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KTM X-Bow

The KTM X-Bow is a n aggressively designed sports car geared towards being light as possible. In fact, many of the vehicle’s exterior and interior components are vacant to save weight. Well, that design may have brought out some setbacks for KTM because some customers were not too pleased with the layout. For the next generation X-Bow, the company will be adding both the doors and the windscreen previously left out of the look.

The announcement for these additions was made by Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM AG, in an interview with Top Gear. He said that the company is currently trying to find a solution for this new layout because adding a windscreen to the car creates lots of homologation compliance issues. In order to offer the windscreen, the company also needs a heating system to de-mist it, doors to allow easier access to the cockpit, windscreen wipers, and much more.

Initially, KTM wanted to add a bubble roof, but because this would have caused even more homologation problems, they have opted for a windscreen plus a temporary ’cruising home parasol’ that can be used up to speeds of 80 mph.

The next X-Bow will even try to assault the LMP2 category at Le Mans, most likely using a five-cylinder engine under the hood, and not the current four-cylinder engine.

Source: TopGear

In the last year, we have seen Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology make its way into various vehicles in an effort to increase fuel efficiency without reinventing the wheel. These technologies include advanced weight reduction, reduced friction, forced induction, and ultra-high compression ratings. All of these advancements combine to boost the fuel economy ratings of Mazda’s street cars.

Now Mazda is ready to take SKYACTIV to the next level, and introduce it into racing, via the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. The first engine that Mazda will offer to race teams is the 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D engine, which is an ultra-high-efficiency diesel engine. Now, before you start wondering how Mazda expects this engine to be competitive in the Grand-Am series, keep in mind that this engine will only be raced in the GX class, which is a class dedicated to alternative fuels and highly fuel efficient vehicles.

The SKYACTIV-D that is currently being developed will boast a 14-to-1 compression ratio, a two-stage turbocharger and a 5,200 rpm redline. In comparison to the current Mazda 2 Mazda 2 .2-liter diesel engine, the SKYACTIV-D is 10 percent lighter, has 20 percent less internal friction, and gets 20 percent better fuel economy.

The production numbers are not out yet for this racing engine, but we do know that the production SKYACTIV 2.2-liter diesel produces 173 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm. We will update you with the official base numbers once Mazda completes the dyno phase of its testing.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

The Toyota GT 86 is fast becoming a popular sports car choice in a number of worldwide markets, so much so that a country like Germany will receive a host of new accessories for the Japanese sports coupe.

Hey, if Italy can get the 86 First Edition , the Germans sure aren’t far behind.

Remember, the GT 86 is being prepared as a no-frills sports car, so if you want to add your own personal touches to it, you can do so at your own behest. In order to address people’s needs for creativity, Toyota Germany has released a number of new accessories that can be seen on the sports car.

Taking a look at the package, it appears pretty similar to the one being offered in Italy. The racing stripes on the hood and the roof are there, as are the decals on the sides. On the flip side, the German accessories for the GT 86 also include carbon fiber mirror caps, a choice of wheels - the OZ racing Ultraleggera alloys cost €529 ($657) - suspension tweaks, a new JBL sound system, and a touch-screen display with navigation.

Those last three accessories cost €189 ($234), €1,045 ($1,300), and €695 ($863), respectively.

If you needed proof that the GT 86 is becoming a hot ticket in multiple towns, you only need to look at two countries that are famous for their super cars - Italy and Germany - showing some serious love for the Japanese sports coupe to realize that the GT 86 is here to stay.


We often talk about how mergers and shared productions have really made the automotive world do a complete 180 in recent years. A great example of this is back in the late-1980s when Ferrari and Maserati were direct competitors and no one could have ever imagined that in 1999, Ferrari would have complete ownership of Maserati. Then, Maserati ended up being split between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in 2005.

What would be good for a barrel of laughs would be to travel to the mid-1980s and tell Enzo Ferrari that in 2012 his company would be manufacturing a pair of engines for Maserati . Well, all irony aside, that is exactly what’s happening, but also included in this €50 million ($62 million) production deal are Alfa Romeo and Lancia . All four of these models are under the only ownership umbrella that rivals Volkswagen AG, Fiat S.p.A., which is what allows them to share information without fear of losing sales to one another.

The first engine to hit the market will likely be a twin-turbo V-6 powerhouse that will crank out up to 450 ponies. The second engine to come from this development sharing will be a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) V-8 model that will likely crest the 500-horsepower mark. Alfa Romeo has had plans for a replacement for its sports sedan, the 159, but a proper engine hasn’t been developed for it yet. These engines would certainly fit the need and give it a whopping 200- to 300-horsepower increase over the 2011 159’s 3.2-liter V-6.

For Lancia, we really can’t see a model that these engines are suited for, as Lancia currently only has a rebadged Chrysler 200 in its lineup. Maserati can slap either of these engines in any of its cars and it would look right at home, as long as all “Ferrari Ferrari ” badges are stripped. Then again, the automotive world could pay back Maserati by forcing it to slap a “by Ferrari” tag on it like the 1989 through 1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati that we all know and “love.”

We’ll keep you updated on this as more information becomes available.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 4
McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren has continually stated that it will stop at nothing in order to turn the MP4-12C into the world’s greatest junior supercar, and as we know from past experiences from the legendary F1, perfection in McLaren’s eyes is just around the corner and development will not end until it is reached.

In line with this popular statement, or motto, McLaren has revealed that all early MP4-12C owners are now being offered a free power upgrade to help bump the supercar into what McLaren hopes will be its very own league. This bump will be well above all rival cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia and the recently launched Porsche 911/991 .

Power is said to be increased by 25HP, lifting the car’s overall output to 625 horsepower which is around 50HP more than the top-of-the-line 458 Italia, meaning Ferrari better be planning something special with its upcoming 458 Scuderia. It’s unclear if any torque gains have been achieved through the simple remapping of the engine’s computer system, but we this is the case.

In addition to this relatively large change in power, McLaren is also said to be offering remote passenger door opening to try and get around the MP4-12C’s notoriously difficult to open doors, while a programmable engine note and a few tweaks to the high-end Meridian sound system will also be conducted free of charge.

All of the aforementioned changes should be fitted to cars by October 2012, before McLaren finishes its upgrades on the new IRIS navigation system which we suspect will also be fitted to all 12C’s once the British marque has perfected every last component of the system.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 3
Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

Turbochargers were once only used to bump up horsepower and torque figures on tuned cars in the Japanese mountains, but as the years have rolled on they’ve become more popular to increase fuel-efficiency while not limiting power or taking away from the driving capabilities of a car.

In line with more manufacturers adopting turbo’s across North America , a report from Honeywell suggests that sales of brand new, turbo-powered cars in the U.S. are set to climb to approximately 3.2 million, up from 2.2 million in 2011.

This incredible increase is partially due to the fact that both Ford and General Motors have really begun developing and implementing turbo technology into its new models. In addition to these startling figures, it has also been revealed that in 2008, just 2% of all passenger vehicles produced in the U.S. came fitted with a turbo, but this rose to 9.5% in 2011 and is expected to soar to 23.5% in the next five years.

Vice President for the American branch of Honeywell, Tony Schultz stated "With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon. Turbocharging technology has been a fuel economy driver for decades in the United States for the on- and off-highway commercial vehicle market, as well as in global passenger vehicle markets like Europe," added Schultz.

Curiously however, no details have been revealed about sales of superchargers, either by themselves or fitted to cars, and perhaps this indicates that superchargers are on the way out.

And that makes us very sad.

Superchargers operate on pretty much the same premise as turbo’s, except for the fact they’re directly connected to the given engine through a belt or crankshaft, and as we all know, they provide the most glorious sound at full throttle. However, we do have that sinking feeling...

Source: Carscoop

The automotive world is full of trends and copycatting, so it is not uncommon to see drivetrain modifications start off small and explode as the years progress. If you think back, you will find one of the slower growing trends in automotive history was fuel injection, as it dates way back to 1925, then by 1940 it was first made electronic by Alfa Romeo engineers. In 1952, it became commercially available via Bosch, but only a few automakers made use of it. By the early-1990s, all but a handful of cars had electronic fuel injection of some sort.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of rate of growth, is the elimination of V-8 engines in favor of more practical turbocharged V-6 engines. The Ford F-150 has been on the front lines of this V-8 abandonment front and it all began with the elimination of all but two V-8 engines in 2011 – the 5.0-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8 were the only 8-cylinder engines available – and replacing them with a series of V-6 engines, including: a high-output non-turbo, a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter, a 302-horsepower 3.7-liter, and a 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

Since this successful introduction of forced-induction V-6 engines by Ford, seemingly every company is working on a hot turbocharged V-6 to replace their V-8 engines. The most notable is General Motor’s work on a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 for its upcoming Escalade redesign and the new Silverado and Sierra. There are also whispers of a twin-turbo V-6 for the Camaro . Dodge has fallen behind, but has turned its focus more toward making its existing V-8 powered trucks more economical, but will eventually have to switch to turbo power to keep pace.

So the question on everyone’s mind is how do these turbo charged V-6s stack up to the aging and fuel-hungry V-8s?

Click past the jump to read our comparison between the two options.

Posted on by Alexander +

There are many aftermarket tuning firms in the world that can take your everyday ride and turn it into a true work of art. For some, it’s a matter of paint and pizzazz; for others, it’s all about high-end parts and mechanical know-how. From the makers of the Ford Mustang Bosch Iridium Edition RTR that was given away at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show comes another piece of the automotive puzzle: the Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plug.

Bosch’s advertising spree for their new line of spark plugs uses a tool that most of us use on a daily basis: our gut. These hilarious commercials show a man who uses his gut to make his everyday decisions, such as knowing when two new beers are in order, knowing when to shut up when his wife is nagging at him to get out of the garage, and apparently, knowing when Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plugs need to be the chosen ones for his car.

"Bosch Iridium’s ultra-fine wire center electrode design improves ignitability, lowers voltage demand and delivers up to 4X longer service life versus standard copper core plugs. Laser welded iridium-platinum alloy inlay on the ground electrode resists cracking and potential loss for improved durability."

Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plugs can fit any American, European, and Asian engine.

When Nissan last updated us with their Project 370Z last month, they were still in the process of building the car’s powertrain, which, incidentally, was chosen by the fans.

Ever the quintessential power junkies, the fans wanted the car to have more power, so Nissan obliged by fitting in a Greddy twin turbo kit that increased the total output of the custom 370Z to an impressive 500 horsepower. To accommodate the increased output, Nissan also added a Greedy Ti-C catback exhaust system, a KW suspension kit, and a stop-tech big brake kit.

Moving on to Stage Two of Project 370Z, Nissan went about the interior design of the car, as well as putting it up on the dyno for some much-needed testing. Project 370Z mechanic Steve Lam can be seen on the video discussing the process involved in putting the 370Z up on the dyno, as well as the decisions made on the design of the sports car’s interior.

If you’ve been following this series, it’s a must-watch video. If you’re catching up, you can check out part one of the video series after the jump and work your way up to part two.


Collaborative efforts aren’t anything new in the car world. Companies have been borrowing bits and pieces from each other for years, but lately it seems as though full blown projects are being split between companies to develop almost identical vehicles. Take Subaru and Toyota , for example. They joined forces to develop the new GT 86 /BRZ sports car that carry identical parts with different maker flares. Now Fiat and Mazda are jumping on board the team builder wagon to produce a new small roadster based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.

The two companies will have to develop two differentiated, distinctly styled roadsters and each variant will be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand. Both models will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant with production for Alfa Romeo envisaged starting in 2015.

"Establishing technology and product development alliances is one of Mazda’s corporate objectives and this announcement with Fiat is an important first step in that direction. It is especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda and recognized as the best-selling roadster of all time." said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda’s Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO.

"This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand. By partnering with Mazda Mazda , we will be co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship." said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.


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