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industry news

  Automotive industry news, it feels like nothing of what they say is really important but put it together and you will get the big picture before the others.

The first wave of BMW i3 units have come ashore here in the United State, with the first few i3 sales going to some prominent figures within the green community. BMW i3 No. one was delivered to Boston resident Charles Rabie who is also a Tufts University professor of practice, electric vehicle proponent, and current owner of a BMW ActiveE.

The i3 represents BMW’s first all-electric vehicle intended for mass consumption. It utilizes a hybrid-synchronous electric motor that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque powering the rear wheels with a range up to 100 miles. Power is stored in a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery that can be recharged in 30 minutes when connected to a fast-charge station or roughly eight hours with a conventional home charger.

What’s more, a range-extender model is available with a 650 cc, two-cylinder gasoline engine. The little engine only produces 34 horsepower, but pushes the i3’s total range to 180 miles of everyday driving. The engine works well for doubling the i3’s range, but it also increases the car’s overall cost by some $4,000. Then again, on a car costing over $46,000, an additional $4k isn’t a bad price for the ability to drive twice as far.

Also atop the list of folks getting an early i3 is Ashlan Gorse Cousteau. She is a former E! Entertainment correspondent and the wife of Philippe Cousteau, who happens to be the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, the famous French explorer. It surely is a small world.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i3

We already knew that the Lamborghini Urus would go on sale for the 2017 model year, but the SUV’s powertrain was still a mystery, with both naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 options on the table. A twin-turbo, V-8 powerplant has also been in the rumormill, as was a hybrid drivetrain, but it appears that the Italians might be forced to go with the former in order to meet the rigorous global emissions regulations that are looming in.

"An SUV could be a turbo engine for the first time for us," Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Auto Express, while head of R&D Maurizio Reggiani hinted the company may be forced to drop turbocharged units into its models by 2017.

Although the representatives declined to go into specifics, Audi ’s new twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 mill is the most likely candidate for the Lamborghini Urus, which will also share underpinnings with the upcoming Audi Q7 and Bentley SUV .

The said engine currently pumps 560 horsepower into the RS6 Avant and the RS7 , but output could be increased to reach the 600-horsepower mark, given Lamborghini ’s desire to roll out the sportiest SUV on the market.

Click past the jump to read more about the Urus.

Source: Auto Express

Lotus has been struggling not to go under for quite a few years now, but the U.K .-based sports car manufacturer - currently owned by Proton - could be off to a fresh start with a new CEO in charge.

As of this month, Group Lotus will be led by Jean-Marc Gales, the former CEO of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers and former president of Citroen and Peugeot , Malaysia’s Proton — parent company of Lotus — revealed today.

Responsible for implementing a brand-new strategy and restructuring Citroen’s sales value chain with the brand-new DS line, the 51-year old is expected to "drive the Lotus transformation plan and further enhance Lotus’ business and capabilities."

Gales, also employed by companies such as Daimler, General Motors and Volkswagen in the past, will be replacing Aslam Farikullah, who will remain a Member of the Board of Lotus Cars.

Specific details about the company’s immediate plans under Gales haven’t been disclosed, but the Luxembourgian is likely to come up with a new game plan by the end of the year and decide whether or not Lotus should go ahead with reviving the much-rumored Esprit.

Click past the jump to read about the Lotus’s recent woes

Tesla Motors stepped on a lot of toes back when it launched the Model S , an all-electric sedan that proved quite popular with North American consumers. Sure, the EV is far from being perfect, and it’s not even that affordable, but it delivers great performance and good range.

When a couple of these sedans caught fire last year due to damaged battery packs, the California-based automaker received a lot of heat from anti-Tesla "movements" and had to come up with a new, titanium underbody shield . Well, it appears Elon Musk’s company can’t catch a break as some crazy flyers started showing up on the windshield of Model S cars in the San Francisco area.

The printed page contains a so-called "consumer alert" message that accuses Tesla of having been involved in "organized crime" and bribing "Congress people and federal staff" to get initial funding for the Model S. What’s more, it also claims the company "buys" car reviews and pays journalists to write only favorable articles about its product. Funny, we’ve done Model S reviews and never received a check signed by Mr. Musk himself.

The flyer even goes as far as to claim that Tesla drivers, who have a "higher-than-average inclination towards strange sexual behavior, drugs and risk", are supporting both corruption and spying. Why spying you may ask? Well, the anti-Tesla writing is quoting a secret partnership between the automaker and Google — "the worlds largest surveillance company".

But that’s not all. These giggle-inducing arguments are accompanied by absurd theories that have no scientific backing whatsoever, such as the fact that Tesla’s lithium ion batteries can blow up and lead to "catastrophic fires" if they "get wet or bumped". Making things even more ridiculous is a conspiracy-like assumption saying Tesla investors urged the U.S. invasion into Afghanistan! Should we bother to mention that Tesla was established two years after NATO intervened in the said country?

This manifesto could very well be some sort if joke, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the flyers came from a disturbed group of people having trouble getting a good night’s sleep over unfounded issues with Tesla Motors.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S and to see the flyer for yourself.

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson is embroiled in another controversy, only this time, he could be in a lot of trouble if claims made by the Daily Mirror that he made a racist remark during filming of an episode of Top Gear are proven true.

According to the British newspaper, Clarkson said the "n-word" when he was filiming a segment featuring the Toyota GT 86 and the Subaru BRZ in the third episode of the show’s 19th series. The scene never made it to the final cut, but a video of it has since surfaced and the Mirror claims that Clarkson can be heard saying "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a n***** by his toe, when he squeals, let him go, eeny, meeny, miny, moe."

We watched the clip in question repeatedly and while it’s hard to make out the words he said in the middle of the quote, because it was badly mumbled. However, the word did end with "er." Now, depending on what you are thinking of at the time you listen to the piece, you may just hear mumbling, "Tiger," "Tigger" or the "N-word." Clarkson quickly responded to the Mirror’s allegations, posting a tweet on Twitter saying "I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time."

This controversy is just the latest one that Clarkson has found himself wrapped up in. Just recently, he also caused a stir for using the term "slope" while filming the show in Thailand. In case you’re not familiar with the term, its an acronym meant to denigrate people of Asian descent. Clarkson issued an apology after that episode, but this time, he’s standing firm and denouncing the Mirror for claiming he said what a lot of people believe to be the most vile word in the English language.

We’re not accusing Clarkson of saying the word, but the Daily Mirror is equally holding ground on its allegations, even saying that it had hired a firm of audio forensic experts to analyze the clip, when it received confirmation that the word Clarkson said was the "n-word."

Shortly after his tweet came out, Clarkson issued another response (after the jump). In it, Clarkson goes into more detail about the circumstances surrounding that scene and admitted that while he tried to do everything in his power not to use the word, one of the three takes done on that scene made it "sound like" he did use it.

I take mild issue with him saying he "tried to do everything" not to use the word. If you really have to try to not say that word, then there must be some latent desire to use it. Having said that, after seeing the outtake, I just think he mumbled "tiger" and it sounds odd on the low-quality video.

Click past the jump to see the Daily Mirror’s video and article regarding this situation and Clarkson’s response video.

Source: Twitpic

Unveiled in 2011, the Rimac Concept_One created quite a stir in the supercar world, mainly because of its unique, all-electric powertrain that delivered 1,088 horsepower and a stunning 2,802 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately, the vehicle never made it into production due to Rimac ’s inability to sustain the project financially.

But that could change in the near future, according to the Croatian company, who has announced it is about to sign a €15 million ($20.8 million) deal with investors from South America and Asia, Left Lane News reports.

More than half the sum will be coming from Colombian tycoon Frank Kanayet Yepes, a wealthy investor in the energy industry known for his passion for supercars. He will be pouring €8 million ($11.1 million) into Rimac Automobili in addition to purchasing one of the first Concept_One units.

The remaining cash infusion will come straight from Hong Kong, with mineral company Sinocop Resources paying €5 million ($6.9 million) for a 10 percent stake in the company and a further €2 million ($2.8 million) in stock.

The manufacturer has yet to reveal when the first Concept_One will be completed, but founder Mate Rimac said there are "six cars in the pipeline", with each one to cost about $1 million.

Click past the jump to read more about the Riman Concept_One

The Subaru BRZ has good bones for an every-man’s sports car . Front engine, rear-wheel drive, manual transmission, and a low starting price help make the BRZ a great bang-for-the-buck choice. But a general consensus among enthusiasts agrees that the little two-door coupe lacks power. And sadly, it seams Subaru isn’t currently doing anything about it; that is, except for Subaru Australia.

In an interview with Motoring.com, Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior says his local division has been lobbying for an STI version of the car. But in the mean time, Subaru Australia has done its own modifications with items from the STI parts bin. Even though the parts are the same, the car cannot be labeled an STI without being developed by the actual Subaru Tecnica International team.

Subaru Australia’s modified BRZ S Pack went on sale Down Under in 2013 with STI suspension components for better handling and a few sporty cosmetic bits for a unique look.

While it’s hard to blame the blokes for spicing up their own BRZs while begging for an STI version, it’s understandable why Subaru and Toyota haven’t done major modifications to the car. It’s only a few years old and its first refresh is scheduled for 2016. Several reports have confirmed the BRZ and its Toyo twin — the FR-S — will be getting drop-top version in their next life cycle.

Could it be then that an STI version will come along too? We already know the speculation about the 2.0-liter turbocharged Boxer engine from the Forester is a no-go, as the engine simply won’t fit within the engine bay. Some other mode of increasing power would have to be used. While there’s no shortage of aftermarket turbo kits for the BRZ/FR-S, the STI team is quiet on the subject.

Surely Subaru will answer the outcry for a more powerful BRZ with a STI version while Toyota (Scion ) could do the same mods but with a TRD badge slapped on. Here’s for hoping as the time draws nearer for official words about the upcoming 2016 refresh.

Click past the jump to read more. Don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments!

Source: Motoring

If you have paid attention to all the new videos and reviews of the new LaFerrari you may have noticed something awkward on the car’s steering wheel. There is a tiny badge that reads "F150." You can see it here in our screengrab from Sport Auto’s LaFerrari video .

The badge itself is to signify the car’s internal code designation, and to pay homage to the cars of Ferrari’s past.

Let us start with the past. The very first true Ferrari supercar of the modern era was the Ferrari F40 . It was name the F40 as the car was built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the company. Then when its successor arrived, it received the name F50 . Not because it was Ferrari’s 50th birthday, but rather, 50 is bigger than 40. That trend continued again with the Ferrari Enzo , which had a designation of F60. Now when the LaFerrari was first in production, most people simply referred to it as the F70, so where the hell did the F150 come from?

That is a slightly different nod to history. You see, a long time ago, Italy was not a unified country. It wasn’t until 1861, and after much bloodshed, that the Kingdom of Italy became a united constituency. In 2011, Ferrari named its F1 car the F150 to celebrate 150 years of Italian unity. After some legal troubles with Ford over the name, the car became known as the Ferrari 150° Italia . Since the LaFerrari was under development at a similar time, it seems very obvious why Ferrari chose the "F150" code for the car.

You learn something new every day, eh?

Click past the jump to read a little more about the Ferrari LaFerrari

Today is both a day of somber remembrance and a day of historical celebration. It was on this day, 20 years ago in 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix that Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna lost his life.

McLaren , the F1 team Senna spent most of his career with, has posted up this short video celebrating one of his most incredible driving experiences at Monte Carlo . The words are Senna’s own, and his description of the moment is a spine-tingling demonstration of why many believe him to be one of the best to ever get in the car.

If you are eager to learn more about Senna after watching this short clip, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out the documentary film, Senna. You can find it on Netflix, and watch it for free. Even if you are not a fan of Formula One racing, the Senna documentary is still and exciting piece of film making that most will find enjoyable.

While it was sad to see Senna go, the deadly weekend at San Marino that took the lives of both Senna and Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger was the final straw that broke the camel’s back on racing safety. An immediate and far-sweeping reform of safety in F1 took place, and since then not a single F1 driver has lost his life on the track.

It seems that in both life, and after, Senna changed the way the world saw Formula One racing forever.

If you have ever wondered why TopSpeed.com doesn’t get to do many in-person reviews on Ferraris , this might help explain things. Certain car makers are very picky, and apply lots of heavy restrictions to their car reviews. According to Jalopnik, Ferrari has now started making writers agree to a $70,000 fine if they break embargo times for the Ferrari LaFerrari.

Basically, if I got to drive the Ferrari LaFerrari , and I wanted to talk to you about it today, it would cost me $70,000. If I waited a few weeks to tell you, it wouldn’t cost me a dime. It seems strange, but this is the amount of power that some of these exotic and exclusive companies wield. On top of these types of restrictions, Ferrari has a very short list of “approved” journalists that are allowed behind the wheel of their machines.

That is not to say that we wouldn’t play ball. Our most important site feature is you guys and gals, the readers. As absurd as a massive fine for talking about a car early may seem, we would jump through almost any hoop to get you guys the cool stories and awesome drives you deserve. We just aren’t on that short list yet.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari LaFerrari.

Source: Jalopnik

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