Posted on by Matt McDonald 21

Throughout the past several weeks the economy of the United States and other large importers of oil have struggled to maintain positive amidst the turmoil in the middle-east. Civil unrest and pressure have led to a decrease in oil production and increase in the price for a single barrel. We have seen prices reach the $100 mark and beyond, and there are no signs of a ceiling.

These two year highs for the price of crude oil have led to OPEC releasing more supplies from our reserves, but it has not quelled the price hike. California is currently suffering from the highest prices nationwide and they have reached within a cent of $4.00 per gallon for regular unleaded. This has put added strain on a struggling economic environment for many people and, if this continues, it will drag our economy further down. With cars like the Toyota Prius and other hybrids hitting the market every week, it is good to see that the manufacturers are realizing that gasoline will not be the answer to our future problems.

The major auto shows and car introductions across the world, including the biggest in the United States, Detroit, are where auto manufacturers try to sell the public hot-air. Most of the amazing and futuristic concept cars are so far on the other side of being a production possibility they might as well be alien. The recent economic climate across the world has shifted the car companies in a new direction and the consumer continues to pull them even further. People are eager for cars that are economical and exciting – most people enjoy driving, just not having to pay $4.00 per gallon to do it.

Posted on by Matt McDonald 25

As expected, Aston Martin brought its latest iteration of the Vantage to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Aston has been designing rolling works of art for a very long time and has recently retaken a stance as a racing power as well. The company’s GT4 racecar won its class in two of the most important races of the year, Nurburgring 24 and Spa 24 hours, and have begun fusing racecar technology into the road cars with more fervor than ever before. The top-of-the-line V12 Vantage has the motor from the larger DB9 shoehorned into its engine compartment, making it a true hot rod. That formula may work for some, but others were seeing a lapse between the V12 model and the base V8.

At the beginning of Summer 2011, Aston Martin will introduce the V8 Vantage S, hoping to squeeze some more profit out of its best selling model line and please enthusiasts at the same time. Increases in engine performance, transmission, chassis, and aerodynamics will all further the appeal of an iconic sports car.

According to Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, “The Vantage S epitomizes every attribute of the V-8 Vantage and pushes the driver experience beyond what we have offered before.”

UPDATE 03/11/2011: Aston Martin has revealed an amazing video of the V8 Vantage S showing the car in action. Just listen to the music of that engine! Video after the jump.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Aston Martin Vantage S.

Source: Aston Martin
Posted on by Bryan Usrey 10

The small car market in the United States has been growing by leaps and bounds in the recent years and new offerings have made existing vehicles seem outdated. These machines, such as the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze , make the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla seem more at home with a horse attached to the front.

Yet, what happens when one gets a vehicle that seemed outdated before the launch of those new models? The Nissan Sentra is just one of those models, as its styling inside and out could easily be from 1999, but does that really matter? Styling is, after all, something that each person sees differently and the interior of a vehicle, as important as it is to the media, doesn’t seem to matter much to Americans. Just look at how many Impalas sold last year and this point will hit home.

So, with that being said, is the Nissan Sentra a work of art hidden under a bland exterior, or is its 20th century appearance a sign of what’s to come once on the road? In order to find out, Nissan gave us a 2011 Sentra 2.0 SL to drive around for seven days.

Hit the jump to read what we discovered.

Kia has added a new trim level to their successful Sportage line-up. It’s called the SX Turbo and is powered by a Theta II 2.0-liter Turbo GDI engine with an output of 256 HP. These figures make it the most powerful model in the line-up. Next to the impressive engine, the SX version will also get distinctive features on both the exterior and interior.

"Sportage offers an ideal mix of performance, fuel efficiency and utility for the discriminating compact CUV buyer," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "With the addition of a more powerful Turbo GDI engine, unique interior appointments and improved performance, the Sportage SX makes an already appealing CUV even more fun to drive."

The new Kia Sportage SX will go on sale later this month, with prices starting from $25,7952 for the FWD version and at $27,2952 for the AWD version.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo.

Posted on by Bryan Usrey 4

In 2007, Jeep launched a vehicle that was an abomination of this classic American title. The name on the back of the car readCompass , but direction was the one thing Jeep just didn’t have with this particular model. Our guess is that Jeep had no idea in which direction to head in next.

The exterior was classic Chrysler , as they attempted to give crossover buyers some Jeep attitude, but instead insulted them with fake muscular looks. Sort of like a body builder on steroids, the previous-generation Compass was all show and nothing underneath.

The interior was plastered in cheap plastics and a design that would damage retinas. Basically, what buyers were forced to live with was a Dodge Caliber that was more expensive and useless. Hard to believe the Jeep actually kept the name for this next-generation model. However, nearly four years later, the Compass is back and that needle may finally be pointed in the right direction.

More details on the Jeep Compass after the jump.

There may have been a lot of buzz over V12 powered supercars and the next best thing to break 200mph on an average road, but BMW has gone a different route. The BMW Vision ConnectedDrive has made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show and is showcasing all of the technology BMW has been developing and will be integrating into future cars. Just by looking at this concept it is easy to tell that it will never make it to production in this form, but many of the technologies and ideas found within could be coming out sooner than you think.

Official BMW representatives said: "In 2011 the automobile industry is celebrating the anniversary "125 yeas of the automobile," reason enough to not only look back, but also to look forward. Connectivity is one of the key fields of tomorrow’s world. And of course, we at BMW are proud to be among the pioneers of connected driving: for example, with the first on-board internet access in 2008, the first iPod integration in 2004, or the first ultrasound-based park distance control PDC in 1991."

"2011 is also the year in which we are setting course for the future. Initial insights are already available to you now in the Future Lab from BMW Vision Vision ConnectedDrive. Or soon right here, with an extraordinary vehicle concept, which will once again revolutionize driving in terms of comfort, infotainment and safety. Exactly as you have come to expect from BMW."

BMW’s leadership and constant technology contest with Mercedes-Benz has led them to develop some of the best and most intuitive systems in production cars today. This concept shows how the future may render itself in the automotive realm. In a world where your car is as good or better than your office at getting things done – this is place where the ConnectDrive lives.

UPDATE 03/06/2011: BMW has revealed a new video of the Vision ConnectedDrive concept explaining the story behind the vehicle...and what a story it is! Believe it or not, the concept takes its inspiration from the human body and its possibility to adapt to any situation. This is exactly what the concept does with its three major colors: red for safety, blue for entertainment, and green for convenience. The three colors combine to offer the driver the best info on the road at the best time. How exactly? See BMW’s explanation in the video!

UPDATE 08/15/11: BMW has released another video featuring the Vision ConnectedDrive Concept. It’s a three-minute video that reveals plenty of the technological features of the concept car and wrapped around a story that involves 10 easy steps on how to ’steal jewelry’. We’re not sure about the whole message of the video, but it does make for a fascinating look at all the features that come as part of the futuristic Beamer.

Hit the jump for more details on the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive Concept.

Typically, a sports car zooming past you in a bumblebee-type yellow attracts more attention than Charlie Sheen at a porn star convention. Now looking at the Ferrari 458 Italia in all of its pure awesomeness, one would think that same idea would apply. However, Mansory has shown us that this indeed isn’t the case with their new 458 Italia tuning package called the Mansory Siracusa, revealed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

In what seems to be an effort to douse the Ferrari in a color that resembles alien vomit, Mansory has chosen a yellow and black color scheme for the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Then the tuner attached an outrageous bodykit turning the beautiful 458 into a reject getaway car for our green, out-of-this-world friends.

One of the few redeeming qualities of the Mansory Siracusa is the insane weight reduction attained thanks to the abundant use of carbon fiber. Each single element of the aerodynamic design is manufactured in perfect surface quality and exactly fitted to the automobile. You can only imagine what that does to the power output. This is the place where the Mansory Siracusa wins us over, albeit with our eyes closed.

UPDATE 03/04/2011: Don’t like the strange yellow covering up the Mansory Siracusa? Well, one of our readers agreed and has offered it up in a tasty red. Check it out after the jump!

A big thanks to reader, Apackofweasels!

Hit the jump to read more about the Mansory Siracusa.

Posted on by Alexander + 5

Jaguar just recently released their new XKR-S at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and we now have our first images of the new sports car out on the street. We think that this may even be at a Jaguar-Landrover dealer because, if you look closely, you can also see the new Range Rover Evoque in the background. Actually, there are a few shots of different Evoques with one being theHello Shanghai model provided by Landrover as part of their testing fleet. Anyway, here’s another chance to take a good hard look at the new XKR-S sports coupe designed entirely under the guidance of Design Director Ian Callum.

The new Jaguar XKR-S is powered by an AJ-V8 all-aluminum powerplant with twin-vortex Roots-type supercharger that delivers a total of 550 HP and 501 lb/ft of torque. This brilliant machine is the most powerful Jaguar road engine ever made. With this amount of power, the sports coupe will get to 60mph in 4.2 seconds and will go up to a top speed of 186 mph.

Aerodynamics also helped out in the performance department. Jaguar added a new bumper design featuring near vertical feature lines running down from the edges of the oval air intake and supporting the new carbon-fiber splitter and lower spoiler. The rear gets a separate rear wing.

Thanks for the pics, Hardie!

The first Mercedes SLS AMG to receive a makeover for Geneva was the "Hamann Hawk" by none other than Hamann. Dressed up in a prissy Everose Gold, this tuning package for the SLS model received a power boost up to 636hp. This is all fine and dandy, but it’s time for the Hamann Hawk to meet the more sinister side of the Mercedes SLS AMG. It’s time for the "Cormeum" by Mansory to take its place in the winner’s circle.

The first thing anyone will notice on the made over SLS AMG is the intense use of carbon fiber and the aggressive body kit attached to it, but under the hood there is a small can of whoop-ass just waiting to be opened. Engine updates come in the form of a power boost to 660hp, with an 800hp package currently in the works.

Hit the jump to read more about the Mansory Cormeum Mercedes SLS AMG.

It seems as though every tuner and their cousin has gotten their hands on a new generation Porsche Cayenne in order to do some sort of modification to it. Sportec is no different and, alongside theirSPR1 FL in Geneva, the Swiss tuner is also displaying the SP580 package for the SUV. Sportec clearly focused on power updates for both vehicles because, other than a few exterior mods, the engines were the only components given impressive updates.

Starting off with the easiest part of the project, Sportec is offering customers a new set of 22-inch Sportec Mono/7 forged wheels in a dark charcoal finish and an electronic suspension control module that can lower the Cayenne by up to 30 mm. That’s all folks.

More time was taken under the hood as the tuner put in a Motronic system that adds an extra 80 HP and a 74 lbs-ft of torque to the standard 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 300 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm. For those non-math majors, that takes the Cayenne to 380hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The package also includes a new free-flow stainless steel exhaust system with quad 90 mm tailpipes.

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