legacy at the New York Auto Show

Subaru cars have always attracted attention because of their technical accuracy and superb handling. It's been a while since the company is also trying to call attention for the exterior of its vehicles and the fifth generation of Legacy is a good example of that.

Even though it looks nice, this mid-size sedan still earns more points with us due to its technical specs. It is a 4.74 m long, 1.82 m wide and 1.51 m tall vehicle with a wheelbase of 2.75 m. It is only 3.5 cm larger than the previous Legacy, but its wheelbase is 8 cm larger.

There are three options of engines, all of them boxer units, in order to have a low centre of gravity. The entry-level is a 2.5-litre four cylindre able to generate 172 bhp at 5,600 rpm and 230 Nm at 4,000 rpm. It may feature a six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT, called Lineartronic.

The six-cylindre unit is a 3.6-litre that produces 260 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 335 Nm at 4,400 rpm and it can only have a five-speed automatic transmission, while the most powerful engine Legacy can have is the 2.5-litre four cylindre turbocharged unit. It pumps out 269 bhp at a 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm between 2,000 rpm and 5,200 rpm.

Source: Subaru

Monday, 30 March 2009

Dodge presents the new Challenger SE Rallye, with stripes

Recent events indicate Chrysler has to get into a feasible arrangement with Fiat as soon as possible to survive. While the terms of this arrangement are not revealed, we can only hope for them to achieve it quickly, for the sake of nice cars such as the Challenger SE Rallye.

Besides the V6 3.5-litre engine that generates 340 bhp (250 kW) and 390 Nm, the new version of Challenger features a five-speed automatic AutoStick transmission, the same one used on V8 Hemi engines, and dual-stripe combinations.

There are seven options of colours and stripes available:

• Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl with dark gray dual stripes and red accent stripes
• Bright Silver Metallic with dark gray dual stripes and red accent stripes
• Deep Water Blue Metallic with white dual stripes and red accent stripes
• Inferno Red Crystal Pearl with black and dark gray accent stripes
• TorRed with Black dual stripes and dark gray accent stripes
• Dark Titanium Metallic with black dual stripes and red accent stripes
• Stone White with black dual stripes and red accent stripes

We don't know if the car will help Chrysler solve its problems, but at least the cars look incredibly good. Maybe the company should try to sell them in other markets apart from the USA, where the financial crisis has deeply affected companies that had nothing to do with it.

Source: Chrysler