Alexander

My interest in cars started a little later in life than most in the automotive arena. Starting with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, I began my professional career doing marketing for a local pharmacy before returning to my love of writing at TopSpeed.

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2014 Mercedes CLA 45 AMG

2014 Mercedes CLA 45 AMG

The Mercedes CLA has been officially unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, and, as the spy shots revealed, the next logical step was a more powerful, AMG version. The model made its debut today at the 2013 New York Auto Show and will be put on sale in September.

When compared to the standard CLA-Class, the new AMG version will add a more aggressive design language, with elements we have already seen on models like the CLS 63 AMG. These specific elements include an AMG "twin blade" radiator grille, an AMG front apron, large cooling air intakes and for the rear an AMG apron and of course the two chrome-plated twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system.

Even if a tiny sedan, the new CLA 45 AMG is offering technologies used in the SLS AMG sports car, like the cooling system for the four-cylinder engine.

Updated 03/19/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specifications.

Updated 06/17/2013: Mercedes has just announced prices for the most powerful version in the new CLA-Class lineup. Click past the jump to learn more about how much you have to pay for a CLA 45AMG.

Updated 09/17/2013: Mercedes unveiled a new video featuring both the A45 AMG and the CLA45 AMG in action at the Bilster Berg race track. Enjoy!

Hit the jump to read more about the 2014 Mercedes CLA 45 AMG.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

Exterior
The history of the Chevrolet Corvette shows that the company has been steady with their sports car like soft curves and sporty profile. Recently, a video was released (displayed above) that showed a rendering of the sports car’s future design, detailing a supercar with hard angles and a harder edge fastback. This rendering is more like a daydream as opposed to a viable prediction. Chevrolet has been known to hold on to their core designs for dear life (see: pop-up headlights) (...)

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2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover

2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover

The Range Rover Evoque has been stealing the show for the past year or so, but come 2013, the new Landrover Range Rover will be back in the saddle showing off its svelte aluminum body while still maintaining its offroad capabilities.

As promised, the new generation Range Rover is lighter, stronger, and more refined. Land Rover mostly focused on reducing the SUV’s total weight, and thanks to a revolutionary all-aluminum monocoque body structure combined with weight savings throughout the chassis and driveline, the new Range Rover is now 350 kilos (771 lbs) lighter than the outgoing model.

The new Range Rover will be offered with a choice of two diesel engines, plus a V8 supercharged with 510 HP. However, a diesel hybrid will join the line-up later in 2013.

The fourth generation Land Rover Range Rover will go on sale at the end of 2012. On the British market, prices will start from £71,295, or about $114,000 at the current exchange rates.

UPDATE 10/02/2012: Land Rover USA has announced prices for the new Range Rover unveiled in Paris. On the US market, the standard LR4 will be priced at $49,950 and the LR4 HSE at $54,175. Price includes $850 destination and delivery.

More on the 2013 Landrover Range Rover after the jump.

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Car Girls of the 2012 Paris Auto Show

Car Girls of the 2012 Paris Auto Show

Auto Shows are a time for auto enthusiasts to get together and get up close and personal with some of the most amazing vehicles in the world. The 2012 Paris Auto Show will be home to more than 100 new international releases displayed across nine pavilions at the Paris expo Porte de Versailles. From the Jaguar F-Type to the Maserati GranCabrio MC, and many others, the 2012 Paris Auto Show has not disappointed us. This spectacular event officially begins on September 29th and goes on until October 14th, but lucky for us, press days give us the opportunity to get a head start on the glorious eye-candy found at these events.

Of course, no auto show is complete without some gorgeous girls in attendance to further decorate the stage floor. Paris was not shy of these women. From blondes to brunettes to redheads, every category of hot chick was found on the show floor.

Check out the gallery provided to see all of the work we had to put in to get pictures of all the hottest girls of the 2012 Paris Auto Show. Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

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2012 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept

2012 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept

The Paris Motor Show is just hours away and we are starting to get things all ramped up. Porsche announced that it will be unveiling an all-new production concept when the show opens up, only to shoot out the official details a couple of hours later. This new concept is dubbed the Panamera Sport Turismo Concept and is slated to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.

The concept is supposed to preview a possible Porsche sports car of tomorrow, which would mean that they are not letting go of the idea that spawned the Cayenne and the Panamera: Parents need speed too.

Rumor has it that this model will debut at some point in the 2013 model year, so the concept model that we see here will most likely be almost identical to its production model.

Update 12/11/12: Porsche has released a sweet video outlining the development of the Panamera Sport Turismo Concept and how it came to life. You can see the video after the jump.

Click past the jump to have a look at the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept.

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2010 - 2013 BMW X5M by Velos Designwerks

2010 - 2013 BMW X5M by Velos Designwerks

If you own a car like the BMW X5M, you generally don’t ask for any upgrades other than the ones offered by BMW. Imagine our surprise when we discovered an "unhappy" client had gone to Velos Designwerks and asked them to provide any updates possible for the luxury SUV. The tuner responded with a number of exterior and engine updates to create the ultimate SUV.

The upgrading session began with the addition of the Stage 2+ Velos Designwerks performance tune for the standard 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 engine’s fuel maps, throttle maps, ignition maps, and limiters. This upgrade took the standard 555 HP and 501 lb ft of torque and powered it up to 645 HP at 6800 rpm and 631 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. The tuner then added a new exhaust system with Akra Downpipes. Stage 2 options are also available for vehicles fitted with full exhaust and downpipes for off-road use. The best part about this engine upgrade is that it will only set customers back $1,500.00. A carbon fiber vented race hood can also be added for $2,655.00.

In addition to the engine updates, Velos also added a new front spoiler ($1,800.00) and a rear diffuser ($1,875.00) made of carbon fiber, as well as a new set of ADV1 wheels combined with a KW suspension kit and a Brembo brake kit. For the interior, the tuner added a new BMW Performance steering wheel and a Hardwire Valentine One radar detector.

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2004 - 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo by Dallas Performance

2004 - 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo by Dallas Performance

From the land where bigger is always the norm, comes a tuning company that isn’t afraid to take one of their tuning packages and improve on it...again and again. Dallas Performance out of Texas began their quest with the Lamborghini Gallardo with one upgrade package that took the standard 520 HP to a whopping 650 HP. This was done with the addition of a twin turbo setup, but other items proceeded to be thrown into the mix for a total of four tuning packages and a whole lot of horsepower.

Stage One took the Gallardo to 650 whp with 93 Octane Fuel and 800+ whp with E85 or VP C16 Race Fuel with the added turbochargers. Stage Two brings back the turbochargers, but adds forged engine internals for a total of 800+ whp with 93 Octane Fuel or 1050+ whp with E85 or VP C16 Race Fuel. The highly modified engine of Stage Three brings the horsepower up to 1000 whp with 93 Octane or 1200+ whp with E85 or VP C16 Race Fuel, while Stage 3R replaces the standard V10 with a race-spec engine for a total of 1000 whp with 93 Octane or 1400+ whp with VP C16 Race Fuel.

Preparations for the vehicle are also made with the options provided by Dallas Performance. Aside from the cost of the engine upgrades, which start at $34,900 and go to $95,000 before settling at "inquire for pricing," the tuning firm will also provide accessories to help the vehicle run smoother with the added boost. The company offers a high flow sport exhaust system, cat delete pipes, a high flow air inlet system, ECU custom mapping/dyno tuning, and an E85 fuel conversion (includes mapping) which adds 40whp.

Hit the jump for a list of the packages, as well as detailed pricing.

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2013 BMW 3-Series B3 Bi-Turbo by Alpina

2013 BMW 3-Series B3 Bi-Turbo by Alpina

With the launch of the new BMW 3-Series, a slew of tuning variations inevitably followed. Not ones to be left out of the tuning game, Alpina, BMW’s close-knit performance automaker, is preparing the future Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo based off the 335i Saloon. This new model was recently spotted in Southern Europe doing some hot weather testing, revealing some if its new garbs.

The B3 saloon isn’t getting a whole new makeover because, well, if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it. That being said, it will feature a new lip spoiler, modifications to the lower section of the front bumper, a small boot spoiler, bespoke alloy wheel designs, and a new quad exhaust system. Power will come from a revised version of the current model’s twin-turbo 3.0L straight-six engine that will push out a total of 400 HP and 400 lb-ft of torque instead of the current 360 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque. This is much more in line with the power output we had originally anticipated with the current generation, but never received.

With the B3’s vigorous torque ability from 1,500 rpm onwards to 7,000 rpm, a diesel variant may also be in the works, but won’t be available until at least late 2013. Touring, Coupe, and Convertible version will also follow in the next couple of years. All models will be offered with RWD as standard, while most of them will also have an AWD option.

According to AutoCar, the new Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo will be launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March, but other sources are stating that we may see it even earlier than that, at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.

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Spy Shots: 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Convertible shows us its R Logos

While the standard Golf R is still covered from head to tail in dizzying cammo, the Convertible version of the speedy hatchback is now stripped down to reveal its R logo goodies at the front and back. This just proves that the cammoed Golf we saw a few weeks back was indeed the "R" in GTI clothing.

With the uncovered goodness that are these spy shots, we can see that the front bumper of the Golf R will have LED daydriving lights, bigger brakes and wheels, more marked side sills, and a small spoiler on the trunk. The rounded GTI exhaust pipes have also been removed to reveal the bigger oval-shaped pipes that will be used for the Golf R.

Power for the 2013 Volkswagen Golf Convertible R will come from a revised version of the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder found in the current model. This engine produces 256 HP in the US version and 270 HP in the European model. That engine will be mated to a DSG or a 6-speed transmission, which will push power to all four wheels.

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2013 Ford Mustang Stage 3 Premier Edition by Roush

2013 Ford Mustang Stage 3 Premier Edition by Roush

Roush is bringing back its Stage 3 Premier Edition with a little more flair and even more power for the 2013 model year. This special edition will only be limited to 25 units, but will come with 12 different main body finishes from Sherwin Williams Automotive, five bespoke options and seven paint finishes already found on the 2012 model. The new paint finishes include Launch it Lemon, V8 Red, Cabernet, Punch it Purple, and Iridescence.

Aside from the new color palette, the Stage 3 Mustang Premier Edition will also shine from the previously used Roush R6 Aerobody kit with a few, new added touches. This kit includes a high flow grille with a very low front grille opening, new driving lamps with pockets, new front fascia chin splitters, sport rocker panel side splitters, a new rear diffuser design, and rear aero valances. The exterior is finished with a set of 20" wheels available in hyper black or chrome.

The Stage 3 Ford Mustang Premier Edition will come with the same monstrous 5.0L V8 engine producing 565 HP and 505 lb-ft of torque with the use of a Roush R2300 TVS Supercharger. For 2013, Roush will even throw in an optional post title upgrade that will launch the ponies up to 625 HP and 525 lb-ft of torque. Much needed stopping power will come from 4-piston brakes with red/black calipers and 14" rotors. Optional 6-piston brakes will also be available. Other options include a trunk-mounted tool kit, a convertible light bar, and quarter window louvers.

As an added bonus, all owners of the 2013 Ford Mustang Stage 3 Premier Edition by Roush will also be given two premier colored Polo/Golf shirts, an autographed framed picture of their Stage 3 Premier Edition Mustang, and best of all, a VIP NASCAR Experience from Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes that will provide them with two tickets, two pit passes, and garage access to the race of their choosing (Hotel and Airfare not included).

Hit the jump for a full list of color options.

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Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid achieves 185 mph world record at Bonneville

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid achieves 185 mph world record at Bonneville

World speed records are usually associated with vehicles like the Bugatti Veyron, which can hit a high mark of 267 mph and look great while doing it. Advances in hybrid technology, however, have now made it essential to include vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid on the list of top speed records. No, the Jetta was not able to dominate the Veyron’s top speed, or even come close to it, but it has achieved a land speed record of its own at the Bonneville Salt Flats. During the Southern California Timing Association’s Speed Week at Bonneville, the Jetta Hybrid was able to record a 185.394 mph top speed, marking the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

"Achieving this speed at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, VW Group of America. “As well as being expected to achieve combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, the Jetta Turbo Hybrid also retains the fun-to-drive nature you expect from a Volkswagen in a segment dominated by less exciting vehicles.”

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline powerplant generating 150 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque. The gasoline engine is then combined with a 20kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery that’s produces an additional 27 HP and weighs less than 80 lbs. The Jetta’s top speed record was achieved by implementing a few changes to the setup. Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany modified the engine to provide a few more ponies, while A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, based in Camarillo, California, provided project integration and other modifications. Everything was finalized with an engine calibration and a once-over by the folks at the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, CA

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Spy Shots: 2014 Mercedes C-Class Heads to the Nurburgring

Mercedes has been testing the future C-Class all year, and now they have finally made it over to the Nurburgring for some hot laps around the famous ’Ring. The luxury sedan is still donning some massive camouflage to hide any new design aspects found on the car, but rumors have also been making their rounds that the future C-Class will take its inspiration from the F800 Concept car. This could mean that the angles of the vehicle will be just slightly elongated with a bit more sharpness to the angles, as well as a more marked front grille. Basically, it may be an edgier, sportier version of the current C-Class, which should be a change not many will complain about. As for power, the 2014 Mercedes C-Class may be looking at both a petrol and diesel engine lineup, as well as a new hybrid version.

When the new Mercedes C-Class makes its debut in 2014, it will be looking to take on vehicles like the Audi A4 and the BMW 3-Series.

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Spy Shots: Production Jaguar XFR-S Spotted for the First Time

Previous spy shots of the Jaguar XFR-S have been spotted numerous times with bits and pieces of production parts scattered throughout the prototypes. Now, the puzzle has finally been put together as our spy photographers have captured the model in full production garb. These images were taken at the Nurburgring while the XFR-S whips around the testing track with a new design for the front spoiler, more muscular side sills, and a wider track and wheels. The rear of the XFR-S gets a more pronounced diffusor and a new rear spoiler.

The future Jaguar XFR-S will be powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that will deliver a total of 550 HP, making it an ideal competitor for the likes of the Audi RS6, the BMW M5, and the Mercedes E63 AMG.

The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S is rumored to make its debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Motor Show, with sales beginning shortly thereafter at £70K, or about $110,000 at the current rates.

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2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Cobra Tribute Model

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Cobra Tribute Model

Ford Motor Company, Shelby American, and Ford Racing have come together to build a special one-off model to pay tribute to the man responsible for creating the iconic Cobra: Carroll Shelby. Called "Friends of Carroll," these companies, along with many others, have put together the Shelby GT500 Cobra, which is based off of the 2013 Mustang GT500, but with some tantalizing modifications.

The team began the build with the GT500’s 5.8L V8 engine which already produces 662 HP, then added a Ford Racing 4.0L Whipple supercharger that catapulted the power to over 850 HP! Keeping this beast safely on the road are 13" rear wheels wrapped around 345-section high performance tires, as well as new Shelby Wilwood brakes.

On the design front, the new Shelby GT500 Cobra was given a Shelby-designed hood, a new rear wide body kit, and new 20" wheels. The exterior is finished off with a Guardsman Blue paint finish and Wimbledon white stripes, as seen on the Cobra roadster of the ’60’s.

“Carroll Shelby changed the performance world forever,” says Luft. “And while he was proud of Shelby American’s achievements, Carroll was far more interested in the next car we build. You will find the spirit and influence of Carroll Shelby in every future vehicle we build as found in the rear wide-body kit and hood that has been integrated into the 2013 Shelby GT500 Cobra.”

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Cobra will be touring across the United States and will eventually end up being auctioned off for charity.

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2013 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

2013 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

The Citroen C4 Picasso has already been making its rounds on the testing grounds, but our spy photographers have finally managed to catch its seven-seater counterpart as its takes its turn in the hot seat. The Citroen C4 Grand Picasso will get the extra room from longer rear doors and a boxier rear end, but instead of the expected sliding rear doors there are actually conventional doors in their place.

In terms of power, the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso will more than likely get going with the help of the C4’s normal range of three petrol and four HDi diesel engines with horsepower ranging from 93 HP to 153 mph. The Grand Picasso may also get the hybrid system Hybrid4 already featured in the DS5 and Peugeot 3008. These engines will be mated to a variety of transmissions, from a 6-speed automatic gearbox to a manual 5- or 6-speed, or a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Expect the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso to debut sometime in 2013 with sales starting shortly thereafter.

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Spy Shots: 2014 BMW M3 Laps the Nurburgring

The 2014 BMW M3 has been just about everywhere in the past few weeks, getting dragged through numerous testing grounds to ensure that just about everything is on the up and up. Unfortunately, none of this matters to a certain extent because we won’t be seeing the production version until the Frankfurt Motor Show opens up in 2013. Before that, all we’ll see is a concept version of the BMW M3 as it sashays its way onto the 2013 Geneva Motor Show floor.

These new spy shots show a lot of the front end which has previously been draped in camouflage. The stripping away of the camo hasn’t shown us much, except for a sleeker bumper that makes it look like the old one was smooshed to a thinner state. The shape of the air vents has also been modified just a bit, but not enough to make much difference.

The biggest changes for the M3 can actually be found under the hood. Rumors have been floating around that the V8 engine was dropped in favor of a new inline-six, and this was recently been confirmed by President of BMW North America, Mr. Ludwig Willisch. The only thing that has yet to be confirmed is whether or not this new inline-six will be given a boost with two or three turbochargers. Regardless of the technology, the future M3 will deliver at least 450 HP.

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2013 LandRover RangeRover Exterior and Interior Images Leaked!

Earlier today, we caught wind of a couple of leaked images for the 2013 Landrover RangeRover, but now we’ve got the whole kit and caboodle in the form of interior and exterior shots of the future luxury SUV. These images don’t reveal a whole new vehicle, but that’s not what we were expecting anyway. What they do show is the familiar RangeRover shape and curves with a little Evoque thrown in for modern measure. There are also new air ducts on the front grill and softer edges throughout.

The interior of the Range Rover has also been revamped to look even more luxurious, which is not a small feat considering the luxury the SUV has anyway. The center console was thoroughly cleaned up and only a few buttons and knobs were left to operate. The air vents were moved above the navigation screen and the dashboard looks to be cleaner and digital with striking lights. Overall, the interior has just been updated for more practicality and a modern edge.

Now that the full package has been leaked in pictures, we expect LandRover to officially release all of the details on the future Landrover Range Rover very soon, before it makes its appearance at the 2012 Paris Auto Show in the last week of September. Sales will begin in November 2012.

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2013 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

2013 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

We absolutely just love talking about wagons that we’ll never get to see on our side of the pond. Wait, scratch that. It actually sucks to hear that Jaguar has finally unveiled the XF Sportbrake and Europe will be one of the few that will actually revel in its luxurious five door space. It’s not their fault that the British brand is going where the wagon demand is at its highest nor that we decided bigger was better before giving these in-between vehicles a chance, but we’re still a little envious.

The XF Sportbrake was supposed to make its world debut in March at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, but Jaguar decided to offer the first details one week before the actual event. While the car’s front is identical to the sedan version, the new XF Sportbrake is entirely new from the B-pillar and back. Under the hood, Jaguar has placed a range of four-cylinder 2.2-liter and V6 3.0-liter diesel engines with power going up to 275 HP.

UPDATE 08/08/12: Jaguar has released a video explaining the versatility of the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Check out the video to see just how much can fit into the back of this spacious ride!

Hit the jump to read more about the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake.

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2013 Porsche 918 Spyder Martini Racing Prototype

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder Martini Racing Prototype

The Porsche 918 Spyder has become an extremely sought-after supercar, and considering that it’s still in its prototype stages, it’s become one of the most highly anticipated ones too.

Now we know how automakers are careful with divulging too much with their prototype models so they resort to the tried-and-tested method of dressing these models up in camouflage. Porsche has obviously done this on numerous occasions, but for the 918 Spyder, they’re taking a slightly different route.

Together with long-time partner Martini Racing, the German automaker has revisited the iconic Martini Porsche race cars by dressing up the 918 Spyder Prototype in the legendary Martini livery.
Development of the Porsche 918 Spyder is still ongoing with the car now moving its extensive testing phase to the Nurburgring. Apparently, riding around one of the most famous tracks in the world has conjured up nostalgic emotions and the result is one of the most awesome liveries to ever be dressed on a Porsche.

Hit the jump for more information on the Porsche 918 Spyder Martini Racing Prototype.

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Car Infographics: Auto Theft in the U.S.

Car Infographics: Auto Theft in the U.S.

According to the FBI, we’re coming up to a couple of the hottest months of the year, and we’re not talking about the weather. Turns out, July and August are the top two months for vehicle theft, and LoJack and the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) are doing their part by holding their 6th annual National Vehicle Theft Protection Month. For this year, they have come up with an infographic that provides a few details and stats about car theft, as well as some helpful hints to ensure you are not a victim.

First, the facts. In 2010, there were 737,000 vehicle thefts and only 56% of those vehicles were ever recovered. The average loss per vehicle was $6,152. Not exactly a small number by anyone’s standards. What’s worse is that, if you own a Honda Accord, Honda Civic, and Toyota Camry, you are more likely to be a victim because these were the top three vehicles stolen in 2010. The Ford Mustang made up a total of 9,116 instances of car theft in 2010, so we can only imagine how many of the top three vehicles were stolen during that time.

Where you live is also a factor. Nine out of 10 areas in numbers of stolen cars are in California and Washington State, with seven of the areas belonging to The Golden State.

Being the trusting - or rushed - souls that we are, 68% of people have left their car running when they aren’t in it or have left their car unlocked, while 64% of people have their home address programmed into their GPS system and 32% have left an electronic device or personal documents in plain view.

So what can we do to protect ourselves and our vehicles from theft? The number one protection aid is to use COMMON SENSE. Hey, they said it, we only repeated it. The second and third are to use theft protection products and a tracking and recovery system.

Check out the rest of the infographic after the jump to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

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Car Infographics: The Gymkhana Viral Phenomenon

Car Infographics: The Gymkhana Viral Phenomenon

Ken Block has accomplished many things in his career, including being a professional rally driver with the Monster World Rally Team, one of the co-founders and recently appointed Chief Brand Officer of DC Shoes, and a major competitor in skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross races. All of those accomplishments aside, the one thing Block is mainly known for is being the man behind Gymkhana.

For those living under a rock, Gymkhana is an automotive sport that requires drivers to skillfully maneuver using their car around obstacles using extreme acceleration, braking, and drifting. The definition on its own sounds cool as hell, but seeing it in action is way better, which is why Gymkhana has become such a viral phenomenon in recent years. As of 06/01/2012, the Gymkhana franchise has raked in 135 million views on YouTube, surpassing even the most watched TV broadcast ever - 2012 SuperBowl - which received 111 million views this year. Gymkhana even took the title of the most shared viral ad of 2011 with over two million shares of Gymkhana 4.

This infographic breaks down Gymkhana to explain why it has become such a phenomenon, including a few details about Ken Block, details behind the Gymkhana car, and an explanation of the Gymkhana livery. Take a look and learn how it took only seven seconds to burnout the tires during the final spin of Gymkhana 4. This will definitely not be a time-waster.

Hit the jump to check out the full Gymkhana infographic and stay tuned for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

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PistonSpy Tours gets you in on the spy photography action!

PistonSpy Tours gets you in on the spy photography action!

Ever wonder what it would be like to sit in the wings as the newest, hottest supercar desperately tries to conceal its newest generation? Feel at home with a camera in your hand and money in your pocket? PistonSpy Tours is now offering a few lucky people a chance to do just that as they embark on a trip through some of the most popular testing grounds in the world for the opportunity to catch these cars in action.

For a fee ranging from £700 to £1100, these lucky folks will be able to tour either Germany, Italy/Alps, or Sweden with a guide to take pictures or videos of vehicles that have not been introduced to the market just yet. The tour will last four days and will include pick up/drop off at the airport, fuel used during the trip, hotels/guest houses, breakfast and evening meals, and the vehicle that will be shared during the trip.

At the end of this adventure, guests will be able to take home a gallery of their shots and will also get the chance to sell them to the automotive press to make some extra cash. All in a day’s work during this remarkable working vacation!

This trip is only being offered for a short time and only 1-3 guests will be able to join the guide, so make your reservations quick! Contact pistonspy.mobile@gmail.com for more information.

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The Landrover LR4 even makes being a 7th wheel comfortable

At some point or another, everyone has been a third, fifth, or even seventh wheel. You know, those times when you are surrounded by couples and you are the only single one in the group. Amidst the couples’ activities, the bickering, and the "quality time," you wonder why you ever thought it would be a good idea to join in on this nightmarish journey through the land of ball and chains. Well, Landrover has now provided single men and women everywhere a reason to grin and bear it: the Landrover Discovery/LR4.

In this ad campaign, Landrover shows how even the 7th wheel can be made extremely comfortable in the LR4’s vast features. The Discovery/LR4 has a new, more comfortable seat design and a wider range of materials to bump up the luxury. Technologically speaking, the LR4 is well-equipped with touch-screen audio systems, a navigation system (Base and Premium), a single slot DVD drive in the audio head unit, and a rear seat audio system operated by new powerful wireless technology called WhiteFireTM via cordless headphones.

The Discovery/LR4 is offered with either a 3.0 LR-TDV6 engine or a 3.0 LR-SDV6 engine. The 3.0 LR-TDV6 engine delivers a total of 211 HP at 4,000rpm and a peak torque of 383 lbs-ft at 2,000rpm. The engine is mated to a ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission, while CO2 emissions have been reduced from 244g/km to 224g/km. The 3.0 LR-SDV6 engine produces 256 HP at 4,000rpm and 442 lbs-ft at just 2,000rpm. This engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with command shift. CO2 emissions have been reduced for this engine option, going down to 230g/km from the previous 244g/km.

No matter how long you stay single, the Landrover LR4 will make sure you are comfortable during those long couples’ trips.

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The Gut Knows Bosch spark plugs are the way to go

There are many aftermarket tuning firms in the world that can take your everyday ride and turn it into a true work of art. For some, it’s a matter of paint and pizzazz; for others, it’s all about high-end parts and mechanical know-how. From the makers of the Ford Mustang Bosch Iridium Edition RTR that was given away at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show comes another piece of the automotive puzzle: the Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plug.

Bosch’s advertising spree for their new line of spark plugs uses a tool that most of us use on a daily basis: our gut. These hilarious commercials show a man who uses his gut to make his everyday decisions, such as knowing when two new beers are in order, knowing when to shut up when his wife is nagging at him to get out of the garage, and apparently, knowing when Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plugs need to be the chosen ones for his car.

"Bosch Iridium’s ultra-fine wire center electrode design improves ignitability, lowers voltage demand and delivers up to 4X longer service life versus standard copper core plugs. Laser welded iridium-platinum alloy inlay on the ground electrode resists cracking and potential loss for improved durability."

Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plugs can fit any American, European, and Asian engine.

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Car Infographics: F1 Cars and Teams in 2012

Car Infographics: F1 Cars and Teams in 2012

We just love infographics because they are created to inform readers of different facts and figures on a particular topic. This infographic, however, takes that love to a whole new level by being the most complete and informative infographic we have ever seen. It breaks down the details of the 2012 F1 season, even going into the different cars and drivers.

Ever wonder what an F1 car consists of? Take a look at the very first section of this infographic. Want to know what kind of changes F1 drivers and teams had to prepare for in the 2012 season? This list goes into all of them, including the new nose height requirement of being 550mm above the base of the car to avoid a T-bone crash.

The rest of the infographic goes into the incredible precision driving on a Formula One cricuit, facts people may not know, details about the cars and drivers, and the entire race calendar, including preseason testing results at Jerez and Barcelona.

Check out the rest of the infographic to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

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2013 Lincoln MKS

2013 Lincoln MKS

Next to the 2013 MKT debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, Lincoln has also presented the new MKS luxury sedan. For the 2013 model year, the MKS has received better handling, increased power, improved fuel efficiency, additional standard equipment, more refinement, and new technologies.

The model has received a contemporary new look that includes a new grille, HID headlamps, front fascia, hood, and front fenders. The rear of the vehicle was updated with a new fascia, LED tail lamps, new exhaust tips, and a new decklid design that improves access to the trunk.

The 2013 Lincoln MKS will be offered in three versions: V6 FWD, V6 AWD, and EcoBoost V6 AWD. The first two models are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that now includes twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and delivers a total of 300 HP (increased from the previous 273 HP). Fuel economy comes in at 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway for the front-wheel drive model and18mpg city/26 mpg highway with the all-wheel-drive model. The more powerful version gets a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers a total of 355 HP.

UPDATE 05/15/2012: Lincoln has unveiled a cool commercial for their latest 2013 MKS that takes us back in time and presents the most important moments from the company’s history. Enjoy!

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Lincoln MKS.

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Stock 2013 Nissan GT-R rocks the quarter mile in 10.87 seconds

Stock 2013 Nissan GT-R rocks the quarter mile in 10.87 seconds

The 2013 Nissan GT-R already made headlines days after its debut in November 2011 when Godzilla tore through the 0-60 mph sprint in just 2.72 seconds, slaughtering the previous year’s 3.5 seconds time. Now, DragTimes has launched their GT-R onto the Palm Beach International Raceway to do the dirty on the quarter mile. The team ran the car until the achieved the best time of the day: 10.87 @ 125.26 MPH. This was followed by a 0-60 MPH sprint of just 2.7 seconds and a 60-130 MPH time of 8.89 seconds (VBOX). Peak G forces on the launch were 1.3 G’s.

As a reminder, the 2013 Nissan GT-R is powered by the same twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine found on the previous model, but with the output increased to 542 HP at 6,400 rpm - an increase of 12 HP over the current model - and 466 lbs-ft of torque delivered from 3,200 rpm all the way up to 5,800 rpm. Despite the extra 12 HP, Nissan is promising that the 2013 GT-R will be more fuel efficient.

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Car Infographics: NASCAR 101

Car Infographics: NASCAR 101

The National Association for Stock Car Racing, or NASCAR for short, is the largest sanctioning body of stock car racing in the United States, with 75,000,000 fans tuning in to see which racer will run away with the first place podium finish. The 2012 Sprint Cup Series, one of the three largest racing series sanctioned by NASCAR, just wrapped up its eighth race on April 22nd, so with 28 races left in the series, Quicken Loans thought it would be a great time to have a rundown down of some NASCAR basics. Think of it as a NASCAR for Dummies, but we’ll sugar it up by calling it NASCAR 101.

The basics of the Sprint Cup Series consist of 43 drivers, 36 point races, 23 tracks, 12 finalists, and only one man to call a champion. Aside from that, this infographic will explain the nine flags that communicate any needed information to the drivers, - yeah, it’s more than just the white and black checkered flag - the breakdown of all the tracks, and some more basic number breakdowns for the series.

From how many people make up a pit crew (seven) to how many brownies are sold during Speedweeks (21,900), this infographic will give you everything you need to know to settle in next to the screaming guy with the beer can helmet. Ahhhh, the joys of racing events.

Check out the rest of the infographic to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

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2013 Mercedes Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes Benz SL-Class

Mercedes has been hot to trot lately with an onslaught of different models just spilling out of the German manufacturer. The SLS AMG is fresh and so is theSLK Roadster. And, as a next logical step, the SL-Class has also entered a whole new generation. The new SL continues the tradition started by its predecessor, but offers considerably more comfort and athletic character, setting new standards in the luxury roadster class.

The US market will only get the SL550 version - a model powered by a 4663 cc V8 engine that delivers a total of 429 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque. The engine will be combined with ECO stop/start function as standard equipment and a 7-Speed Driver-Adaptive automatic transmission. The European market will benefit from that model, as well as an SL350 version that will use a V6 engine with an output of 306 HP.

UPDATE 04/17/2012: Mercedes USA has released a new walk around video of the SL-Class Roadster. Be sure to give it a watch because the SL’s product manager, Dave Larsen, will be the one taking you through everything you need to know about the new member of Mercedes’ legendary SL line. Check out the video after the jump!

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Video: The 2013 SRT Viper gets introduced at the 2012 New York Auto Show

Video: The 2013 SRT Viper gets introduced at the 2012 New York Auto Show

There is something mind-numbingly fantastic about seeing a sports car get revealed for the first time. The theatrics, the music, the overall hype over the vehicle gets your adrenaline pumping. That’s the idea, isn’t it?

The press introduction for the brand-spanking new SRT Viper was nothing short of any of those descriptions. We’ve all been waiting for its reveal since the last generation Viper was axed and the wait was well worth it. The 2013 SRT Viper has received an all-new, timeless exterior design with a new carbon-fiber hood, roof, decklid, and aluminum door panels. As a first, the Viper will be offered with LED tail-lamps that integrate stop-and-turn illumination in one element.

It is powered by a new 8.4-liter all-aluminum, V-10 overhead-valve engine that delivers a total of 640 HP and 600 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any naturally aspirated engine in the world. The engine features a new, ultra-high flow and lightweight composite intake manifold, high-strength forged pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, new catalysts to reduce back pressure, and an aluminum flywheel that reduces reciprocating losses.

The Viper has received an updated Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission that has been improved with a shorter throw shifter, closer gear ratios and a final drive ratio that has been shortened to 3.07 from 3.55.

All in all, the 2013 SRT Viper is nothing short of amazing. Take a trip to its debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show by checking out these videos.

Second video after the jump.

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First Official Image of the 2013 Sante Fe

Hyundai was not shy about releasing a number of teaser images ahead of the Sante Fe’s official debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. They’ve spent the whole month of March bringing out these images and we’re just about fed up with the wait. Thankfully, we came across a little banner that helped us out on the journey. Say hello to the first official image of the 2013 Hyundai Sante Fe.

It may only be a few hours until the New York Auto Show officially opens it doors, but that was still too long to wait. After twelve years on the market, the SUV was well in need of a new generation. This new Sante Fe takes its design inspiration from the Veloster and the new generation i30. The car features Hyundai’s new Fluidic Sculpture design language, a set of new headlamps and taillamps, and a new set of 19-inch aluminum wheels.

The current model is offered with engines like a 2.4-liter gasoline engine with an output of 174 hp and 197 HP diesel engine capacity of 2.2 liter. For the new model, Hyundai will offer more power in out of a couple of four cylinder engines.

We’ll find out more about the 2013 Sante Fe as soon as New York opens its doors, so stay tuned!

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Porsche Recalls the Porsche 911 Carrera S Due to Fuel Line Concerns

Have you ever been in the middle of an awesome dream when all of a sudden it turned into a nightmare? Some Porsche 911 owners are feeling just like that now that Porsche has recalled 1232 Carrera S models over a fuel line issue. Apparently, there is an interference between the coolant line and the fuel line that can cause the fuel line to be disconnected at the quick connector. If the disconnect occurs, a fuel leak may follow causing the sports car’s to stall or misfire. Even worse, a fuel leak combined with an ignition source can start a fire.

We all remember the upheaval caused by the number of Ferrari 458 Italia models that went up in flames due to a faulty adhesive. The last thing we want to see is the sultry and iconic Porsche 911 reach a fiery end. The 911 has been the diamond in Porsche’s lineup since 1963 and the current model is the epitome of getting better with time. The 911 Carrera S is powered by a 3.8-liter flat-six with direct injection engine that produces 400 HP. This will take the Carerra S from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds when matched up with the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) transmission.

As of right now, there is a voluntary recall on the Porsche 911 Carrera S, but a safety recall will take place in April 2012. Porsche will be replacing the fuel line with a brand new one free of charge. Owners of the Porsche 911 Carrera S can call Porsche at 1-800-767-7243 to schedule an appointment.

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China's ongoing government imbalance leads to banning of Ferrari on the Internet

China’s ongoing government imbalance leads to banning of Ferrari on the Internet

China’s political party has been under fire recently with news of Bo Xilai getting the old heave ho after trying to remove the police chief from his position during a corruption investigation involving Xilai’s family. The internet with bezerk with the news and social media just hasn’t been the same in Asia. In fact, transfer of power in the Communist party is scheduled to be done in Fall 2012 and government officials are worried that this uproar will rock the boat way too much to do so.

Now, another incident has sparked the Chinese population’s interest in political unbalance. Early Sunday morning, a man was driving his Ferrari 458 at high speeds when he crashed in Beijing, splitting his car in two. The man died and the two women in the vehicle were severely injured. So far, this amounts to another tragic accident involving a superior sports car, but people in China are taking it even more seriously. Turns out, the internet went abuzz with rumors that the driver of the vehicle was a son of a senior communist party official, adding even more concern over the faltering balance in government. A story in the New York Times takes it a bit further by stating that Bo Xilai’s son, Guagua, actually drives a red Ferrari.

Blogs, websites, and search engines were being so heavily crowded with intrigue that any and all information surrounding the crash was removed from the internet altogether, as was the capability of searching for anything Ferrari-related.

A son of a political official driving a Ferrari raises a few question on its own. Some may wonder how a civil servant could afford to buy his son such a pricey sports car, while others may just get angry at the fact that government officials can afford these types of luxuries when others are stricken with poverty. When you throw in the minor detail that the son of an official who was being investigated for corruption drives a car like the one in question, then all hell is bound to break loose.

We’ll stay on top of the story and relay any details as soon as we get them.

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Falken Tire is prepared to give away a 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera

Falken Tire is prepared to give away a 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera

The beautifully exquisite Porsche 911/991 made its debut earlier this year and the number of people wanting to own one probably far outweighs the number of people who have enough money to do so. For the latter, Falken Tire is hosting a huge social media campaign that will see the grand prize winner driving away in a new Porsche 911/991 Carrera. Okay, so technically, the amount of money you make has no influence whatsoever on your chances of winning, but you get our point.

Falken Tire’s sweepstakes will launch today on their Facebook page, marking the beginning of the ALMS 12 Hrs of Sebring race weekend (March 16th-18th, 2012). Falken will actually be competing in the GT Class of the American LeMans Series with a 2012 Porsche GT3 RSR. Veteran Drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers will return to pilot the car.

For a chance to win the 911/991 sports car, all you have to do is head to Falken Tire’s Facebook page and "Like" it. Once that is done, players will be able to compete on a Falken-branded racetrack on CityVille and be entered to win the 911.

For official contest rules, please visit www.facebook.com/falkentire.

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Car Infographics: Britain is top pick for international car rentals

Car Infographics: Britain is top pick for international car rentals

If you are over the age of 25, there’s probably a good chance you have had to rent a car at least once. Be it because of an accident that has left you without a motor vehicle or because of some fine holiday traveling, rental cars are just about everywhere these days. In Europe, the UK saw more than its fair share of rental cars in 2011, dominating the commonwealth countries and the largest European nations in international rental car sales. Somehow, a certain royal wedding would be the obvious culprit of such an influx of travelers, but Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey weren’t the only sites to see. According to Facebook - via member checkins - the top five attractions of the UK were Alton Towers, Hyde Park, London Eye, Thorpe Park, and Leicester Square.

Following the UK in the running for most popular international car hire destinations was Spain (14.1%), France (12.6%), Italy (10.5%), and Portugal (4.1%).

Check out the rest of the infographic to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

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A Parisian's dedication to charging his Fisker Karma

A Parisian’s dedication to charging his Fisker Karma

While the development of charging stations and wireless charging continues on a productive path, some people choose to charge their vehicles in a much more practical - and dedicated - fashion. We received a tip on an owner of a Fisker Karma in Paris that goes to great lengths - literally - to charge his hybrid sedan.

In the 16th District of Paris in "Place d’iena," where homes sell for about $3 million, a reader was able to take a picture of this Fisker Karma with its extension cord snaked out of its window. The extension cord was then stretched up to the owner’s window and undoubtedly plugged in to charge. As if that’s not ballsy enough in a neighborhood where thieves probably salivate at the opportunity of someone slipping up in their defenses, the owner left the car there overnight! This guy must really want to make sure his car is charged before going to work in the morning.

As a refresher, the Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine producing 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

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Win a Factory Five Mk4 Kit through PowerBlock TV

Win a Factory Five Mk4 Kit through PowerBlock TV

Factory Five is known for being the premiere Shelby Cobra replica builders of the world, but how does their Mk4 Roadster stack up against the original 427? On March 17th and 18th, 2012, Powerblock TV will be airing episodes of MuscleCar TV that will show both cars stacked up against each other in a variety of driving categories. The Mk4 Roadster was jacked up with Ford’s new 5.0L Coyote engine, upgraded Wilwood brakes, Moser’s wavetrack rear end, and KONI’s latest double-adjustable shocks before both cars went to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a little one on one action. To watch the action, make sure you catch those episodes on March 17th and 18th, then again on March 24th and 25th on The Powerblock. Of course, if you want to be part of the action, then head over to the PowerBlock website, or visit the PowerBlock TV Facebook page where you can sign up to win the Ultimate Do-It-Yourself Package.

PowerBlock is holding a sweepstakes in which the winner will receive a complete Factory Five Mk4 Kit, complete with Ford Racing parts and Matco Tools, as well as a bunch of other prizes. All you have to do is sign up online to win. No purchase necessary.

Hit the jump to get full details on how to enter.

For full contest rules and all the wonderful fine print, go to http://www.powerblocktv.com/roadster/#!/rules

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Take a Great Picture and Win a Trip to the 2012 New York Auto Show!

Take a Great Picture and Win a Trip to the 2012 New York Auto Show!

Every year, the New York Auto Show is home to a number of debuts for some of the greatest automobiles around the world, and at this year’s show, you could be there capturing those moments when automakers pull back the covers to reveal their latest masterpieces. As part of SnapMyLife’s auto show contest, one lucky person will be chosen as the roving photographer for SnapMyLife and will be able to attend the two press days of the 2012 New York Auto Show to take pictures of the vehicles as they are debuted. These pictures will then be streamed during the official photo stream of the New York Auto Show. The winner will also get a brand new EOS Rebel T3i Digital Camera.

So, here’s how you enter. Take a photograph of a car and submit it to SnapMyLife. Then tell your everyone you know to click on the Like button associated with your image. At the end of the contest, whichever picture has the most likes will be declared the winner.

The contest is open to anyone in the contiguous United States who is at least 21 years old, be it professional or amateur photographer. Only original photographs that have not been previously published, for which the entrant possesses all necessary rights will be accepted as valid entries. Photographs that have won awards or have been subjected to any previous form of judging process will not be accepted.

Check out SnapMyLife’s entree and photograph criteria after the jump. For full contest rules and to check out the competition, head on over to SnapMyLife, but you better hurry; contest ends March 20, 2012.

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Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show hosts the Ultimate Custom Bike Builder Championship

Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show hosts the Ultimate Custom Bike Builder Championship

It’s Daytona Bike Week in Florida and part of the festivities will be the 2012 Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show where guests will be treated to a plethora of killer bikes, as well as celebrity guests and the presentation of the Ultimate Custom Bike Builder!

One of the more well-known names of the event will be Paul Teutul, Jr., the star of Discovery Channel’s hit series Senior vs Junior American Choppers. He and his cast will be available to sign autographs, and will also be showcasing popular creations such as the “Anti-Venom”, “Jared Allen”, “Black Widow”, “Gears of War”, and “Build-Off Bike”. Their biggest crowd-pleaser, however, will be the unveiling of an all-new custom bike. And if you attend the show on Saturday, March 17, 2012, you will also get the chance to be present during a live filming of an episode of American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, set to air the following week, on March 26, 2012 at 9 p.m. EST, on the Discovery Channel.

Other well-known builders from across the country will also be present, displaying their custom bikes and hoping to win the top prize and title of Ultimate Custom Bike Builder. Custom bikes will be everywhere and will feature amazing components such as specialty additions of Wii consoles, seats made of alligator skin, custom rims, military bikes made in fallen soldiers’ honors and more, including a builder who created a custom bike dedicated to breast cancer awareness, in cooperation with his local Susan G. Komen foundation.

The Ultimate Custom Bike Builder United States Championship will include an awards ceremony with over $14,000 in available winnings. Both local and contests from across the country will showcase their custom creations, but awards aren’t the only thing keeping the fans there. The Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show will also include gravity-defying performances from the Smage Bros Stunt Show of America’s Got Talent Fame, a vintage motorcycle showcase as part of “A Century of Motorcycling” Presented by Motorcyclist Magazine, and a huge motorcycle marketplace with the latest riding gear, apparel, and accessories.

Fans can begin the tour of custom bikes from the Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.), but can also attend on Thursday, March 15, 2012 (11 am – 7 pm) and Friday, March 16, 2012 (11 am – 7 pm). If you’re only looking to check out some of the amazing bikes in attendance, then these will be the days to avoid the crowds because Saturday, March 17, 2012 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) will more than likely be the busiest day to attend with the live taping of Senior vs Junior American Choppers taking place. The best part about the Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show is that the admission is FREE.

Of course, if you want to show up a little earlier, Daytona Bike week officially began on Friday, March 9, 2012, and ends Sunday, March 18, 2012.

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2012 Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

2012 Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

Bentley is making its way over to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show packing a highly distinctive and sporting interpretation of their luxurious Mulsanne model. The Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification Edition receives many new features, as well as debuting two new options for the full range of Mulsannes.

The Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification will be distinguished by a pair of sweeping wing vents made from cast, polished stainless steel, a black matrix grille, a new set of unique 21-inch alloy wheels, Bentley Flying ‘B’ wing vents, and Diamond Quilted leather trimmed cabin with driver-selectable, sports-tuned suspension and steering. Powering this luxurious model will be the usual 6.75 liter V8 engine delivering 505 HP, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination will allow the Mulsanne to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 184 mph - impressive numbers for a luxury limousine.

The Mulliner Driving Specification is set to be revealed next month at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, so stay tuned!

UPDATE 03/07/2012: We have added a series of new, live images from the Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner’s official debut in Geneva. Check them out in the picture gallery!

Hit the jump to read more about the new Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification.

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2012 Italdesign-Giugiaro Brivido

2012 Italdesign-Giugiaro Brivido

Italdesign-Giugiaro sent out a number of teaser images ahead of Geneva to get the ball rolling on their new hybrid sports car concept, but the day finally came for the new Brivido to take its place in the spotlight. The Brivido was built to celebrate the company’s 42nd appearance in Geneva and to show that impressive performance can be obtained without compromising fuel economy.

With that path in mine, Italdesign-Giugiaro created a functional, hybrid, four-seat prototype on mechanics from the Volkswagen Group. It is painted in a very cool Xirallic pearl luster red and combines elements like aluminum, carbon fiber, and glass. The car’s interior was developed in cooperation with the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab (ERL) in California and includes a unique docking system in the dashboard that allows an iPad to be completely hidden away or, with a gesture of the hand, partially exposed to work in a "Minimal" interaction mode.

The concept is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 360 HP and is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Nothing about that says hybrid to us, but that’s because the company has opted to leave the public out of the loop in terms of the hybrid portion of the engine. Performance figures, however, were provided, which is a nice change of pace. The Brivido can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds and can hit a top speed of 171 mph.

UPDATE 03/06/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images of the Italdesign Giugiaro Brivido.

UPDATE 06/11/12: The Italdesign-Giugiaro Brivido was in attendance at the recent 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. As always, Marchettino was in attendance and he caught the super car in all its glory. Check out the video after the jump!

Hit the jump for more details on the Italdesign Giugiaro Brivido.

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Porsche continues its 911 tribute with more videos of the iconic sports car

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Back in October 2011, Porsche held the Rennsport Reunion IV where Porsche enthusiasts and owners alike gathered to pay tribute to the iconic 911 sports car. More than 60 years of Porsche history was showcased at the event, highlighted by some of the rarest and most powerful Porsche classics in history, but the most anticipated part of the program was the launch of the new and improved Porsche 911/991.

This event was such an outstanding moment in history that Porsche continues to unveil videos showing off the vehicle that brought all of these devoted Porsche owners together to celebrate the sports car by which all others are measured. They’ve even come up with a snazzy tag line.

Our identity, our promise. Forever the sports car.

Of course, Porsche has much to celebrate. Their 911 has been on the market since 1963 with sales and loyalty from owners booming. Their latest iteration is the best ever, powered by 3.4L direct-injected flat-six engine that delivers a total of 350 HP, mated to a new, optional Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). This combination gives way to a 0-62 mph sprint time of 4.6 seconds, or 4.4 seconds when teamed up with the optional Sport Chrono Package.

The Porsche 911 Carrera S is powered by a 3.8-liter flat-six with direct injection engine that delivers 400 HP. This, plus the PDK, allows the Carrera S a 0-62 mph sprint time of 4.3 seconds (an improvement of 0.2 seconds). That improvement increases when the setup is matched up with the Sport Chrono Package, leaving a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds.

Both models can also be matched up with the standard, and the world’s first, seven-speed manual gearbox.

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Lexus LF-A put through it's paces by Alex Wurz

Lexus LF-A put through it’s paces by Alex Wurz

Lexus has just released a video in which they let Alex Wurz loose on Estoril Circuit in Portugal in their $400,000 LF-A. What did Wurz do? Well, he enjoyed the supercar in the only way a former Formula 1 driver and two-time Le Mans winner knows how.

Wurz let all 552 horsepower go as he raced the supercar around the wet track, drifting through the corners and all. When asked what he thought about the car, Wurz said "I love it. I can just take the car and run away."

The Lexus LF-A is powered by a 4.8 liter V10 that delivers 552 HP at 9,000 RPM and 354 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 RPM, with 90% of the total torque being available between the 3,700 RPM mark and the super car’s 9,000 RPM red line. As a result of such a road torque curve, the LF-A can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.7 seconds and won’t stop until it reaches a top speed of 202 MPH.

Check out the video and see the Lexus LF-A doing what it was built to do.

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2012 Lyonheart K

2012 Lyonheart K

In the past year alone, there have been two models designed for the sole purpose of honoring the Jaguar E-Type. Now we can add another vehicle to that list. Robert Palm, in collaboration with Bo Zolland, has created the Lyonheart K, a new sports car that will be built in its entirety in England.

Robert Palm, CEO of Classic Factory, said: "We want to make the ’Made In England’ label into a truthful concept, not just a statement. Every part of the Lyonheart K is developed, engineered and hand-built in England. The design clues of the Lyonheart K reflect Britishness at its best: cool, elegant, refined, understated yet powerful and dynamic."

Lyonheart’s design philosophy for the Lyonheart K was to only use genuine materials, like carbon fiber, leather, veneer, polished stainless steel, brushed aluminum, and chromed metal. In addition to these materials, Lyonhearts Cars is also offering a bespoke program that allows its customers to design the cars according to their wishes. Customers can opt for any desired material on the interior, pick their own, unique dials, or put their initials in the veneer or in the body color.

The Lyonheart K - or copycat Jaguar E-Type - is powered by a supercharged V8 engine with 550 HP. The car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and is electronically limited to 186 mph.

Originally, there was only one unit of the Lyonheart K produced to serve as a modern interpretation of the Jaguar E-Type, but it was such a worldwide success that Classic Factory decided it would offer the vehicle in a limited run of 50 units. The ordering book is now open, marking each unit with a $650,000 price tag.

Hit the jump to read more about the Lyonheart K.

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2012 Audi RS5

2012 Audi RS5

The Audi RS5 is headed to the US market, that much we already know, but in order to prepare it for its trip, Audi has decided to give it a little refresher. The 2012 Audi RS5 will be headed to our side of the pond with a few exterior modifications and an updated interior, but power will still come from the sports coupe’s V8 engine.

The facelift isn’t all that surprising considering the RS5’s slower brethren - the Audi A5 - received its own little modifications for the 2012 model year.

The facelifted RS5 has received several new, sharp accents to clean up its look, although at first glance, these changes may not be so obvious. The two that stand out the most are the new single-frame grille with beveled upper corners and standard xenon plus headlights with a more modern shape, framed by narrow strips of LED daytime running lights. Inside the RS5, Audi has dropped in race-style front seats.

The bells and whistles of the exterior and interior just about cover the minor facelift provided for the RS5. In terms of power, the sports coupe will be enjoying the fruits of the standard 4.2 liter V8 engine’s labor, delivering a total of 450 HP at 8,250 rpm and a peak torque of 317.15 lb-ft available between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph will be made in 4.6 seconds, while top speed can be increased to 174 mph, upon request.

UPDATE 07/19/2012: Audi has just released US pricing for the RS5. Customers will be able to snag this sports coupe for $69,795, including an $895 destination charge.

UPDATE 09/12/2012: Audi America did one o the most craziest things we have seen in the past few years: they took a RS5 Coupe to "Snake River Canyon" for a very crazy experience. Check the new video to see what we are talking about.

Hit the jump to read more about the Audi RS5.

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The Camaro may be the only cast member that stays loyal in Transformers 4

The Camaro may be the only cast member that stays loyal in Transformers 4

It all started with a group of alien robots ready to protect our Mother Earth from their evil counterparts, using vehicles such as the sculpted Chevrolet Camaro to adapt to our world. The Transformers franchise has come a long way, grossing billions of dollars in theaters, but the fourth installment may be a game changer for many.

Michael Bay, the director behind the first three movies, has announced on his website that he will return for the fourth film, but many of the main actors will not. Meghan Fox already jumped ship even before the third film, but it looks as though Shia LaBeouf is also out, and Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson may also be headed for the door.

So, what does this mean for the Transformers franchise? Well, we’re thinking not much. The last two films were more about the Transformers and Decepticons battling it out in intense and loud battles than they were about an actual storyline. We’re thinking that as long as the action stays on point, and more hot cars are introduced into the mix, the Transformers franchise will do just fine.

The new Transformers movie will be in theaters on June 29th, 2014.

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Jaguar’s New Campaign Emphasizes Beauty and Power

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Jaguar’s lineup is nothing short of spectacular, but to give the guys over in Marketing something to do with their time, Jaguar has launched a new campaign that highlights the beauty and power of the top three dogs: the Jaguar XF, XJ, and XKR-S.

The Jaguar XF has been described as the quintessential sedan. It’s sportiness and elegance are accompanied by a choice of three diesel powertrains and two petrol versions. For the diesel, you can opt for a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine, and a 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine, with power ranging from 187 HP to 275 HP. As for the two petrol engines, you have a choice between a 5.0-liter V8 and a 5.0-liter turbocharged V8. The former comes with 385 horsepower and 380 lb/ft of torque whereas the latter hits 510 horsepower and 461 lb/ft of torque.

The newest generation XJ is the first Jaguar model built on the company’s aerospace-inspired aluminum body technology. It sports a sleek and sophisticated design that’s a far departure from the past versions of the luxury car. The all-new Jaguar XJ brings a daring new spirit to automotive luxury, offering a seductive mix of striking design, breathtaking performance and engineering without compromise. US customers will only get the 5.0-liter V8 engine, in both naturally aspirated and supercharged versions, delivering a range from 385 hp to 510 hp. European customers will also get a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine producing 187 HP.

The new Jaguar XKR-S features exclusive new paint colors that reflect Jaguar’s racing heritage. As with competition Jaguar cars of the past, the exterior of the XKR-S adheres to the principle of form following function. Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s new Global Brand Director, describes the car as a "bold and exciting new model for Jaguar". He adds: "The styling of this car isn’t about image, it’s about true performance. Like other iconic Jaguar cars before it, the styling has been driven by geometry and aerodynamics for genuine design purity." Power for this elegant and stylish sports car comes from an AJ-V8 all-aluminum powerplant with twin-vortex Roots-type supercharger that delivers a total of 550 HP and 501 lb/ft of torque. This setup makes the XKR-S’ engine the most powerful Jaguar road engine ever made.

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

2012 Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

The run-up leading to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show is becoming fast and feverish and now, Chevrolet is joining the party with preparations for the unveiling of the Chevrolet Cruze Wagon.

They’ve just offered the first look at the vehicle, although it’s not much of a look considering that it’s one image of the rear end of the car. Nonetheless, it does give us a good idea of the extended wheelbase of the Cruze Wagon, as well as the accompanying new rear styling of the vehicle.

Not much has gone in the way of details, but the wagon variant does follow in the footsteps of the sedan and hatchback versions, which have become popular sellers since the model was launched a few years ago.

As far as aesthetics go, the Cruze Wagon measures 4,675 mm (184.1 inches) in length, with a total storage space of 500 liters (146.5 cubic feet) to the window line and nearly 1,500 liters (424.5 cubic feet) up to the roof top with the rear seats folded down. In terms of design, the Cruze Wagon has a remodeled front fascia, modified head-lamp interiors and fog lamps, new wheel styles, and as with most wagons go, there’s also the presence of roof racks. For the interior, Cruze models get refinements to the center console and a greater choice of seat finishes, as well as keyless entry and MyLink, a brand-new Chevrolet infotainment system. MyLink connects with your smartphone to display personal playlists, photo galleries, phone books, videos, and other stored media and data to a seven-inch diagonal high-resolution full-color touch-screen.

The Chevrolet Cruze Wagon, as with all of the Cruze variants, will be powered by a range of engines, including the current 1.6L and 1.8L gasoline engines, a new 1.4L turbo gasoline, a new 1.7L diesel, and an improved 2.0L diesel engine.

All the official numbers, as well as the full details surrounding the Cruze Wagon will be divulged at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, so stay tuned!

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2012 - 2013 Porsche 911/991

2012 - 2013 Porsche 911/991

The 911 is the most successful model in Porsche’s history. It started its long history back in 1963 and since then Porsche has offered five distinct generations: 911 classic, 964 Series, 993 Series,996 Series, and 997 Series. After a long wait and a hi-jacking of the official images, Porsche has revealed its sixth generation ahead of its official debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

It may be a little unorthodox for Porsche to be bringing out a new generation 911 despite the fact they just revealed a facelift version, but the requests keep changing and Porsche must answer the call of duty. Their latest target is improving both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The sixth generation 911, or the 991, will be a completely new vehicle, even though everyone will recognize it as a 911 model. Shortly after the launch of the 998 911, Porsche will also be releasing the Turbo, GT2, and GT3 in 2012.

UPDATE 02/08/2012: The new generation 911 is now officially on sale on the US market, with prices starting from $82,100 for the Carrera and $96,400 for the Carrera S (excluding destination fees). "Whether this will be a customer’s first or just their latest Porsche 911, it’s going to be the most invigorating ownership experience yet," said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. "The 911 Carrera and Carrera S are the ultimate choices for drivers who want the fun and excitement of a true benchmark-setting sports car week in and week out, not just for show or play during the weekends."

UPDATE 03/19/2012: An American customer took his new Carrera S to a drag strip in the US to see how fast the car could run the quarter mile. While the result is unofficial, it still stands at an impressive 12.04 seconds. That’s comparable to the current Nissan GT-R which has an official quarter mile time of 12.05 seconds. Hit the jump to check out the video of the 911/991 on the drag strip!

More details on the 2012 Porsche 911/991 after the jump.

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Super Bowl Ad: Kia has found "A Dream Car For Real Life"

Okay, so at first we thought Kia’s ad for this year’s SuperBowl was going to be the five-hour long video of Victoria’s Secret supermodel Adrianna Lima waving a checkered flag back and forth repeatedly. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, Kia has another way of advertising during the biggest football game of the year.

Their true SuperBowl commercial is called "A Dream Car. For Real Life." It features a couple who are visited by a sandman who sprinkles a little special dust on them to make for a couple of fabulous dreams. He accidentally drops the entire man on the gentleman and his dream because Kia’s high-powered ad featuring the Optima. In this ad, the man cruises around in his Optima while getting an eyeful of Adrianna Lima, UFC fighter Chuck Lidell, and American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, among other things. He performs the ultimate task however, when he rides into his wife’s perfect dream and rescues her from her dream man on the white horse.

If this commercial isn’t enough for you and you’re looking for a little more of the scantily clad Adrianna Lima, hit the jump. There, you’ll find five hours worth of some bare skin and flag waving.

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New Series, AutoExotika, is Sex on Wheels!

New Series, AutoExotika, is Sex on Wheels!

High tech dreams, art on wheels, poetry in emotion. This is what AutoExotika promises to feature when the new series kicks off.

What is AutoExotika? It’s a "high energy, high quality, celebration of the world’s most exotic automobiles and the men and women who design, build, collect and drive them." Basically, a team of experts will be filming at iconic racetracks, manufacturing plants, and some of the most amazing roads in order to provide viewers with an eyeful of auto erotica.

Aside from the scintillating vehicles to be presented, AutoExotika will be hosted by race car celebrity Ashley van Dyke, exotic car owner John Temerian, and serving as the brains behind the operation, technical and mechanical guru, Evan Blaustein.

Short of being able to tag along for what promises to be an insane ride, we can’t think of anything better than sitting back and experiencing AutoExotika!

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TopSpeed’s Fastest Cars of 2011

We’re rounding off our Best of 2011 lists with one that is near and dear to our hearts. This list is all about top speed and top speed only, those who have it and one who hopes to achieve it.

Of course, speed hopes are nothing new. The battle for the fastest car in the world has been ongoing since the sports and super cars first made their appearance and more than likely, it will never end. These past couple years have been a game of one-upmanship between SSC and Bugatti with both succeeding in one way or another. But who tops the list for 2011?

Before getting into that, we think it is important to note that we only incorporated vehicles that were sold in 2011. For example, the Koenigsegg CCX may have a top speed of 240 mph, but that production ended in 2010, which takes the supercar out of the running for this list in particular. Don’t worry, though, Koenigsegg is still well-represented.

Hit the jump to see the top ten list of the fastest cars of 2011.

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2012 Ford Racing Champions Shelby GT500 Special Edition Mustang

2012 Ford Racing Champions Shelby GT500 Special Edition Mustang

The Hagerty Fantasy Bid has catapulted since its inception in 2005, with bids coming in at 10 times the amount of the original game, and its latest offering illustrates this popularity. At the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Scottsdale Auction, Speed TV will be on hand to give away a special edition Ford Racing Champions Shelby GT500. All you have to do is make a bid during the Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game and you will be automatically entered into the drawing. The winner will be chosen by random drawing from the Fantasy Bid players.

But let’s get back to the actual car that’s up for grabs. The Ford Racing Champions Shelby GT500 Special Edition Mustang was given a few exterior aerodynamic and stylish upgrades, but it still features the standard 5.4-liter V8 engine. The engine, however, has been souped up with a Ford Racing Supercharger kit to take the standard 550 HP all the way up to 750 HP. This engine is then combined with a six-speed manual transmission that succeeds in sending the power to the rear wheels and a new, intense-environment C&R Racing cooling system and a 3.5-inch aluminum drive shaft.

The handling of power is achieved through a high-performance handling pack with Dynamic Suspension’s front-and-rear adjustable shocks, lowering springs, and stabilizer bars in the front and rear. Additionbally, stopping power will be acquired through the use of an upgraded Wilwood brakes package featuring 14-inch drilled, slotted rotors and six-piston forged billet calipers on the front, and 12-inch rotors and four-piston forged billet calipers at the rear.

Details on how to enter your bid during the Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game can be found after the jump.

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TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Supercar of the Year

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Supercar of the Year

Going through all of the glorious supercars of 2011 was no easy task, especially since it felt like every random country of the world was developing their own supercar. Each vehicle we came across deserved to have their time to shine on the list for best supercar of 2011, but as time went on, it was clear which ones stood out above all of the rest.

A couple of the supercars on the list shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially since they were created by one of the top supercar makers in the world. Then there are the relative newbies to the group that have received enough recognition to warrant praise from the average car enthusiast, but the final vehicle would probably not be recognized by many and its home country may actually cause ridicule to ensue. The end result, however, was enough to give it a spot on our list.

Hit the jump to check out which of the supercar bad boys made it to the top of our list for Supercar of the Year.

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2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Super Sport

2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Super Sport

A few years ago, Bugatti had set out to create the world’s fastest convertible car. They wanted "a car that would redefine the boundaries of technology in automotive construction while appealing to the aesthetically inclined and connoisseurs of exceptional automobiles." This idea gave birth to the Veyron Grand Sport which debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2008. Then, in 2010, Bugatti revealed the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport which had already been entered into the Guinness Book of Records with an average top speed of 431 km/h (267 mph). These two Bugatti models have had a successful go around in the automotive world, but at the tail end of the Veyron’s production, Bugatti has decided to smash these two vehicles together for one last and unforgettable special edition. World, meet the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Super Sport.

Just last week, Bugatti CEO, Wolfgang Durheimer, was discussing a future special edition displaying a Super Sport package for the Veyron Grand Sport model - the Veyron’s open top model. We figured this vehicle would be seen in a couple of years, but our spy photographers have already captured the first images of the vehicle entirely free of its camouflage.

UPDATE 01/04/2012: Bugatti has confirmed that the convertible version of the Veyron Super Sport will be making its world debut in March at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

Hit the jump for more details on the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Super Sport.

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TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Sportscar of the Year

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Sportscar of the Year

Before we even get into the top list of sportscar for 2011, we think it would be best to clear something up: the new Porsche 911 would have definitely made the list if it wasn’t for the fact that it won’t be hitting Stateside until 2013.

That being said, we have a few top hitters for 2011 that we would be foolish not to take notice of. It was a battle trying to choose between the plethora of options provided in the sports car segment, but what we ended up with was a range of 450 HP to 560 HP, 0-60 mph sprint times between 4.6 seconds and 3.7 seconds, and speeds topping out between 186 mph and 198 mph.

Among the sportscar heavyweights is the intoxicating Jaguar XKR-S, the luscious BMW M5, the curvaceous Chevolet Camaro Z06, and the maddening Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale.

Hit the jump to check out each of these scintillating sports cars in detail.

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Bologna Motor Show

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Los Angeles Auto Show

Homepage: Los Angeles Auto Show

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Essen Motor Show

Homepage: Essen Motor Show

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SEMA Auto Show

Homepage: SEMA Auto Show

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Paris Motor Show

Homepage: Paris Motor Show

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Orange County Auto Show

Homepage: Orange County Auto Show

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Miami Auto Show

Homepage: Miami Auto Show

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Frankfurt Motor Show

Homepage: Frankfurt Motor Show

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Moscow Motor Show

Homepage: Moscow Motor Show

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Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Homepage: Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

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Concorso Italiano

Homepage: Concorso Italiano

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Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Homepage: Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

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Mille Miglia

Homepage: Mille Miglia

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Beijing Auto Show

Homepage: Beijing Auto Show

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Top Marques Monaco

Homepage: Top Marques Monaco

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Dallas Auto Show

Homepage: Dallas Auto Show

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New York Auto Show

Homepage: New York Auto Show

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Texas Mile

Homepage: Texas Mile

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Geneva Motor Show

Homepage: Geneva Motor Show

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Atlanta International Auto Show

Homepage: Atlanta International Auto Show

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Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Homepage: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

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Chicago Auto Show

Homepage: Chicago Auto Show

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Canadian International Auto Show

Homepage: Canadian International Auto Show

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Tokyo Auto Salon

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Russo and Steele

Homepage: Russo and Steele

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Detroit Auto Show

Homepage: www.naias.com

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International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Homepage: http://www.cesweb.org/

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TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Famous Crashes of the Year

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Famous Crashes of the Year

Okay, so it may not exactly be appropriate to pick the best crash of the year, but considering many will be ringing in the new year in a drunken stupor, we think it best to remind everyone of the consequences of drinking and driving. Most of the drivers in the crashes we are featuring were not under the influence when these crashes occurred, but if these guys can get into a massive accident when they’re sober, chances are a drunk YOU will suffer consequences that are much worse.

This year actually brought out the worst in many drivers, some of which instigated accidents with multiple supercars, a vehicular dip into the Atlantic Ocean, and high speed rough and tumbles. Unfortunately, not all of these drivers survived these horrific crashes, which only drives home the point that we have to be extremely careful when operating our motor vehicles.

Remember to have a SAFE and fun New Year.

Hit the jump for the list of the most famous crashes of 2011.

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2011 Audi Q7 S-Line by Je Design

2011 Audi Q7 S-Line by Je Design

Audi is currently working on the second generation Q7 - it will be unveiled sometime in 2013 - but until then, there are some tuners that have found new ideas on how to improve the current model. One example of such a tuner is Je Design, who is offering a new tuning kit with both exterior and interior upgrades, as well as a power increase.

The Q7 tuning package is based on the S-Line model and adds an even sportier feel to the SUV. It includes new high-class wheel arches that increase the SUV’s width by 30 millimeters per side at the front and 40 millimeters per side at the rear. The German tuner is also offering front-spoiler corners, a Park Distance Control rear-apron extension, two Je Design double-tailpipe covers, and a dynamic roof wing with side covers above the C pillars. The complete styling package is available for 7,438 euros, or about $9,624 at the current rates.

The final touch for the exterior of the Audi Q7 is a new set of single-part 10 x 22 inch SUV Select alloy wheel rims. The five-spoke design wheels are wrapped around fitted 295/30R22 tires and available in three different color schemes: matte-black, front silver matte/shadow silver, front polished/graphite matte, polished lip. Customers can also choose the new JE DESIGN SCORPIO complete 10 x 22 inch wheel set in a new double-spoke design. This set can also be had in size 9 x 20 inches in matte-black with polished-silver rim flange. Both 22-inch complete wheel sets are available from 5,190 euros, or about $6,715 at the current rates.

Under the hood, the 4.2 TDI engine has undergone optimized programming of the control electronics to deliver an extra 70 HP and 99 lb-ft of torque. This brings the total power up to 405 HP and 660 lb-ft of torque from the standard 335 HP and 561 lb-ft of torque. With the extra power, the Q7 will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. The new control-system software is available for an added price of 1,499 euros, or about $1,940 at the current rates. This software includes a one-year guarantee for the engine, turbocharger, transmission, and drive train, which can be extended by another year for just 199 euros, or $257 at the current rates.

All told, the complete Je Design package for the Audi Q7 will run the customer somewhere around $18,536, depending on the currency rates and any additional tweaks they want to add.

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TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Coupe of the Year

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Coupe of the Year

Last year’s picks for the coupe of the year raged a war between the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang, but this year things are a bit different. In fact, neither one of these muscle cars made the list, simply because the new Camaro ZL1 isn’t available for purchase just yet.

With the two major muscle cars out of the running, we were still left with a ton of vehicles worthy of some time in the spotlight. Our choices for the top coupes of 2011 are kind of all over the place. From the Audi TT-RS’ return to the States to the Lotus Exige S and its road-going capabilities on the other side of the pond, there’s pretty much a flavor for anybody.

In fact, if we’ve missed one of your favorites, make sure to hit us up.

Hit the jump for our picks for the 2011 Coupe of the Year, in alphabetical order.

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2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG

2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG

Shortly after the release of the 2012 Mercedes SLK-Class, members of the automotive community began wondering what the AMG versions would be carrying under their bonnets. After a few months of teasing and spying, Mercedes has finally released the details surrounding the 2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG leading up to its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

With all the details and information we received about the car, it seems that most of them will come with the version we’ll see in Frankfurt, including changes like an improved hood/nose shape with a new front spoiler, a new air dam with larger intake inlets, and rectangular quad-tipped tailpipes. The Mercedes will also get its usual array of large and shiny forged alloy wheels, big brakes, AMG badging, and color options.

The 2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG is powered by a new 5.5-liter V8 engine that will deliver 422 horsepower with a peak torque of 398 lbs/ft. This engine will be mated to a 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic with AMG SpeedShift technology.

UPDATE 12/29/2011: Mercedes has unveiled yet another new video of their latest SLK 55 AMG in action. Enjoy!

More details on the 2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG after the jump.

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TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Concept of the Year

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Concept of the Year

There are so many auto shows throughout the course of the year that it’s hard to keep up with all of the cool concepts brought to each one. Then again, some of these concepts are so outlandish that they will never see the light of production day anyway, leaving us with the feeling of being offered a delectable chocolate cake only to be reminded of our New Year’s weight loss resolution.

Even if production chances are slim for some, concepts hold a special place in all of our hearts because of the attention to detail automakers put into them. Automakers use these concepts to put out just how much they are capable of doing and quite possibly may do on their future models.

From three different, color coordinated layers of information to V12 engines with spectacular power outputs, concepts have a way of getting underneath our skin and staying there until the production model is attained. This year, our choices are unmistakable and in no particular order: the Jaguar C-X16 Concept, the BMW i8 Concept, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato Concept, the Chevrolet Mi-Ray Concept, and the Nissan Juke Nismo Concept.

Hit the jump for details on each of these imaginative concepts.

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New Porsche Boxster Interior Spied; Takes Cues from Panamera and 911

The anticipation for the future generation Porsche Boxster is gaining momentum with spy shots aplenty of the sports car doing its rounds out on the streets. Unfortunately, any interior shots have been obsolete, but AutoExpress was able to snag one just in time to keep that momentum going. Their spy shot illustrates the fact that the future Porsche Boxster will be taking a page out of the Panamera and 911’s new updated interiors. The interior will feature an extended transmission tunnel with a bank of switches located behind the gearlever. These switches control the electric folding roof and the PASM active dampers, among other things. The satellite navigation system will receive a new, larger color screen and the seat will get softer leathers and higher grade metals and plastics.

The 2012 Porsche Boxster will be built on a platform that is longer than the current one. This lengthening is vital to the lineup if Porsche wants to be able to squeeze in the future baby Boxster. As far as power goes, the Boxster will use a slightly revised version of the 310-HP 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine, but rumors suggest that it might receive an advanced four-cylinder engine producing about as much horsepower as the current 2.9-liter six.

Along with the engines that are expected to be carried over, expect the short-throw six-speed manual and Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission to also carry over. The PDK works well, but we do have some complaints. The transmission can be somewhat awkward to operate in manual mode when using the steering-wheel-mounted buttons, not to mention the paddles can feel a bit cheap. We hope that this is corrected on the next-generation model, and with the updated interior, that may very well be the case.

Expect the future Porsche Boxster to be revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

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2012 BMW X6M

2012 BMW X6M

With the 2012 BMW X6 well on its way to a refreshing change, our spy photographers have captured what seems to be an odd looking X6M version lapping the Nurburgring. The body is clearly an X6M, but if you take a look at the air scoop on the hood, you’ll notice that it has been changed up a bit to allow for more airflow. This leaves us with some rather interesting choices as to what can be hiding underneath the hood.

For starters, it could be a high powered version of the twin-turbo V8 typically found in the X6M, but it could also be the rumored tri-turbo high-power diesel engine. If it’s the latter, then that would make this a test mule for the BMW X6 xDrive 55dM (name not official). Insiders at BMW have said that the tri-turbo diesel engine would appear in the facelifted X6 first, followed by an appearance in the 5-Series line as the M550dX. Whichever model gets priority over this engine, it is said to develop around 500 plus horsepower (between 500hp and 540 hp) and a torque north of 650 lb-ft., which would explain the adjusted scoop and increased air flow.

UPDATE 12/02/2011: BMW has unveiled the first teaser video of their upcoming facelift X6 M equipped with the company’s brand new tri-turbo 3.0-liter diesel engine. The video is called “A new chapter powered by M. Step 1," which can only mean that the official debut is getting closer!

UPDATE 12/15/2011: BMW has unveiled a new teaser video for the upcoming X6 M. Called "A new chapter powered by M. Step 2," the new video features Brian Watts - BMW M GmbH Head of Global Sales and Marketing - who describes the car as follow: "This is a new kind of car. On every road, you feel like you’re on a race track."

We’ll continue to stay abreast of this mystery and get back with official details as soon as they become available.

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2012 BMW 1M by GC Automobile

2012 BMW 1M by GC Automobile

The highly modified BMW 1-Series M Coupe seen in these images is not the spawn of an Autobot, although its Transformer-like accessories would lead us in that direction. No, this aggressive looking BMW 1M is actually the product of a French racing team looking to add a little strength and intimidation to one of this year’s biggest attractions.

GC Automobile - that professional French racing team we mentioned - is offering up the first race tuning package for the BMW 1M, calling it the GC10-V8. The project began with the standard BMW, then went on to get a fiberglass tourism car body with aggressive detailing just about anywhere we can feast our eyes on. The sharp angular lines in the design language fulfill the tuner’s task of aggressive intimidation, down to the composite wide fender flares housing the new set of 18" wheels with either rain or slick tires and that huge rear spoiler. Control will be optimized with a 3-way OHLINS suspension system, an AP Racing 6-piston braking system, and a GP2 steering wheel.

The BMW 1M by GC Automotive was built on a tubular frame chassis typical of Silhouette cars that meets the FIA standards. This chassis houses a very proud Chevrolet V8 engine tuned by Sodemo Development to produce a maximum output of 550HP. This engine is mated to a SADEV 6-speed double "Lobro" transmission with a hydraulic clutch. Engine cooling is then provided by a prominent roof scoop.

GC Automotive also took are of the vehicle’s safety features, including front and side crash boxes in both doors.

Hit the jump for the GC Automotive BMW 1M’s first testing video on the Nogaro circuit in Southwest France, as well as a full list of specifications.

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Interview: Gran Turismo Creator Kazunori Yamauchi

Interview: Gran Turismo Creator Kazunori Yamauchi

It’s not every day you get to sit across from one of the most phenomenal minds in the gaming industry, so when we got the chance to have a chat with Gran Turismo creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, we took it with open arms.

We did our best warming up to him with a few questions about how he got into the industry and whether he figured himself to be a programmer or a business man, before we got down to the nitty gritty. Unfortunately, being the professional that he is, Yamauchi stayed tight-lipped about any of the new features to be applied to the recently confirmed Gran Turismo 6.

He did, however, agree that the Gran Turismo franchise did not provide gamers with enough room to play around in the tuning of their chosen vehicles. He stated that it would be better for gamers to have wide freedom when tuning their vehicles, but that it all really came down to a battle against time. And anyone who remembers the number of delays the gaming world had to deal with before we got GT5, understands exactly what he means.

That being said, if Gran Turismo 6 does show up with significant improvements in tuning, we’re totally taking the credit for suggesting it to Yamauchi.

Hit the jump for more information on Gran Turismo 6.

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2013 Infiniti JX

2013 Infiniti JX

After displaying the JX Concept at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Infiniti has finalized the ideas behind the SUV with a production version unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The new crossover will be offered in two models - the Infiniti JX35 FWD and Infiniti JX35 AWD - and will go on sale in the spring of 2012 at a starting price of $40,450 and $41,550 respectively.

The 2013 Infiniti JX has received emotive styling and craftsmanship, featuring the new Infiniti design language direction initiated with the Essence concept. It utilizes a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers
265 HP at 6,400 rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. The engine is mated to a sport-tuned Continuously Variable Transmission to provide high responsiveness and seamless, efficient shifting feel.

One new technological feature that stands out from the rest is the Backup Collision Intervention system. This new system warns the driver if another vehicle is entering his path and, if needed, can even apply the brakes to help avoide the collision if the driver does not properly react in time.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Infiniti JX.

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2013 Lincoln MKT

2013 Lincoln MKT

Lincoln has unveiled the 2013 MKT at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The revised crossover offers a dramatically improved ride, sharper handling, better fuel economy, and new safety technologies including rear inflatable seat belts. The new 2013 MKT will go on sale in the spring of 2012.

"The 2013 MKT with Continuously Controlled Damping delivers a surprisingly vibrant blend of ride and handling. It’s more than you’d expect from a full-size, three-row luxury crossover," said Scott Tobin, Director, Lincoln Product Development.

For 2013, The MKT will be powered by the standard 3.7-liter V6 engine that includes twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and delivers a total of 300 HP - an increase from the previous 268 HP. Customers will also be able to choose a twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers a total of 355 HP at 5,700 rpm and 350 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Lincoln MKT.

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Car Infographics: How Many Cars Were Recycled Last Year

Car Infographics: How Many Cars Were Recycled Last Year

Recycling is huge nowadays. Everywhere we go there are canisters for our glass and plastic bottles, as well as our old cans. Small contributions like this can make a big difference, but there are other items out there - bigger items - that can be recycled into some pretty cool merchandise. Take cars, for example. An estimated 10 million vehicles are recycled every year, giving them the title of the #1 recycled product in the U.S. 75% of the materials that make up each of those 10 million vehicles is entirely recyclable, which can translate into many different things.

The biggest product recyclable from a vehicle is metal. A car is 8% non-ferrous metal and 69% ferrous metal, totaling 77% of the vehicle. The recycled metal from just one car can make 22,400 matchbox cars. Any one with a child knows just how important those matchbox cars can be to children and that’s just the metal from the car.

Another big recyclable goodie from vehicles is rubber. Rubber only makes up 3% of the recyclable material in a car, but that number is significant when translated into usable terms. 80% of all scrap tires are used to make recycled products and 2.7 million tires can be recycled into 30 million lbs of playground surfaces.

Bottomline: Recycle those old, beat up cars and make some kids happy.

Check out the rest of the infographic to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

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2013 Ford Mustang

2013 Ford Mustang

There’s been plenty of talk about the new generation Ford Mustang coming at us in 2015, but in order to keep buyers interested in the top-selling muscle car, Ford is offering an updated version for the 2013 model year. This refreshing take on the Mustang will come with a few exterior changes as well as a power upgrade. And with only one day before its official debut in Los Angeles Ford has revealed all the details on the 2013 Mustang.

For the 2013 model year, the Ford Mustang has received a new exterior design with a more prominent grille, a new hood, and new LED signature lighting, all which give the latest Mustang a high-tech look. The standard version keeps the same 3.7-liter V6 that develops a total of 305 HP.

"We are delivering a more distinctive and emotional design presence that celebrates the total performance of Mustang," said Darrell Behmer, Mustang chief designer. "This latest Mustang design is very respectful of its heritage while continuing to look forward with a more powerful and modern look."

UPDATE 11/15/2011: This review has been updated with official information and images.

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New Audio Book Facilitates "Truckers' Road to Health"

New Audio Book Facilitates "Truckers’ Road to Health"

Whether we realize it or not, the health of truckers across our nation is of great importance to our economy and our communities. These men and women spend hours on end delivering products to homes and businesses across the USA, with one in 16 jobs being directly tied to trucking. This leads to poor nutritional habits and a sedentary lifestyle taking a toll on their bodies, leading them to battles with lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, exhaustion, and back problems, to name a few. But if they are not sitting, they aren’t making any money, so what are they to do?

The Man in White.ORG (TMIW) is now addressing this issue in a way that no other organization has done before; they have released a 4-disc, audio book (CD), titled “Truckers’ Road to Health” that educates truckers on their health. Unlike educational tools provided to truckers in the past, this audio book was written by respected medical specialists and broken down into laymen’s terms to make it easily understood by all. Topics covered in the educational audio book were chosen after interviewing hundreds of truckers, leaders in the trucking industry, and medical specialists, and include pulmonary disease, hypertension, cardiac disease, diabetes, nutrition, vision, obesity, back pain, exercising on the road, stress management, sleep apnea, and recommended health screens. Risk factors and preventive measures are discussed, along with proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle issues. The best part about this audio book is that truckers do not need to stop making money to learn about their health; they can do it while they drive.

Full story after the jump.

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Aston Martin One-77 and Cadillac Ciel mark their North American debut with Best in Show

For automakers, there’s nothing better than showing up at the debut for one of your automobiles and getting a top notch award for your hard work. Aston Martin, Cadillac, and Ford will vouch for that since their One-77, Ciel Concept, and Focus Plug-In Electric Vehicle were all given best in show awards at the 41st annual South Florida International Auto Show (SFIAS) by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA). SAMA had to choose between many of the participants in Miami, but in the end, these vehicles were chosen because of their styling and marketability.

The Aston Martin One-77 was awarded the “Star of the Show” trophy because the nine-member SAMA judging panel decided it was the single vehicle on display at the show that South Floridians will most want to see. Other vehicles considered for the award were the Audi A7, the Lexus GS sedan, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Toyota Camry, the Range Rover Evoque, and the Hyundai Veloster.

The Cadillac Ciel Concept was given the Best Concept Vehicle in the Show because of its stunning beauty and because SAMA considered it a forerunner of future Cadillac styling. Meanwhile, the Ford Focus Plug-In Electric Vehicle took home the “Best Green Technology Vehicle” in the show because of the fact that it is Ford’s first non-emissions, plug-in electric car to be mass produced and marketed in the United States. Other vehicles considered were the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Toyota Prius V, and various manufacturers’ hybrid and clean diesel technology vehicles.

The South Florida International Auto Show (SFIAS) runs until November 6, 2011, so stop by the Miami Beach Convention Center to check out these award-winning models.

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Rendering: Get past the MP4-12C setback and check out our McLaren Special

As if it wasn’t bad enough that after six years of development, the McLaren MP4-12C gets a rather disappointing - considering McLaren’s formidable reputation for speed - 7:28 Nurburgring lap time, the vehicle also has to deal with the safety issues that have recently plagued its existence. But fear not, McLaren followers, the company has already started to work its way past these problems and have even laid out a number of variants that will hopefully hit the market at a faster rate with better results.

We all know McLaren will update the software needed to fix the issues and we find ourselves to be a group of rather positive and forgiving people, so instead of focusing on the mess McLaren has gotten themselves in, we’re going to look towards their future success stories. We don’t exactly know which model the market will be privy to first, but McLaren has three variants in their automotive pockets to dazzle the crowds in their chosen auto show: the McLaren MP4-12C Spider, the McLaren MP4-12C GT version, and the new successor for the F1 supercar, being called the McLaren MegaMac. We’ve come up with renderings for all three to provide an insight past the drama.

Hit the jump to get details on McLaren’s three new MP4-12C variants.

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Subaru/Toyota FT-86 will be badged as Scion in the US: Features extremely low center of gravity

The Toyota/Subaru FT-86 creation has been buzzing about the internet since the two announced their partnership, but after months of concepts and hearsay, a Subaru source has provided a bit of official information about the new sports car. The FT-86 will be arriving in the U.S. badged as a Scion FR-S and will feature one of the lowest centers of gravity of any vehicle out on the market. It will actually be right behind the Porsche GT3 and the Ferrari 458, thanks to the boxer engine provided to Toyota by Subaru. Subaru’s boxer engine has a flat, low profile that balances weight efficiently and provides quick handling response and flat, confident cornering.

We’re expected to see debuts of all the FT-86 variants when the Tokyo Motor Show opens its doors in December 2011 so we’ll have more details on those models at that time. Subaru’s version of the FT-86 is also being considered for an STI version which could come sporting a new generation, naturally aspirated (not turbocharged as with other STI models) 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine.

Speaking of the STI, Subaru sources also say that the new STI will take at least two years before coming to the market and will be drastically different from the base Impreza. In fact, this is part of Subaru’s plan to separate their conventional models from their performance models. The Impreza was put together with an eye out for economy, but the STI will be a different beast altogether. It will get its own engine, one that will have nothing to do with the Toyota engine created for the FT-86 project and will make it easier for Subaru to market the vehicle as a performance model. No specific figures were given, but we expect the new STI to carry a turbocharged version of the 2.5 liter boxer engine with more than 305 HP on tap. The engine will be mated to a fully synchronized close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission.

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