UK

UK

A year after Caterham launched their low-cost karting championship, the British automaker is pushing through with those plans with the debut of the CK-01 kart at the AutoSport International in Birmingham, England.

Created to give youngsters a chance to get their feet wet in the world of motorsports, the Caterham kart championship will be open to any child between the ages of 13 and 16 with a maximum of 120 entries. Each applicant, or to be specific, their parents, will have to pay €6,200 plus tax, or about $8,100. The season package includes a number of add-ons, including a race-ready CK-01, a paddock trolley, an ARKS race license, entry to the six-race season and technical support.

The six events will be held on various circuits across the UK and will comprise of practice sessions, a qualifying session and the actual races, which will carry points with it.

The inaugural season isn’t expected until 2014, which gives all the little tykes out there plenty of time to get their racing groove on.

According to Tony Fernandes, CEO of the Caterham Group, Caterham is the perfect place is to enjoy an affordable and competitive kart series, providing the upstarts racers a chance to showcase their skills in motorsports.

"Caterham Karting will once again make this fantastic sport accessible to everyone, without losing any element of the competition and experience," he said.

With the way the series is shaping up, who are we to disagree?

Nissan UK has just added a new special edition to its Qashqai lineup in the form of the new 360, which replaces the n-tec+ and adds additional equipment for the same £19,945 (about $32,000 at the current exchange rates).

The new Qashqai 360 will be distinguished by a set of additional features like gloss-black roof rails, door mirrors and "360" badges. For the interior, the model will add part-leather trim with double white stitching, a gloss-black gearlever surround, gloss-black door handles and a leather armrest. The model can be ordered in a new Storm White exterior paint priced at £500 ($804) and will be offered with an exclusive set of 18-inch "Onyx" alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and a panoramic roof.

The list of standard equipment will include Nissan’s Connect with 360-degree Around View Monitor system with integrated satnav, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity.

Under the hood, customers can choose between all the engines and transmissions offered for the current Qashqai lineup, but Nissan believes the 1.6 dCi diesel with stop/start technology will be the most popular variant

We’re sure you have gotten all of your friends and family great Christmas presents, right? However, we are pretty sure there is someone you have forgotten about and that’s your car, of course! Luckily, your car is not a very picky person. It only asks that you fill it with premium, open up the throttle once in a while and wash it when you get a chance. The latter is exactly what the gift we are talking about here accomplishes in a rather luxurious way.

This luxury car soap comes from the Scottish specialists in exotic and bespoke car care, Mitchell and King. With this high-end bubbly for your car, Mitchell and King has officially launched the world’s most expensive car shampoo, which it has dubbed “SPA.” When it comes to car soap, you are usually breaking the bank when you splurge and buy a $20 bottle. Well, SPA will do that and then some, as it will set you back £150, which is about $242 at the current exchange rates. However, we are pretty sure that this price is nothing when compared to the love you have for your cars.

The new SPA shampoo includes the finest cosmetic ingredients and is offered in a custom-engraved crystal decanter. Of course this means the bottle costs more than the shampoo, but you know, when it comes about a present is the exterior pack that makes all the difference. Additionally, you can create your own bespoke fragrance for said shampoo.

Unfortunately, it takes about four weeks to develop this personalized shampoo, so if you order it now, you will end up getting it a little bit after Christmas. Buy hey, all you have to do is reset the date on your car and it’ll never know the difference, right?

To snag up this Cristal Champagne of car shampoos, check out Mitchell and King’s website.

In case you had any doubts about the global reach of the Gymkhana phenomenon, look no further than the United Kingdom to understand that its popularity is far-reaching.

The event was the finals of Gymkhana GRiD and it served up the kind of racing and drifting action that had everybody in the UK scratching the Gymkhana bug. Ken Block and Vaughn Gittin Jr. were the headline names at the event, yet they weren’t the only big names in attendance.

Some of the world’s finest drifters were also on hand for the event, including Liam Doran, Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith, Buttsy Butler and Terry Grant. Somehow, through all that burning rubber and smoking tires, there was also plenty to take away from the festivities, which culminated with the crowning of the winners of the Gymkhana GRiD series.

Check out the video for a brief recap of the event and, as always, enjoy all the smoking and screeching by turning up the volume of those speakers.

Top Gear Season 17 moved to June 26?

Every holiday season, one of the most anticipated shows on television is Top Gear’s Christmas Special. Remember when the Nutcracker always used to play on TV during Christmas? At some point, A Charlie Brown Christmas took over for the Nutcracker as the main Christmas special. These days, at least for us car nuts, it’s the Top Gear Christmas Special that we schedule our day around.

There’s only one problem, there won’t be a Top Gear Christmas Special this year... at least not until February.

In an obviously disappointing turn of events, the Top Gear Christmas Special won’t be aired until February. According to Captain Slow himself, James May, the show’s delay stemmed from production delays that, according to May, pushed filming until "quite late in the year and there is a lot of editing putting it together.”

In addition, the new season will only carry six episodes, instead of the traditional eight, putting an even bigger pout on our faces. Nevertheless, we expect loads of the same thing with Top Gear, even if the season is going to be two episodes shorter and won’t start until ‘Top Gear’s February Christmas Special’ airs.

Guess we’ll just have to settle for old, reliable Charlie Brown this year…

Source: Express UK

Before the 2013 model year, the top trim level of the Passat in the UK was the SE trim, which was relatively decked out, but lacked some of the extras that most premium sedans came with. In 2013, VW plans to change that by offering up a replacement for the outgoing SE trim level, the Passat Highline. Not only does the “Highline” name sound more luxurious than “SE,” but it also boasts an array of standard features that the SE did not.

This new addition affects both the Passat Saloon and the Passat Estate, which are a sedan and wagon, respectively. This gives the Passat lineup three trim levels in each body style, starting with the base-level S, the mid-grade BlueMotion, and capping off with the Highline. The real test is whether the additions to the top-level trim on the Passat really warrant the price the VW will place on it.

Click past the jump to read the full list of features and more.

The Seat Mii isn’t necessarily the coolest car on the planet, but any time a car company does something to help out an important cause, we can’t help but notice. The Mii Miinx began its life as a normal old Deep Black Metallic Mii Sport, but in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month, a Seat dealership chose to make it into a one-off show car.

After pulling this Mii Sport and its 75 PS (74-horsepower), 1.0-liter engine off of the showroom floor of Dales Seat in Cornwall, it was wrapped boot to bonnet in a gloss-pink vinyl wrap. To help add a little more of a custom look to this otherwise bone-stock Mii, the folks at Dales Seat tinted the headlights.

This Seat Mii Miinx comes relatively well-equipped, featuring: 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift, tinted rear windows, fog lamps, and a sports suspension.

The base Mii Sport goes for £11,500 ($18,298 at the current exchange rates), but, as you can tell, this is no normal Mii Sport. There are no immediate plans to sell the Mii Miinx, but Dales Seat has received numerous offers via Twitter and telephone. We’re sure the car will eventually be sold off to some lucky buyer for a good bit more than its base price.

In the meantime, Dales Seat will be donating £100 ($159 at current exchange rates) to Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity for every Mii it sells. Even if you can’t pick up the Mii Miinx, you can still snag up a Mii and have a portion of its profits go to a great cause.

Click past the jump to read Seat’s full press release.

Aston Martin DB9

With premium automakers like Bentley , Porsche , Land Rover , and Lamborghini all being snatched up by more mainstream automakers, like Volkswagen and, dare we say, Tata , it is pretty obvious that it’s tough going for independent, niche automakers. Even Ferrari , which is doing extremely well so far in 2012, has a parent company in Fiat S.p.A.

Aston Martin is one of the few niche automakers that is almost going it alone, as Ford only holds a 15-percent share in the premium sports car company and the rest is shared between privateer David Richards, and Kuwaiti investment firms Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co. Of those three, Investment Dar owns the majority of the company, which sits at 68 percent.

According to reports from Bloomberg Businessweek, Investment Dar is searching for a new home for Aston, but having a rough time selling the brand. It is trying to sell its share of the company for the same $800 million that it bought the company for just five years ago. One possible buyer is Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., the current owner of SsanYong, but it appears as if Mahindra is not in the market to blow that kind of cash on the British automaker.

Another potential suitor, which is a bit of a surprise, is Toyota. The Japanese automaker actually went as far as to hire an outside auditor to do a week-long survey on the possibility of buying Aston Martin. From the looks of things, that audit didn’t turn out too well, as that happened two months ago and there is still no movement by Toyota.

As expected, Toyota and Mahindra declined to comment on the situation, and Investment Dar outright denied the claims that Aston is up for sale. Regardless of denials and lack of confirmation, the debt that Aston Martin has accumulated – about 1.37 billion dinars ($4.9 billion at the current exchange rates) – via an Islamic bond needs to be paid off and selling the company may be the only option.

Short of that, we may see Aston Martin go the way of the dodo bird…

Most of you are familiar with the awesome Opel Insignia OPC , or the Vauxhall Insignia VXR if you are from the British market. With an impressive output of 325 horsepower, this model can hit a top speed of 155 mph. Today, however, the company has improved this model even further with the addition of a new VXR SuperSport edition that can hit an astounding top speed of 170 mph.

The new VXR SuperSport is powered by a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 Ecotec engine. This engine features a micro-alloy forged steel crank, classic 60-degree cylinder angle and a die-cast alloy sump. It delivers a total of 325 horsepower, which launches the car to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds.

In order to deliver the best possible handling at high speeds, the new SuperSport has been equipped with a HiPer Strut front suspension, which maintains negative camber and improves grip levels in wet and dry. Also included on the SuperSport is the FlexRide adaptive damping system.

Vauxhall has also placed blue "Brembo" lettering on the front brake calipers plus additional increments on the speedometer in order to help customers identify the model.

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is a rare enough car, as there were only 3,258 examples ever built. Of those, only 1,400 were coupes. So, when you start talking about special edition models, you are getting into some of the rarest cars in the world.

When the SL300 was busy kicking ass at venues like the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and 24 Hours of Le Mans , it was not the standard road-going model that you saw. In fact, the car you saw boasted a completely different body. All of the road-going cars, prior to the car’s retirement from racing boasted a steel body and the racing models featured a lighter allot body.

After the 300SL’s retirement from racing, the alloy body became a 5,000 Deutsche Marks option on the already pricey base 300SL. Because of this massive markup, only 29 models were ever built and sold to the general public, thus making it one of the rarest Mercedes-Benz’s available today.

To read more about the 300SL Alloy Gullwing, click past the jump.


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