Mazda RX-8 Spirit R

If you have ever enjoyed a sweet horror flick, especially vampire, zombie, or werewolf ones, you are likely familiar with fact that the villain just never seems to die. He always comes back for a little bit more. One of my all-time favorites, Zombieland, actually teases about this by the “double-tap,” which is rule No. 2 in surviving a zombie outbreak.

Well, it appears that Mazda didn’t get that memo with the RX-8 zombie. Just like a bad case of zombification, this thing just keeps coming back for more. Mazda recently announced that it has extended the final production of the “Spirit R ” version of the RX-8 – thankfully only available in Japan – for an additional 1,000 units.

In addition to its 232 horsepower that are only attainable at engine speeds not many are comfortable with and its lackluster 159 pound-feet of torque, you also get larger brakes with red painted calipers, piano-black transmission tunnel trim, Recaro Sprint R seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a revised traction control system.

It’s really curious to see just how much mud Mazda can drag the “RX” nameplate through before it finally takes it behind the barn and puts it out of its misery. We still have a lot of love for the RX lineup as a whole, but the RX-8 really tested the patience of RX lovers. Here’s to hoping this is the one and only time that Mazda decides to extend the life of this beautiful ride turned zombie and focuses more on releasing a new RX that will pay the proper respect to the name.

According to the press release, which you can read after the jump, this charade thankfully comes to an end in July of this year.

Click past the jump to read Mazda’s press release.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 3

Iran may be ravaged by war and terrorism at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped Iranians from literally going mad over their automobiles. The small country in the Middle East is actually home to the 13th largest automotive industry in the world and as a result it only seems logical that car manufacturers would flood there in their droves in order to capture some of the market. Unfortunately however, that trend is reversing.

In recent months, Hyundai and Toyota both officially abandoned the country cancelling all sales, and the latest brand to exit Iran is none other than Porsche . The German brand was recently rated by consumers in the U.S. as the best German manufacturer for servicing, yet the ever-expanding brand has decided it’s in its best interests to also exit the country.

Don’t for one second however start to question why Porsche ever entered the Iranian market in the first place, as Iran contributes significantly to Porsche ’s overall earnings. In fact, sales in its one dealership in Tehran reached $17 million in just the past few months, so this is definitely a big decision on Porsche’s part.

Even though Iran is facing much unrest, we are a little bit confused as to why Porsche has decided to leave so dramatically losing potentially hundreds of millions of dollars from possible future sales so hopefully, Porsche will release a press release soon with further information.

Source: Fox News

There are a lot of new car scams in the world and most of them are initiated by the new car dealer, not the buyer. A group of buyers flipped the script on several Los Angeles dealerships, by using fake identities to purchase 20 cars and were shipping them to Hong Kong and Vietnam to sell them for two to three times their U.S. value.

It was a laundry list of luxury vehicles, such as a $280,000 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia , an Audi Quattro , 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 , along with several Mercedes , Lexus , Infiniti , and BMW SUVs among others. For some reason, the thieves even threw in a Toyota Tundra .

The one that got these fraudsters busted was the Ferrari 458 Italia , as Ferrari fitted the supercar with a GPS system as standard, which Ferrari used to track the car once they found out they were defrauded. This led U.S. Customs and the California highway Patrol to conduct a full investigation and find the cars on a ship that had already pulled away from the port.

Needless to say, that ship was forced to come back and all but four of the cars were recovered. The four non-recovered cars are due to be shipped back by Vietnamese Customs.

According to the report, had the fraudsters not gone after the Ferrari, chances are they would have gotten away with this scam and made a ton of money in the process. The total amount of the vehicles seized by U.S. customs is estimated at $1.5 million, which would have pulled in around $3 million in Hong Kong and Vietnam.

We are still trying to figure out what in the world a Toyota Tundra was doing in the mix with all of these high-end luxury cars. We also wonder which thief drew the short straw and was stuck going to the Toyota dealership to pick this thing up?

In the 2012 model year, the Toyota Camry received a redesign, well actually two redesigns. In the U.S. we saw a Camry that featured a rather un-Camry-like wedge front end. In Thailand, however, they received a more conventional looking Camry. Recently, a brochure leaked about the new Thailand-style Camry making its way to Malaysia in June 2012.

Does this necessarily mean that the newly redesigned Camry will be available in the U.S.? Not really, but it is a good sign that it may eventually make its way here. This new Camry will likely be a test mule to see how it performs in smaller markets. If it does well, it will likely make its way around the world.

This “new“ Camry features a stouter looking front end that nearly resembles the front end of some Lexus cars. Not a big surprise, considering Toyota and Lexus are under the same Toyota Toyota Motor Company umbrella and have shared components regularly. Gone is the two bar grille, space ship-like headlights, and wedge style front end. In their place is a five-bar chrome grille, flatter front end, and more classy-looking headlights, making this look much more conventional and nearly like a luxury car.

For now, we can only hope that a new Camry comes to the U.S., but there is no anticipated replacement in the U.S. market. Then again, Toyota does have its unnamed sedan that it’s unveiling at the 2012 New York Auto Show, which we all assume is an updated Avalon , but it could be a Camry. Plus, you just never know what kinds of tricks these car companies have up their sleeves at these car shows.

You know how BMW M3 always seem to have ways to make special edition models? Apparently, these guys don’t get tired of it as they’ve added another one to their ever-growing list: a M3 Coupe Competition Edition developed especially for the Asian market. The car has been built as a commemoration of the BMW M’s 40th anniversary and is now available in Singapre.

Just like the M3 "Frozen Silver" Competition Edition that was announced last year for the US market, the M3 Coupe Competition Edition will also be painted in Frozen Silver Metallic combined with a dark chrome trim for the kidney grills, BMW M side gills and new exhaust tips. The car’s suspension set-up was also tweaked and lowered by 10mm while receiving the same 19" heels found on the BMW M3 GTS .

For the interior, BMW added black extended Novillo leather with palladium silver accents and stitching on front seats, headrests, door trim panels and handles, center console, and center armrest, along with an Alcantara-covered steering wheel and a BMW M3 Chequered Flag logo inlay featured on the door sills.

Top Gear’s popularity is growing at such a meteoric rate that we wouldn’t be surprised if there was an Antarctica version in the near future. For now, the Top Gear expansion is growing to South Korea, becoming the second Asian nation - next to China - to spawn a version of the hit British show.

According to Final Gear, a South Korean version of Top Gear is currently being prepared using the same formula as all other versions of Top Gear. While we probably have no clue as to who the prospective hosts are - reports are saying that the troika will comprise of professional race driver Kim Jin-Pyo, auto enthusiast Kim Kap-Soo, and local celebrity Yeon Jung-Hoon - these guys are probably big enough in their homeland to be tapped as the three hosts that will be joining the Korean Stig on the show. Oh yea, there’s going to be a Stig there too!

While details are still being withheld, there’s word that the series is already in production for a 13-episode first season set to debut this August on a channel called XTM, which shouldn’t be confused with the creators of the X-Bow. Rumored segments including racing against a bullet train - that’s fresh! - and a cross-country road trip.

Maybe they should have a race to the Korean border to see who gets in trouble first. Just a suggestion.

Source: Final Gear

The Shanghai Auto Show came and went with one star-studded concept slipping under the radar from a little unknown company called Icona Shanghai. Icona is a design studio based out of China and focusing on projects in China and Asia. Their latest project comes to us in the form of the Icona Fuselage Icona Fuselage , a concept that incorporates a design that is on a completely different level than many concepts we’ve seen in awhile.

The Fuselage owns the futuristic look with a unique body structure that starts with that sleek and defined front end. The front of the car paves the way for the rest of the body’s look which takes the shape of rippling waves going down the side and ending at a slightly upturned back end. The look is completed with polycarbonate alloy wheels and those sick gullwing doors.

The interior of the Fuselage seat four and gets a clean look with controls that remind us of the buttons found on a massage chair. No specific details were given on the goodies provided, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words and clearly, this interior is speaking volumes.

Considering this is a car for the future, no engine could possibly fill the space that only a motor can provide. The electric motors are placed next to the wheels and are powered by a 79 lb battery pack placed in the center. The Fuselage is said to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and will hit a top speed of 124 mph.

Source: AutoMotto

Looks like Kia is finally ready to jump into the electric car bandwagon. The Korean automaker used their hometown auto show, the Seoul Motor Show, to release their new electric car concept, the Naimo.

The name is taken from the Korean word ‘Ne-mo’, which translates to ‘square shape’ – not the fish, mind you. Just as the name suggests, the car’s overall look is square enough to look like a box of shoes. Having no B-pillars certainly helps in the boxy design.

Despite the number of ‘box’ connotations, the Naimo’s overall design was actually influenced by Asian Celadon-style pottery, which is meant to exude a design with contrasting shapes and designs. The Naimo’s asymmetrical design is evident in a number of features found in the concept, including the quirky, see-through roof, the lack of a distinguishable front bumper, the square-shaped LED headlamps, and the high-rising rear profile of the concept. Inside, Kia went a little more toned down – and nationalistic - with the design while still sticking with fancy features that are staples in concepts. The Korean automaker made use of Korean oak on the car’s floor and interior door panels and Korean “Han-ji” paper on the headlining.

The Naimo makes use of a Permanent Magnet Synchornous Motor, an electric motor that provides 109 horsepower and about 206 lb/ft f torque. These figures translate to a top speed of 93 mph and lithium-ion battery pack range of 124 miles on one charge. The car also has a quick re-charge system that should reach 80 percent capacity in a little less than half an hour.

Seeing as this is effectively their hometown auto show, Hyundai was out in full force at the Seoul Motor Show with a host of new offerings. One concept that the Korean automaker brought was the Blue2 Sedan Concept, a car that the Korean automaker is pegging as the next generation FCEV sedan.

The car bears the codename HND-6 and is being touted as Hyundai’s very first Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle that’s powered by hydrogen and is capable of delivering 90kW – around 120 horsepower – and estimated fuel economy figures reaching an impressive 82 miles per gallon.

Aesthetically speaking, the Blue2 Sedan Concept has an exterior whose design language is being described as ‘Intersected Flow’ with other external features complementing the contoured form of the car, including the LCD screen panels on both the front and back, side cameras in place of the standard side mirrors, a roof camera, and automatic opening doors.

Inside, the Blue2 Concept features an asymmetrical dashboard, wider seats to make room for a spacious interior cabin, and a couple of out-of-this-world features, including what the company is describing as a Transparent Organic Light Emitting Diode (TOLED) monitor that has been officially christened the Gorilla Glass. This monitor appears more accurate and vivid compared to standard LED screens. Another unique feature is the Motion Sensor Moustick, a haptic wheel and motion sensor that respond to the driver’s touch and hand movements, giving drivers a new experience.

Source: Hyundai

Renault ’s presence in the South Korean market is dwarfed compared to the two automotive giants of the country, Kia and Hyundai . But despite that fact, the French automaker’s local brand in South Korea, Samsung Motors, is prepared to pick up a fight with the Big Two with the reveal of their new SM7 Concept.

The next generation sedan takes from the current SM7, which was built using Nissan ’s J31 platform, the very same platform that underpins the Nissan Maxima in the US. While nothing official has been announced, its possible that the new SM7 will be powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine with 182 horsepower and 171 lb/ft of torque and a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 251 horsepower and 247 lb/ft of torque.

A week after releasing design sketches of the car, Renault-Samsung has finally bared the first batch of official photos of the car. While the car is still tagged as a design study, the SM7 is about the closest thing as a preview to the car’s production model. Among the noticeable features of the concept include a more aggressive and highly-prominent grille, an LED lighting set-up on the front, and an overall shape highlighted by swooping lines and soft contours.

The car looks a lot bigger, far sportier and more aggressive than today’s market model. The grille on the front fascia dominates the car’s profile and the swooping lines and contoured angles seem to suggest that the new SM7 will be a car that could give the Hyundai Sonata a serious run for its money.

Whether it actually does is still easier said than done, but if Renault-Samsung sticks to their guns, Hyundai and Kia might very well need to look into their rear-view mirrors for the new SM7 Concept.

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