Europe

Europe

With all due respect to all the other automakers who have released their own holiday videos, Ford of Europe’s holiday video may have just trumped them all.

Taking a page from the book, Parody 101, Ford of Europe decided to give us the gift that is Snowkhana 1, featuring no less than master drifter and shots stuffer, Mental Block. The stop-motion video was created with a toy version of Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta, one that apparently produces 2 bhp, as in "bored hand power".

The video itself is the epitome of hilarity, complete with cameo appearances from Santa Claus, a Stromtrooper, Luke Skywalker, and the Abominable Snowman. The effects, the sounds, and the drifts are all there, which makes us wonder if we’d been fans of the wrong "drift-khana" series.

Here’s a message to Block and his Gymkhana: this is the peg you should have for your Gymkhana series moving forward.

Happy holidays from Ford Europe!

Some people tend to take little things like moving their fingers or holding hands with somebody else for granted, but what happens when those “little things” are taken away? What happens when you can no longer hold something with your hands because you no longer have them?

Some people may head into depression, but some people, like Bartek Ostalowski, continue living their lives like nothing ever happened.

Back in 2006, Ostalowski lost his arms in an accident, but didn’t stop him from continuing his dream to become a professional racecar driver. Not only did he become one, but he also became pretty good at it, having competed in the Polish Championship Rally Raceway Cross and the Polish Cup, not to mention, his apparent skill as a drifter.

In this video, you’ll see how Ostalowski manages to drift his Nissan Skyline GT-T R34 using his two feet and his shoulder. For people who can’t even drift with all their limbs intact, what Ostalowski is doing is amazing, dumbfounding, and downright inspirational.

Way to go, Bartek!

The past year has seen the likes of Ferrari , McLaren , and even Aston Martin launch their own customization programs. What initially seemed like something reserved for high-end automakers apparently isn’t the case because Nissan has jumped into the picture with its own personalization program for the Juke crossover.

We’re under no illusion when we say that personalized Ferraris and McLarens are in a different league than a personalized Juke. We get that. But we’ve got really high hopes for the funky Nissan crossover, especially because we already saw what Nissan is capable of (the Juke R , anyone?) when it goes creative with the Juke. Even more exciting is the phrasing the automaker used in their press release, seemingly suggesting that "more components [are] set to be added as [the] program expands."

For now, the personalization program for the Juke includes three design packages — Style, Premium, and Exclusive — with each offering a host of unique features for customers. In addition, Nissan is offering five different color schemes, including Force Red, Glossy White, Orange Racing, Piano Black or Silver Grey, plus a host of new components, including side sills, a trunk handle, a roof spoiler, mirror caps, fog lamp rings, and yes, even some alloy wheels.

The personalization program is only limited to Europe, for now. That might be a bummer for U.S. customers, but don’t fret, as the personalization program could head across the pond eventually. At least that’s our hunch.

UPDATE 01/02/13: Nissan will be bringing the first samples of the Juke’s new Personalization Program at the Tokyo Auto Salon. That’s something to look out for if you’re interested in getting your own customized Juke crossover.

Read Nissan’s press release after the jump

Source: Nissan

Praga Racing UK announced the launch of their new R1 race car - a model that will race competitions from British GT to the Daytona 24hrs. The car measures 4170 mm (164.17 inches) in length, 1800 mm (70.86 inches) in width and only 995 mm (39.17 inches) in height and weighs only 590 kilos (1,300 pounds).

Under the hood, the company placed a Renault Sport Technologies-developed 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 210 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. With the car weighing only 1,300 pounds, it has a pretty hefty power-to-weight ratio of 6.19 pounds per horsepower.

What’s more is that the R1 is a two-seat model homologated for normal roads, so customers interested can transform it into an everyday ride. The R1 features a carbon monocoque with integrated crumple zones, six-point belts, six-speed sequential gearbox Hewland JFR with pneumatic control and an optional self-locking differential.

The new Praga R1 is priced at €98,000, which is about $128,800 at the current exchange rates. The model will be built in limited edition.

UPDATE 01/12/13: The Praga R1 was front and center at the Automobile International 2013, showcasing it’s complete profile much to the delight of the gathered crowd. We can’t tell you how excited we are to see this baby out on the streets!

Hit the jump for a Praga R1 test drive.

Source: autoforum.cz

We’ll be the first to admit that we have some sort of auto-crush on the Toyota GT86 . Actually, it extends to the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S too but since we’re talking about the GT86 here, we’re going to give extra love to Toyota’s spanking-new sports coupe.

So, when an aftermarket company releases a program for the GT86, our senses become heightened because if there’s one thing this world can’t have enough of — apart from food and water, that is — it’s tuning programs for the GT86.

Swiss tuning firm, Barracuda Racing Wheels, decided to make our day by revealing its own take on the GT86. Despite not carrying any performance mods, BRW’s aerodynamic program for the GT86 is downright stunning. The huge rear wing that was installed on the GT86 will definitely catch your attention. But not just an eye-catcher, as it’s got some serious purpose too, improving the car’s overall handling by adding some needed downforce to keep the sports coupe from flying off the road.

The real stars of BRW’s program are the bespoke wheels bolted onto the GT86. These 20-inch alloy rims can be had in a variety of color finishes, including matte black; polished, hi-gloss-black; real-chrome; white-polished; and gun-metal. If those colors aren’t enough, Barracuda can also offer them in a variety of candy tones.

Sure, this program for the GT86 doesn’t have any performance mods. But rest assured, if you’re in the market for aero improvements and new rims for your new Toyota sports coupe, Barracuda Racing Wheels is your hook-up.

During Volkswagen’s mad grab for power in the European auto industry, it managed to snag up little-known Czech car manufacturer, Skoda . With this acquisition, VW Group decided that revving a legendary name in the automaker’s past was a great way to help increase the brand’s popularity. This brought about the revival of the Skoda Superb – a model that dates back to the 1930s – as a sedan and a station wagon (estate).

The rebadged version of the Passat has since been one of the better-selling Skoda models, as it features VW quality and style with not-so-VW prices. Its price point is made more evident by the fact that the base-level Superb Estate comes in at £1,015 ($1,624 at the current exchange rates) less than the base Passat Estate.

One area that the Skoda seemed to fall short was the fact that it was not available in a more rugged version to satisfy those buyers that like to use its four-wheel-drive system to its fullest extent. That has since changed, as Skoda has just announced that it is releasing an all-new version of the Superb, dubbed he Superb Outdoor, which features a standard four-wheel-drive system and a more rugged exterior appearance.

Click past the jump to read all about the 2013 Skoda Superb Outdoor.

Posted on by Aravind 17

Want to soak up the sunshine while catching baddies on the run? Well, that’s a privilege that the Dutch Police might soon enjoy.

What we have got here is a 4.2L Ferrari V8 powered Maserati GranCabrio wrapped in a local Dutch Police livery that is bound to be one of the few show-stoppers at the annual 112 open day. This is an event organized by the local Police Force, Fire Department, and the Municipal Health near The Hague, Netherlands.

The idea was brought to the table by Maserati dealers, Louwman Exclusive in collaboration with the local Netherlands Police Force. It’s basically a white 2012 Maserati GranCabrio with the Police livery and black rims that give the whole car a bad-cop stance. But what’s a police car without the eye-piercing emergency lights on the roof? Maybe they thought the livery and the V8 noise alone could intimidate the law breakers on the streets.

Unfortunately, this is just a one-off for now. Don’t think that the Dutch Police have exchanged their trusty fleet of VW Golfs for high-maintenance and fuel- chugging Maseratis!

Modifying sports cars for police isn’t something new in the automobile industry. In Dubai, a small fleet of Nissan Nissan GT-Rs wrapped in local Police livery are currently on active duty and dispatched in the event of an high-speed pursuit. Then, there’s the famous 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4 Polizia , that is enough to intimidate even Al Capone, when sighted in the rear view mirror.

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

Just days ago we let you know that Mini pretty much used FIA homologation rules to its advantage by finishing up the 2012 season and calling it quits, now another manufacturer is following suit. There have been rumors floating around since 2011 that Ford Europe was going to pull out of the World Rally Championship and that will become a reality following the 2012 season, as Ford Europe announced that it will pull its sponsorship following the 2012 season.

Unlike Mini , Ford has been a long-running sponsor, lasting 16 seasons. With that long of a history, it is more obvious that Ford’s pull out is mostly due to the crumbling automotive market in Europe. Despite pulling its sponsorship, Ford will provide M-Sport, its WRC partner since 1997, with the Fiesta R5 rally car , along with engineering and vehicle support following its departure. In addition, Ford Europe will still offer the Fiesta R2 rally car for grass-roots national and regional driver programs.

It looks like we are in for a drastically changed lineup for the 2013 WRC season, and we’re not even through the 2012 season yet. Hopefully no more manufacturers pull out this year.

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

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…


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