Europe

Europe

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…

Lamborghini Urus

With its acquisition spending-spree apparently over – for now – Volkswagen has turned its attention to developing its current models, which are plentiful. Two models, however, are likely receiving the wrong kind of attention, as Reuters is reporting the Lamborghini and Bentley may see their respective SUVs – the Urus and EXP 9 F Concept – delayed.

As we all know, the European market has been ravaged by the crash of the global economy and VW has been one of the handful of European automakers to succeed in these dark days. This delaying of the two limited-production SUVs would help VW stretch its funds farther with its more productive lineups, like itself, Audi, and Seat . VW is planning a spending review and the final answer will not come until November 23rd, so we’re stuck waiting on an answer for at least a month.

Also up for a potential delay is the upcoming Bugatti sedan, which, just like the Bentley and Lamborghini SUVs, will only be produced and sold in very small numbers. We’ll keep an eye on this situation, as VW inches toward cutting its manufacturing by a reported 300,000 units.

We’ll bring you more information as it comes across the wire.

Source: Reuters

Seemingly, everyone is getting into the world of limited supercar building lately. The latest supercar to hit the market hails from Belgium and is the brainchild of former racecar driver, Raphael van der Straten, and it is a wild one to say the least.

The all-new VDS GT 001 sits atop the basic platform of the Gillet Vertigo supercar, which gives it some rather impressive numbers and an oddly stout appearance. To boot, the production of this Belgium supercar is extremely limited, so you are likely in for a ride that will be worth some significant money in the near future.

So how well does this oddly proportioned supercar hold up in the ever-growing supercar realm and will its strange appearance be accepted in the real world?

To find out the answers to the questions and a lot more about the GT 001, click past the jump to read our full review.

Just about 10 years ago, VW introduced an all-new SUV bearing a name that only those with the most talented tongues could pronounce: the Touareg . It was such an odd name that VW actually made a commercial poking fun at the fact that no one really knew how to pronounce it, much like the Merkur tongue twister in the mid-1980s.

In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, VW is releasing a special edition Touareg Edition X. On the outside, you have a standard Touareg – one of the more stylish crossover SUVs available – but it features a set of 19-inch “Moab” wheels, silver anodized roof rails, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime runners, and smoked taillights. You also get the “Chrome & Style” package, tinted windows, and “Touareg X” logos.

On the inside, your hind side is supported by luxurious Amber Brown Nappa leather in a braid embossed style. You get real ebony inlays on the door panels and on the instrument panel to add a little elegance to the package. The front door sills boast illuminated “Touareg X” decals and you also get color-coordinated stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear shifter, and the floor mats.

You have a wide array of engine and drivetrain options in the Touareg Edition X, as there are five different options available, including a hybrid drivetrain. The only option that VW offers us any details on it the 150 kW (201-horsepower) 3.0-liter V-6 TDI engine. This model with the 8-speed automatic transmission runs €61,025 ($79,363 at the current exchange rates). That’s a ridiculous €10,500 premium over the base SE model for minimal additions. According to the press release, the Touareg Edition X is available now, but there is no mention of its U.S. availability.

Once VW releases all of the official standard features we can better assess it. For now, it just seems way overpriced.

When news broke out that Gray Design was branching out to fine world of automotive awesomeness, very few foresaw that these guys were far more serious than many people thought.

We’ve already touched on two of the models - the Gold Rush and the Magnate - so naturally, the third and final piece to this puzzle is arguably the most radical of the bunch.

Called the Sigma, this car certainly looks the part of what you’d expect from a supercar. It’s body is built from carbon fiber, which is saying a lot considering that the material being used isn’t exactly the kind that you can find anywhere. Zeus Twelve emphasized building the a lightweight machine for the Sigma and the car’s overall design certainly speaks to its supercar appeal.

Here’s where it takes a turn to the ironic: despite looking the part of a supercar, the Sigma is the least powerful of the bunch, featuring "only" a 2.0-liter Caterham Duratec Straight 4 engine that produces 335 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, good enough to hit a top speed of 180 mph.

We don’t know the reasoning behind this, but it’s something that’s worth keeping tabs on.

Ferrari F12 berlinetta

In 2011, Ferrari broke its own profit record by selling 7,195 cars and raking in a cool €321 million. That was all well and good, but one year wasn’t enough. The low-sales-high-profit automaker was already up 7 percent in total unit sales and 13 percent in profit at the halfway point of the year and the trend hasn’t slowed.

The increases put Ferrari on pace to sell 7,328 units and pull in €304 million in profit, so it has a little work to do in the profit side of the ledger, as 2011 had a strong finish. With the F12 Berlinetta debuting in Europe in September, hitting the second-half growth needed to break its record shouldn’t be a problem.

Ferrari chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, is set on the fact that the company will break its own record profits again, making it back-to-back years of setting records. This is all coming while the rest of the automakers, particularly those in Europe, are struggling to sell cars and lower losses. This shows that Ferrari obviously knows how to keep its operating costs low and still maintain quality control and customer retention.

Regardless of it breaking the record, seeing a low-volume auto manufacturer making that type of profit is impressive. To boot, Ferrari is just about in line with the pricing of its competitors, Lamborghini and Aston Martin , so it’s not a matter of Ferrari just jacking up prices in hopes of profit. Simply good business by itself and parent company, Fiat S.p.A., is all we can attribute this success to.

Gray Design has collaborated with Dartz to build some outlandish vehicles in the past, and it seems they liked the venture as they have created a new auto automotive division of their own. Zeus Twelve, the new auto subsidiary of Gray Design, is poised to create three built-to-order-models, including the luxurious Magnate "Birdman Edition."

While we’re not sure if the designation "Birdman" has anything to do with the rapper who seemingly has an obsession with high-priced automobiles , we do know that the Magnate Birdman Edition is about as audacious as the rest of Zeus Twelve’s new fleet.

Built to feature supercar and luxury car characteristics, the Magnate Birdman Edition features a long and muscular profile with suicide doors and optional bulletproofing. Can you imagine the weight of this car when it’s bulletproofed? Clearly, it’s going to add some meat to it that could potentially slow it down a tad.

But if you’re not worried about all that, the Zeus Twelve Magnate carries a 6.75-liter V8 engine that produces 505 horsepower at 4,200 rpm. Translate that to its peak performance capabilities and you have a car that can hit a top speed of 184 mph.

Pretty impressive.

Gray Design is known for designing some peculiar vehicles, as shown by their one-time collaboration with Dartz that netted the Prombron Nagel .

Now it looks like the company that has made a name for itself as one of the best design groups in the world is venturing into the auto industry by launching a new automotive division called the Zeus Twelve.

It certainly appears that Gray Design and Zeus Twelve are serious about this new endeavor because the latter already has three built-to-order models in the pipeline, one of which is the Gold Rush.

Specific details surrounding the Gold Rush have yet to be revealed, but true to Gray Design’s penchant for panache, the Zeus Twelve Gold Rush looks the part of an aggressively-designed sports coupe with gold accents, gullwing doors, and a 5.935-liter V12 engine that produces 510 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a top speed of 188 mph.

We don’t know how the Gold Rush is going to fly when you attach a price tag to it, but if Zeus Twelve keeps it within a reasonable range, you might see some buyers voice some interest.

The dangers of auto racing aren’t limited to just race drivers; in some instances, especially when they get really too close, spectators open themselves up to the same risks as the drivers.

Unfortunately, that reality reared its ugly head last weekend in Serbia during the FIA European Hillclimb Championship when a Mitsubishi rally car lost control on one of the turns before hitting a crowd that was sitting a little too close to the action.

The high-speed crash had fatal results, with three spectators dying when the rally car barreled its way toward them. The video that was captured of the crash is only 17 seconds long, but it was long enough to paint a real picture of what happens when things go terribly, terribly wrong.

Organizers of that event immediately banned all spectators from staying in the area, but it was a case of being too little too late.

Watch the video and see how the crash came about. If for nothing else, it’s a far cry from the video we saw last week of a rally driver performing an unbelievable save with, coincidentally, another Mitsubishi rally car.

Source: You Tube

Almost on a daily basis, we express our complete obsession with rally racing, as their drivers have to have ice in their veins to even consider whipping a car around these often treacherous tracks at triple-digit speeds. With this incredible speed and loose surfaces come some of the most incredible wrecks, but also some of the most incredible saves.

The above video comes to us from a Polish rally and from the date stamp on the video, it occurred on the August 11th. The driver of this Mitsubishi Evo came into a wet turn just a little too hot and went over the embankment at the end of the turn. Suddenly the car ends up on two wheels, but somehow it winds up back on the road and heads in a straight path.

Typically, when a racecar hits two wheels, an inexperienced driver simply plays damage control. He prepares for impact and hangs on. This driver is obviously rather seasoned, as he maintains control, doesn’t panic, and acts as if nothing happened once the car is back on all fours. This definitely qualifies as an entrant into the Save of the Year running for 2012.

Check out the video for yourself. There is one video above and two more after the jump. It’s rather impressive, but pretty loud, so you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers a little.

Click past the jump to see the two alternate views.


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