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It doesn’t wink at other cars - at least we don’t think so - nor does it scale up walls - this we’re pretty sure of - but if you’re interested in owning a Herbie-inspired Volkswagen Beetle , then this special edition Beetle is just the car for you.

It’s called the Beetle 53 Edition and if you’re familiar with the lovable Herbie Beetle, then you’ll recognize that the Beetle 53 Edition carries the exact same livery and graphics as that of Herbie itself.

Take a look and you’ll see the Beetle 53 Edition dressed in a Pearl White body color complete with Herbie’s distinctive red and blue stripes running down the length of the car. As an added bonus, the number "53" is prominently displayed on the hood of the car.

The Beetle 53 Edition is available on all engine trims of the Beetle except the Turbo model. If you’re looking to own a piece of the Beetle 53 Edition, you can choose to own the 1.2 TSI model for €22,090 ($28,500 at the current rates), the 1.6 TDI for €23,770 ($30,700 at the current rates), the 2.0 TDI for €26,150 ($33,800 at the current rates), and the 2.0 TDI 6-speed DSG for €27,980 ($36,100 at the current rates).

Wheels manufacturer Rotiform is bringing their own custom take on everyone’s favorite little hatchback, the Volkswagen Beetle , to the 2012 SEMA Auto Show .

For their program, Rotiform decided to integrate the Beetle’s heritage and add a more modern look to it. The company accomplished this by combining custom touches from the past through today, beginning with the installation of an all-new rear axle to accommodate the similarly new air suspension system from AirLift.

Once they accomplished this, Rotiform fitted the Beetle with its very own set of new - and very red - concave wheels, which were then wrapped in Nitto performance tires. Moving on from the suspension and wheels upgrades, the Beetle was also treated to a matte gray aluminum vinyl wrap courtesy of 3M and a retooled interior that saw plenty of the vehicle’s standard factory pieces replaced with parts from other available trims.

The last order of business for Rotiform was to shave the engine bay to give the Beetle a much smoother look. In the end, the aftermarket company accomplished what it set out to do: build a classic-looking Beetle that carries modern touches.

Mission accomplished, we should say.

Typically, when Jay Leno gets his hands on a car, it is all about horsepower and loud exhaust, but he does have his eco-friendly moments. This time around, Jay gets the best of both worlds, sans the loud exhaust, as Tesla stopped by to let him take the Model S on a drive. There is not an abundance of Model S driving footage available and certainly none to the degree that Jay Leno does it.

Jay gets us a good look inside the car and we even gets a nice idea of how the Model S’ driver information center – you know, the massive, iPad-looking deal in the center of the dash – works, and we are certainly impressed. It literally controls everything, taking the old days of buttons aplenty strewn up and down the center stack to a well-placed screen that offers up the same controls.

Then the part that we want to see: the drive. Jay takes it pretty easy on the main roads, as he focuses more on its economy and regenerative systems. He does manage to get into the Model S a little bit, but only in small doses. Well, at the end, we get exactly what we have all wanted to see: a Tesla Model S doing a burn out.

Good call, Jay. We bet that poor PR guy had to beg Mr. Musk to allow that one. Then again, that burn out likely sold a lot of `tweeners on this EV performance sedan.

The Volkswagen Beetle is one of those cars that people either love or hate. It has a style that not everyone can really grasp in a positive way, which is evident in the lack of tuning packages developed for the economy car during its history. That being said, the new Beetle is attempting to gain momentum with a slew of new tuning packages scouring the show floor of the 2012 SEMA Show. One of these packages comes from VWvortex and is being dubbed the ultimate Super Beetle.

At first glance, the suped up Beetle doesn’t appear to have any super powers. It features a matte Azure Blue Metallic vinyl film and sits on a new set of 19" fifteen52 three-piece Split Formula TR wheels. The interior was only provided with new Recaro Sportster CS seats, and that’s it.

Under the hood is when the super powers start to show themselves. The SuperBeetle was co-developed with performance specialist APR and is based on a 2013 Beetle Turbo. The car’s standard 2.0 TSI engine has been updated with an APR Stage IV GTX Turbocharger System that boosts the output from 200 to more than 500 HP! This setup is combined with a high-performance intercooler system, as well as a host of Stage IV components including, an ECU upgrade and a new APR RSC Turboback Exhaust System. In order to improve the car’s traction, the tuner also installed a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system from the limited-edition Golf R and an upgraded Haldex all-wheel drive race controller.

That kind of power deserves a more grounded look, so the car was lowered with an H&R Adjustable Coilover Suspension combined with Volkswagen Racing StreetSport+ Camber Plates and H&R Sport Sway Bars.

Anyone sitting next to this car at a stoplight is sure to think this is just another yuppy Beetle, but as soon as the green hits, all systems are go! Unfortunately, this will not be experienced by anyone as the cars displayed in SEMA will only be trashed after the event. Anyone looking to get in on this action better give the folks at APR-VWvortex a holler. Maybe they’ll work something out...

Hyundai i30 (Elantra Touring)

Not only have Hyundai and Kia been busy making their lineups more complete, reliable, and desirable, but they have also been working on introducing higher-performance models, like the Genesis Coupe and Genesis R-Spec . One model that some of us have been wondering if Hyundai would ever give the high-performance treatment to is the Elantra GT , which is known as the i30 in other markets.

Well, the Elantra GT may not be getting the high-performance nod, but it looks as if it is in the cards for its i30 brother, as reports are emerging that Hyundai will release a high-performance i30 dubbed the RS i30 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. We anticipate this new model to feature the same 200-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine found in the Veloster Turbo and compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and Renault Megane RS .

From the reports, we expect to see a slightly lower body, more aggressive styling, sport seats with contrasting stitching, and sporty accents throughout the interior. We will also likely see improvements to the braking system, like larger diameter rotors, to help bring this more powerful 5-door hatch to a stop.

Given the slow-for-a-performance-hatchback 6.9-second sprint to 60 mph that the Veloster Turbo gives us, don’t expect the significantly heavier i30 to be anything more than a 7.3- to 7.5-second car to 60 mph. The only way the RS i30 will impress us is if Hyundai completely revises the 1.6-liter engine to pump out more ponies and dip its 0-to-60 number to under 7 seconds, but we don’t see that happening.

There is no information on whether the i30 will actually make it to production nor if its drivetrain will make it into the Elantra GT. We’ll keep an eye out for more leaks to come down the wire.

Source: Autoblog.it
Fisker Atlantic

A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.

Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.

The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker , GM , and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.

All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.

We’ll keep you updated.

Click past the jump to read A123’s press release.

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Volkswagen Polo R-Line

Volkswagen’s compact hatchback positioned right between the Up! and the Golf – the Polo – is all set to put on its big-boy pants. That’s right; VW is giving the Polo the “R” treatment. No, we’re not talking about the “R-Line ” treatment, which is little more than some aesthetic changes. We mean the balls-to-the-wall high-performance “R” treatment, much like what the Golf is getting .

The details on this model are not yet complete, but we do know that it will borrow the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine from the outgoing GTI mk6. VW will then punch up its horsepower to the 225-pony range and ship it to the front wheels – no AWD option. According to reports, the Polo R will bolt to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds and give it a 150 mph top speed, making it extremely quick for its class. Sure, the Focus ST will smoke it, but it’s a step under the Focus’ class.

Much like the Polo R-Line, the Polo R will feature some extra ground effect and larger rims to give it a sportier look, but the complete details on the exterior are not yet known. We also expect the suspension to be lowered and the brake system to be upgraded, giving it better handling and braking to better work with the 45 extra ponies.

According to reports, the Polo R is all set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013. Rumors are also afloat that the Polo R will hit European showrooms in mid 2013, but there is no confirmation yet. Of course, the Polo will not be offered in the U.S.

We expect to see the Polo R to go head-to-head against the Renault Clio RS and the Peugeot GTi, which each feature a 197-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine. Depending on the weight difference, this could give the Polo R a significant advantage.

We’ll add more information to this review as VW releases more details.

Image Note: All images are of the Polo R-Line

For the vast majority of the automobile’s life, horsepower has reigned supreme as the bragging right of most car owners. Torque snuck its way in through the 1980s and is now a little more relevant, but it was all about that almighty HP for the most part. Well, as the emission standards and fuel crisis of just about every decade emasculated muscle cars more and more, a new spec started rearing its wallet-friendly little head: miles per gallon.

With the price per gallon of gas tickling Abraham Lincoln’s feet in some areas of the U.S., mpg is becoming more and more important. In fact, just months ago, Consumer Reports did a survey that showed 37 percent of car buyers actually make their car-buying decision based on the mpg of a car. The next highest percentage chose build quality, and that tallied up to only 17 percent of the people polled.

It has gotten to the point now that even Lamborghini has introduced a start-stop feature on the 2013 Aventador , Ferrari and Porsche are building hybrids, and there is an electric-powered sedan hat hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds while getting 90 mpg equivalent. This leads us to the inevitable, the sports car world is the next thing that has to change or die off altogether, as the supercar world is already rolling toward the mpg side.

There is mention of the Mustang and Camaro both switching over to turbocharged V-6 or, god forbid, 4-cylinder engines . If the pony cars can do it, chances are the sports cars of the world – Nissan 370Z, Porsche Boxster, Mazda Miata, etc. – are all going to have to push their mpg to extremes to remain competitive. This could ultimately increase sticker prices significantly and might result in buyers having no problems saying, “yeah, my car only has 100 horsepower and looks like a shoe, but it gets 75 mpg!”

The UK has been dealing with terrible gas prices for ages and you can see it in its cars. For example, the Nissan 370Z Nissan 370Z costs $33,120 in the U.S. and gets 26 mpg highway. In the UK, however, Nissan Nissan had to tweak it to meet the EU’s more stringent fuel economy regulations, raising its highway mpg to 36, but bringing the 370Z’s cost to an astronomical £29,975 ($48,202 at the current exchange rates). Would you pay nearly $50K for a base 370Z? I know I wouldn’t.

This may very well result in the death of the sports car, what a scary thought. Ultimately it is a change-inexpensively-or-die situation for the sports car as we know it in next 10 years…

In the world of supercars , carbon-fiber body panels are old news and now carbon-fiber tubs are the new rage. Within the average car-buyer’s reach, carbon fiber anything is just about out the window. Well, Ford may have something to say about that in the future.

Currently Ford is working with the folks at Hightech.NRW to develop a carbon-fiber body panel development process that could revolutionize the construction of every car on the road. See, the reason carbon fiber is so expensive is because it takes many labor hours to build even the smallest piece. What Ford is working on is developing pieces in just a fraction of the time it currently takes, starting with constructing a Ford Focus hood in less than 15 minutes.

The main goal of this project is to ultimately reduce the weight of these panels by about 50 percent in an effort to lift fuel economy. A cool side effect of this process could possibly be the use of these panels on more high-performance Ford products, like the Mustang GT and the Ford Focus ST .

Ford’s plan is to lower the weight of its cars by upwards of 340 kg (749 lbs) by 2020. This would take a car like the Focus ST and suddenly drop its curb weight to as low as 2,300 lbs. That would jump it to an impressive-for-its-class 9.12 pound per horsepower. To boot, it would sharply increase its already stout 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

Now, are there really 700-plus pounds of weight to be dropped from the Focus ST’s body? Likely not, but that gives us an idea of the benefits that this fuel-saving measure can have on us performance junkies. Ford does not plan on these panels being ready for use any time in the near future, but eventually they should be a part of Ford’s complete lineup. With the automotive world being a copycat-heavy realm, all of the other manufacturers will likely follow suit quickly.

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

The Renault Clio RS sees regular use as Nürburgring Taxis, and German tuner, Cam Shaft, felt it was time to release an upgrade kit inspired by these Nürburgring cabs. Now, when we say "inspired by," we use the term rather loosely, as this modification is rather extreme, especially the aesthetics.

The exterior is wrapped in a Graphite Metallic wrap, so the color matches that found on the `Ring taxis, but you get a smattering of lime green on the mirrors, one on the hood (which also boasts a skull decal), and one on the driver side rear quarter panel. The windshield features a rather ominous “Move Right>>” decal that is inverted so you can read it in your rearview mirror. You also get a set of powder-coated lime-green 17-inch rims wrapped in 215/45R17 Kumho rubber.

On the inside, you get a rear-seat and upholstery delete and a lime-green roll bar installed. You also get a set of Recaro racing seats with “Renault Sport” stitched into the headrests. Also added into the interior are several interesting “sticker-bomb” wraps around the center stack bezel, center vent bezel, armrests, and the door sail panels.

If the wrap, interior, and “International Motherf*cker Crew” decals are not extreme enough, what’s under the hood and under this hot hatch’s skin just may seal the deal. On the corners are H&R coilover units to help this hatchback handle the `Ring’s curves and a set of larger brakes borrowed from an Mk2 Renault Megane R26R. Under the hood is the 2.0-liter engine that any Renault Clio RS owner would recognize with a pair of changes, a reprogrammed ECU and a K&N sports air filter. These combine to boost the power output of the 2.0-liter 4-banger from 197 horsepower to 222 horsepower.

There’s no official pricing available on the tune just yet, but we’ll get you a price once Cam Shaft releases it.


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