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Only in Russia: Drunk Man Crashes Stolen Tank into Store; Proceeds to Steal a Bottle of Wine

Only in Russia: Drunk Man Crashes Stolen Tank into Store; Proceeds to Steal a Bottle of Wine

Don’t drink and steal a tank, people!

Stealing cars is a pretty common occurrence all over the world. But stealing a tank? That rarely happens, that is unless you live in Russia where bizarre crimes happen more often than you think. That was the case in Russia where a man stole an armored personnel carrier and rammed it into a grocery store, all because he wanted to steal a bottle of wine.

The crazy caper was caught on video by witnesses to the crime, a lot of whom, according to Reuters, described the criminal as being inebriated when he crates the combat vehicle into the unsuspecting store. Apparently, the man got his hands on the APC while it was parked in a “motorsport training ground.” From there, he drove the military vehicle through a forest and into the town before setting his sights on the convenience store. Along the way, he crushed and damaged a few cars, including a Daewoo that was completely flattened.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the man’s reckless behavior. The building itself received relatively little damage considering that a tank drove into it. Videos taken during the act also show onlookers not looking particularly concerned that a military vehicle was laying waste to its town. Some people walked nonchalantly by, sometimes getting within arm’s reach of the vehicle without even acting surprised about what they’re seeing. The man ended up getting arrested while he was still holding on to his stolen wine, putting a cork to this bizarre episode.

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A Russian Car That Can Fly? One Russian Company Is Working On One

A Russian Car That Can Fly? One Russian Company Is Working On One

It’s a nice thought, but I’d wager on flying pigs being closer to reality

History has had a long love affair with the flying car. We’re no closer to realizing that dream, but that hasn’t stopped some people from shooting for the stars. Companies like Terrafugia and AeroMobil have ventured into developing one to varying degrees of success. Now you can add Yagalёt to the list. If you don’t know who or what this company is, you’re not alone. Yagalёt is a Russian company that has grand visions of being one of the first companies in the world to develop a flying car. We literally have no details on how it plans to go about doing it, but we do have a single rendering of a sports car that features hovercraft technology, or so that’s what Yagalёt claims. It’s a nice dream to see flying cars roam the friendly skies. But, until there are concrete advancements in technology that will push the concept of a flying car closer to reality, it’d be best to take this news with a grain of salt.

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2017 BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition

2017 BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition

This exclusive luxury sedan for the Russian market

BMW has released another special edition model, but again, it’s not headed to the U.S. Such a reality has become the norm for us even though it doesn’t get any easier to come to grips with. This time, the German automaker is rolling out a special edition 7 Series exclusively for the Russian market. The model goes by the name BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition, and as its name suggests, it’s dressed up in all layers and manners of black.

From a distance, the special edition 7 Series looks exactly like the kind of car that a Russian oligarch would own. The all-black look gives it business-like swag and the fact that it’s based on a 7 Series is another indication that Bimmer Russia is keen on rolling this out for the upper-echelon of Russia’s social class. In keeping with its identity, the 7er Black Ice carries plenty of exclusive features, not the least of which is the paint finish that was used in it. Apart from that, the luxury sedan also boasts of an aerodynamic kit from BMW M Sport, interior upgrades courtesy of BMW Individual, a new set of wheels, and enough of the automaker’s newest and most advanced tech features. And for vanity’s sake, there are also badges throughout the car denoting its “Black Ice” name. I suppose that at some point in the future, we’re going to get our turn and have more of these special edition models head to our soil. But now’s not our time yet, so the only thing we can do at this point is admire what other market is getting from Bimmer. And, in this case, it looks like the Russian market got itself a good one from the German automaker.

Continue after the jump to read more about the BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition.

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An Easter Egg Feature On The GAZelle Next Allows You To Play an Iconic Game

An Easter Egg Feature On The GAZelle Next Allows You To Play an Iconic Game

Care for a round of Tetris, anyone?

If you haven’t heard of the GAZelle Next, then don’t feel too bad because I’ve never heard of it either. At least not until today when it was brought to my attention about a certain easter egg found on the Russian-made light commercial vehicle that allows you to play Tetris. Yes... Tetris.

Falling in the “to-see-is-to-believe” segment of TopSpeed is this video of a man demonstrating how to unlock the game in the most unlikely of places. The video is in Russian, so it’s hard to decipher the exact steps that were done to unearth the game. Good thing, then, that our friends from Motor1 managed to unlock it with the help of Google Translate. Apparently, the first thing that needs to be done is to turn the ignition on and start the vehicle. Once the engine is running, the next step involves pulling down the right turn signal three times and turning the high beam on two times. Then you push the clutch five times, rev the engine up to 3,000 rpm, and then rotate the left knob of the instrument cluster for a few seconds. Then it appears, small enough to be indistinct, yet still cool enough to actually play around with.

The demonstration continues as the right knob appears to have the ability to move the bricks horizontally while the left knob is used to drop them down. It’s unclear how exactly the bricks can be rotated, but we can make do without knowing that crucial information. The mere fact that Tetris cane played from a car’s instrument cluster is cool enough itself. Just make sure not to do it when you’re on the road. Oh, and try finding an actual GAZelle Next here in the U.S. You’ll probably have an easier time finding a needle in a haystack.

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After Watching This Video, We're Pretty Sure that Russia is Building a Terminator

After Watching This Video, We’re Pretty Sure that Russia is Building a Terminator

And, it begins……

Remember what happened in the Terminator timeline? Well, let me sum it up for you right quick: Humans built AI and Robots, robots and AI became self-aware, Robots and AI determined that humans were a threat. Next thing you know, robots are exterminating humans in the future and humans are hacking said robots to send them into the past to fight other robots that are there to change the past. It’s an all-out, robot-on-human temporal warfare. In the 1980s and 1990s, this all seemed like fun science fiction, but the future is here folks, and Russia is well on its way to building a full-fledged terminator minus the organic, human-like skin, of course.

I mean, seriously, this thing can shoot guns, drive a car, workout, and at one point in the video, you see it using a syringe and a drill to do other somewhat complex tasks. As you can see, it’s not exactly perfect when it comes to using the tools, but it’s pretty damn accurate with a gun and apparently drives pretty well too. According to the video, the robot is being designed as part of a peaceful space mission, but if that’s the case, why has it been programmed to shoot guns? If history has taught us anything, when it comes to war, humans will use whatever technology they have to get an advantage over the enemy. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t put it past Russia to use something like this as a weapon. But, for now, take a look at the video and let us know what you think in the comments section below…

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Mechanic Dies After Crashing Russian MMA fighter's Lamborghini

Mechanic Dies After Crashing Russian MMA fighter’s Lamborghini

A deadly reminder of why it’s never a good idea to speed on public roads

It’s one thing to own or drive a vehicle like the Lamborghini Murcielago, and it’s another to push yourself and the car beyond the limit. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened recently when two men were transporting Russian MMA fighter Adam Yandiev’s Murcielago to a repair shop.

The driver, who was a Mechanic at a workshop in Moscow, was killed instantly. The passenger, who was found to be breathing but unconscious at the scene was transported to a hospital where, as of the time of this writing, he was alive but still in a coma. As you can see from the image, the car had to have been travelling at a high rate of speed at the time of impact, as the car was almost cut in half by the lamp pole.

We were able to find a video from the scene that was recorded from a GoPro camera on a motorcycle rider’s helmet. In the video description, the poster claims that an iron base column was bounced more than 90 feet away from the vehicle in the event of the collision. When the rider arrives at the scene, debris is seen pretty far away from the car itself.

Note: If you’re going to watch the video, be aware that it is quite graphic, as both passengers are still in the vehicle during the recording, and emergency personnel had yet to arrive. If you have a weak stomach or have children around, you might want to skip watching this one.

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Engine Oil Counterfeit Ring Gets Busted In Russia

Engine Oil Counterfeit Ring Gets Busted In Russia

Proving that just about anything can be copied these days, a counterfeit ring dealing in the production of fake engine oil was running rampant in Moscow until it was busted by Russian police. Numerous reports say that two young entrepreneurs were the brains behind the large-scale counterfeit scheme. The modus of the ring entered on producing counterfeit engine oil and packaging it in plastic containers used by popular brands like Shell, Total, Mobil, Elf, and Castrol, among others. The extent of the operation even involved the production of OEM engine oil from automakers like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen and BMW.

According to the same reports, the shadiness of the entire operation stretched all the way to Belarus where the people running the illegal outfit would acquire oil canisters that would then be processed in abandoned factories in Moscow. Once the fake oil is created, gallons upon gallons of it would be poured into plastic cans that resemble those of a specific brand. These cans would then be labelled according to the brand. Photos taken after a raid of one of the abandoned warehouses revealed products like Total Quartz 7000, Ford Formula F, and Shell Helix HX7. All these products came in their traditional packaging and the crooks behind the ring even went as far as creating caps and cases that also resembled the real things, making it difficult for like-minded folks like you and me to tell the difference.

The products were then sold all over Moscow, including in auto parts shows and events. It got so profitable for the masterminds that, according to Russia’s Ministry Department for Economic Crimes and Corruption, the business was raking in excess of $164 million a year.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Porsche Winter Festival In Russia: Video

Porsche Winter Festival In Russia: Video

For a lot of folks out there, it’s the same old story. You get up in the morning, shuffle over to the window, and groan as you pull the curtains back to reveal foot upon foot of powder, stretching as far as the eye can see. It lasts for months, and as sure as the Earth keeps spinning, it’ll happen again next year.

But maybe we’re just looking at it the wrong way. Maybe instead of seeing the snow as a hindrance, we should look at it as an opportunity.

That’s what Porsche did recently at Moscow Raceway. The German automaker brought a variety of AWD machinery to play in the low-grip conditions. Attendees enjoyed ice sculpting, dogsledding, ice-skating, inner-tubing, and of course, plenty of test-drives to hone those car-control skills. On loan were a few 911s, Panameras, Macans, and Cayennes.

Even if your ride doesn’t hail from Stuttgart, you can throw your own Winter Festival at home. Just find an empty parking lot devoid of anything terribly solid, set up some orange traffic cones, and have at it. When the cops ask what you’re doing, kindly explain to them “Ich übe mein Russisch. Ist das nicht großartig Winter?”

Click past the jump to read about the Porsche Cayenne GTS.

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"Stop a Douchebag" - Or How To Enforce Traffic Regulations In Russia: Video

"Stop a Douchebag" - Or How To Enforce Traffic Regulations In Russia: Video

In most civilized countries, keeping the sidewalks free of cars needs no special enforcing from a higher authority, but when it comes to Russia some things are almost backward. For example, a youth movement called "Stop a douchebag" in a not-so-literal translation had to be invented in order to show certain Russian drivers a thing or two about law and order. The footage in the video is just one example of the kind of work the group does.

In short, a few vigilantes walk around sidewalks carrying large round stickers and blocking any vehicle that tries to circumvent car traffic on pedestrian pathways. Most drivers back off, especially when they realize that their stunts are also being filmed, but some are more belligerent, to say the least. This usually results in verbal and even physical confruntations that make for some pretty good examples of how not to behave in public.

The funny bit is that, at least in this video edit, the jumpiest Russian drivers are women. Further escalating the conflicts, the "Stop a Douchebag" folks plaster large round stickers right on the windshields of the aggressive drivers who won’t back off. As the stickers obviously obscure view and seem pretty hard to remove, some confrontations escalate into downright brawls in other videos posted by the vigilante group.

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Total CEO Dies in Plane-on-Plow Crash In Moscow

Total CEO Dies in Plane-on-Plow Crash In Moscow

Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive officer of French oil company Total, died in a plane crash in Moscow when his private jet collided with a snow plow at the Vnukovo International Airport on Monday night. He was the only passenger on the plane, although the plane also carried three crew members. All four died when the plane caught fire after the collision.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation on the incident and has confirmed that the driver of the snow plow, identified as Vladimir Martynenko, was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Martynenko, through his lawyer, has denied the accusations.

De Margerie was reportedly in Moscow to attend a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday. The Total CEO even met Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, at the latter’s country residence outside Moscow to discuss foreign investment in Russia.

The loss of de Margerie is a big blow to the French oil company. He was widely regarded as the driving force that turned Total into a heavyweight in the oil industry, steering the company to levels of success it had never reached before he took over as CEO.

Understandably, his untimely death came as a shock to a lot of people, including French prime minister Manuel Valls, who hailed de Margerie as an “extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant.”

Even the company’s competitors voiced their shock over his unexpected passing. Lord John Browne, the former CEO of British Petroleum (BP), sent a tweet to express his sadness over de Margerie’s death, calling the Total chief a “creative, inspiring, breath of fresh air” that will be missed by the entire oil industry.

Our sincerest condolences go out to the families of Christophe de Margerie and the three crew members that lost their lives over this horrific accident.

Click past the jump to read more about Christophe de Margerie

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Chevrolet Niva SUV Concept

Chevrolet Niva SUV Concept

About 16 years ago Chevrolet launched the Niva, a mini SUV spawned from a joint venture between General Motors and Russian manufacturer AvtoVAZ. The Chevrolet Niva is based on the no-nonsense Lada Niva, which has been around since 1977 without major updates, using the same Russian-built underpinnings. But don’t let the dated appearance fool you, the Chevy Niva is a capable off-roader that can put many modern SUVs to shame.Nearly two decades after rebadging the Lada Niva, General Motors is finally upping the ante to deliver a more appealing second-generation SUV. For the moment only a concept, the new Chevrolet Niva is a massive departure from the current SUV, boasting an all-new design, a more rugged appearance, and revamped drivetrain.

The production model won’t break cover until 2016 and we likely won’t see it in the United States, but it’s definitely a vehicle worth a mention. If you like to spend your weekends taking on the roughest off-road paths in your SUV, then the Niva Concept is a rock climber you need to have a look at.

Click past the jump to read about the Chevrolet Niva SUV Concept

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2014 Porsche 911 GUM Red Square Edition

2014 Porsche 911 GUM Red Square Edition

Continuing on the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Porsche 911, the German automaker is taking it to a whole new level with the introduction of a unique and Russia-exclusive 911 called the GUM Red Square Edition.

We’re saying it’s unique because the car doesn’t only celebrate the 911’s 50th anniversary. Equally important is the fact that this special edition 911 was also designed to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the GUM department store in, of course, the Red Square.

Looking at the car itself, Porsche decided to dress it up with a Pascha Red color for the body. If you’re not familiar with the shade, don’t feel too bad because it’s a unique color that was used exclusively for this model.

In addition to the fancy color and the inclusion of a new sports exhaust system and a new set of 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels, the 911 GUM Red Square Edition also received some interior enhancements by a Luxor Beige finish. The light and classy trim is further complemented by a mahogany wood trim, a body-color key fob and stainless-steel sill plates that bear an illuminated "GUM Red Square" badge.

No performance enhancements were given to the car, so expect to see the same 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 400 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque. Taking all that into consideration, the 911 GUM Red Square Edition accelerates from to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds in its base setup or 3.9 seconds, if you opt for the PDK transmission.

Click past the jump to read about the Porsche 911

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Video: Dangerous Russian Driver Smashes up an X5 M and DS4

Video: Dangerous Russian Driver Smashes up an X5 M and DS4

Here is the U.S., we sometimes take for granted the safety on our roads. Well, the above video may just remind you…

When this video begins it appears to be an ordinary day for the driver, with everyone driving quietly through a tunnel. But, what starts nice ends up as a big mess really quickly, as a driver of a DS4 decides to test the limits of his compact hatchback.

The cars involved in this incident are a BMW X5 M and a Citroen DS4, both driven at high speeds. And when both speeding cars zip past the poor guy taking the video and attempt to merge into the same lane, the destruction begins.

The problem is that not only those two irresponsible drivers were involved in the crash, but also a bunch of other cars which had no other fault that just being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Please remember this is not the way you are supposed to drive a car, so please do not try this at in your car!

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Video: Ken Block and GoPro Hit the Slopes in Russia

Video: Ken Block and GoPro Hit the Slopes in Russia

Ken Block has been making the rounds in Europe lately. After a stop in Hungary, which resulted in some serious fun with the Ford Sierra, Block and the boys over at GoPro decided to have some fun in the frozen woods of Mother Russia.

The promo video actually had an objective: have Block "kill" as many of these cameras as he could. He’s not riding a an old Sierra; this time, it’s his trusty rally Ford Focus he goes to battle with against the prying lenses of GoPro HD Hero 2 cameras.

It’s a rollicking, fun video that we’ve come accustomed to from a dude like Ken Block. Having an "objective" like smashing cameras along the way only makes it that much more entertaining.

If you’re looking for an unexpected ending, stick to the end of the video and you’ll see why some local Russians apparently aren’t too fond of Block.

If you need any reminder just how awesome Ken Block is, click past the jump to see the complete set of videos of the web series that made him a household name: Gymkhana.

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Video: Nissan GT-R Sets Russian Ice Speed Record

Video: Nissan GT-R Sets Russian Ice Speed Record

A month ago, an Audi RS6 fitted with Nokian Tyres set the ice speed record, clocking in a top speed of 208.6 mph. It was a mighty impressive pace that should stand for a while, or at least until after somebody else decides to take a crack at it.

Recently, though, a bone-stock Nissan GT-R tried its luck in a crust of ice at Russia’s Lake Baikal. Piloted by Russian drivers Roman Rusinov and Andrey Leontjev, the GT-R set a pretty blistering lap time of its own, hitting a top speed of 294.8 km/h (183.18 mph).

It still fell short of what the RS6 was able to accomplish a month ago, but the time was still good enough to set the Russian ice speed record for a stock production car.

We know that records these days are only as good until somebody else beats it. But that doesn’t take away from the impressive feat Nissan Russia and the two racecar drivers managed to accomplish.

We give props where it’s due and the people involved in the attempt and subsequent record deserve a lot of credit. It’s not easy to drive on ice at such high speeds, but you all know that.

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2013 Audi A5 DTM

2013 Audi A5 DTM

With DTM racing returning to Russia for the first time in 30 years, German automaker and perennial contender, Audi, recently brought their racing maven all the way to the Red Square.

The unveiling of the Audi A5 DTM at the Russian capital comes six months before the inaugural race for the most internationally-recognized Touring Car series kicks off at the Moscow Speedway. Guess the Four Rings is trying to get a head on scoring some Russian fans before the Moscow stage of the DTM calendar descends on the Russian capital this coming August.

Two-time champion, Mattias Ekstrom, and 2012 double race winner, Edoardo Mortara, were on hand to present the A5 DTM itself. Built with a CFRP monocoque with an integrated fuel tank and plenty of crash elements, the 2013 A5 DTM was built and designed to bring out the ultimate DTM race car.

And with a 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 460 horsepower and mates to a six-speed sequential gearbox, the A5 DTM is far from a slouch, matched only by superior handling credentials in the form of an independent front and rear suspension with double wishbones, a pushrod system with spring/damper unit, and adjustable gas pressure dampers.

To handle that kind of power with the rigors of racing, Audi fitted the A5 DTM with a set of 18-inch forged-aluminum wheels wrapped in Hankook tires and backed by a hydraulic dual circuit brake system with light-alloy monobloc brake calipers, and ventilated front and rear carbon-fiber brake discs.

Suffice to say, the new A5 DTM is ready for some DTM action in the Motherland.

Click past the jump to read the full specs on the A5 DTM and Audi’s press release

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2008 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera by Total Race

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera by Total Race

Seemingly every day another tuner is upping the ante on the potential-filled Lamborghini Gallardo. The latest one we have for you is a 2008 Gallardo Superleggera tuned by Total Race out of Russia. The guys at Total Race installed custom-built CP pistons, Carillo connecting rods, ferrea valves and springs, custom valve guides and seats, custom camshaft, CNC-ported head, billet lower intake, dry sump and custom oil tank on the 5.0-liter V-10 engine. Then they bolted up a pair of Precision 7175 turbochargers that pump 35 psi of boost into the intake.

All of those modifications get the V-10 engine up to an eye-popping 2,000 horsepower – only 1,730 horsepower was measured, due to wheel slip on the dyno. The internal modifications and balancing allows the engine to reach a peak speed of 10,000 rpm.

Total Race then installed a new billet front differential, custom transfer case and electronics, which allows straight rear-wheel drive or 50-50 all-wheel drive. The final addition to the driveline is a set of custom gears inside the Lambo’s 6-speed manual transmission.

The car hasn’t been run on the track since it has hit 2,000 horsepower, but at 1,500 horsepower it ran a quarter mile in just 9.5 seconds at 270 km/h (169 mph) and it rips off a full mile in just 22.18 seconds – a world record — at 395 km/h (245.44 mph). At 2,000 horsepower, Total Race estimates a 7-second quarter mile and 20 seconds to hit a full mile.

There are two videos of this impressive Gallardo, the one above is of the car on the dyno and the one after the jump is of its world-record 1-mile run. Enjoy!

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2013 Nissan Juke-R by Shpilli Villi Engineering

2013 Nissan Juke-R by Shpilli Villi Engineering

So what’s a car buff to do when Nissan completely crushes your dreams of ever owning a Nissan Juke-R by building only a handful of them and charging €500,000 ($649,550 at the current exchange rate) for it? Build your own, silly. Then build more, market it, and hope to God that Nissan doesn’t sue you into bankruptcy.

Well, this is exactly what Russian Company, Shpilli Villi Engineering, has done – well, almost. So far Shpilli Villi has only built a one-of model and it’s downright ignorant. This custom-built Juke-R features the GT-R’s 3.8-liter V-6 engine, but Shpilli Villi fitted it with a pair of HKS turbochargers and what sounds to us like the GT-R’s transmission and driveline too. This is good for a whopping 700-plus horsepower on regular pump gas or over 800 ponies when you manage to get a little 109-octane petrol in it.

This one-off Godzilla-meets-Juke features a coat of white paint – unlike the official Juke-R – a set of monstrously wide rims, wheel flares and a center-dump exhaust that produces all sorts of awesome tones. Though the images are a little scarce and the videos don’t show much of it, you can make out that this Juke-R does boast at least the instrument panel from the GT-R, but reports indicate that it has the entire GT-R interior.

What’s best is that the creator of this monster took it to the Nürburgring and let it loose, all while taking plenty of videos for us to see. We’re still trying to dig up more information on the vehicle, but at this point there isn’t much available on it. The only other bit of information we have is that Shpilli Villi will be building and selling these Juke-Rs to customers.

Hit the jump to see the video!

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2005 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard by TOPCAR

2005 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard by TOPCAR

TOPCAR has popped back into the TopSpeed offices, straight out of Russia, with an all-new bespoke vehicle. Last time we caught up with our Russian custom car friends they were getting their Panamera Stingray 9/25 ready for the 2012 Moscow International Automobile Salon. Now they have delivered us a little more comfort and loads of safety with their Guard upgrade kit for the 2005 through 2013 Mercedes-Benz S600.

TOPCAR began by stripping this S600 down and adding in bullet-proof glass and paneling to keep its occupants safe. While the armoring is cool and likely costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, we are interested mostly in what the armor is protecting. No, not the occupants, we are talking about that gorgeous interior!

The entire interior covering has been removed and replaced from headliner to floor – yeah, we said the floor too – with an elegant blend of lozenge-textured crocodile, Nappa, and Alcantara leather. Sure, using crocodile leather isn’t the most PETA-friendly thing in the world, but when you have the roughly $100K that TOPCAR put into the interior, you can tell PETA to go save a squirrel. Plus, we’re pretty sure their presence in Russia is nearly non-existent.

The crocodile leather wraps up the seats, doors, dashboard, and floor. Gracing the luggage compartment is diamond-quilted Nappa leather, making a comfortable ride for your golf clubs or whatever else you like to stick in your trunk. With our contact at TOPCAR volunteering that sometimes the term “crazy Russian” is justified, we will leave the other trunk-dwelling objects to your imagination.

You also get a huge amount of custom Karelian birch wood trim to set off all of this beautifully crafted leather. To wrap up the package, TOPCAR replaced all of the Benz’s lowly chrome trim with gold-covered pieces. I mean, you can never rock crocodile leather with chrome trim after Labor Day, right?

“Wow” just about sums up this car. When it comes to tiptoeing the line between fantastically gorgeous and horrendously overdone, TOPCAR toed that line with the expertise we expected. Awesome job!

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2012 Lada Xray Concept

2012 Lada Xray Concept

Large companies, like GM, seem to have issues keeping new model leakage under control. We are not completely naive, so we do understand that some of these leaks from large automakers are actually orchestrated by the automaker itself to help drum up interest. Still, there is the occasional major leak that some disgruntled design team member decides to plaster all over the Interwebz.

Well, Lada, a Russia-based company much smaller than GM, but a relative success in the Russian market, kept its recently unveiled SUV under such tight lock and key that it took all of us aback when it was debuted at the Moscow Motor Show. The Xray, as Lada has dubbed this concept SUV, is nothing like any other SUV it has ever produced and it looks like something that belongs in a worldwide production model’s lineup. That said, don’t look for this SUV, or any Lada for that matter, to make its way to the U.S.

The styling of this crossover SUV is not something you would expect to see from a budget automaker, like Lada. It does, however, show how Lada’s eyes are on the future, making its cars more stylish and offering up a wider range.

UPDATE 09/06/12: The first official video of the Lada Xray Concept has just gone live. Click on the photo above to check it out!

Click past the jump to read our full review and find out more about the basics of the Lada XRay Concept.

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Report: The Subaru BRZ STI’s Future Isn’t So Bleak After All

We all know and mostly love the WRX STI that Subaru pumps out each year. The latest model produces a stout 305 horsepower and 290 pound feet of torque through Subaru’s famed AWD system, all for a relative bargain of $34,000. Unfortunately, the STI nameplate has never extended beyond the WRX lineup.

That may become a thing of the past, as Subaru debuted its Forester TS, which is tuned by STI to pump out 259 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque from its 2.5-liter 4-banger, to its newest market – Russia. What in the world does an STI-tuned Forester in Russia have to do with more STI models in other countries? Well, according to a report by Autocar, this is simply a test market.

This test will gauge the demand of an STI-tuned car, besides the WRX, in a market other than Japan. A Subaru insider was quoted as saying “It’s clear that STI’s abilities and experience could work on other cars in other markets,” and “Confining them to WRX projects doesn’t make sense when the demand is there.” This would lead us to believe that if the Russian Forester TS succeeds, then Subaru would be start expanding its STI lineup in other markets, like the U.S.

All we can hope for it that the Forester TS takes hold in Russia and Subaru decides to expand the STI lineup in the U.S. to the Subaru BRZ. We know that’s beating a dead horse, but this insider info really shows that this is becoming more of a possibility. This also points to the possibility of a turbocharged Forester STI coming to the U.S., which could give Subaru some much needed help fending off the turbocharged 2013 Ford Escape.

Who knows, we may just run into a performance crossover SUV war soon.

Hmm, that’s kind of scary... We guess little Billy and Sara would always make it to soccer practice on time.

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2012 Porsche Panamera Stingray GTR

2012 Porsche Panamera Stingray GTR

On August 29th, the Moscow International Automobile Salon 2012 kicks off and it is scheduled to run through September 9th. For this upcoming show, TOPCAR has put together an entrant in the form of a 2012 Porsche Panamera customized to the gills. This Porsche Panamera Stingray GTR is actually the 9th edition of 25 upcoming Stingray GTR models.

We are not necessarily huge fans of the Panamera and even less of fans when it comes to customized models. So many companies tend to go way overboard restyling the Panamera and they actually end up taking away the little character that this Porsche sedan actually has.

TOP CAR has taken to this Panamera from top to bottom, decking out its interior, exterior, engine, and even the brakes in an attempt to not just make it look better, but run with the best of them. Can TOP CAR really pull off the nearly impossible by handing us a well-designed Panamera with accents where they need to be, or did they just roll out another Panamera hack-job like we usually see?

Click past the jump to read our full review to see how it stacks up.

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2012 TagAz Aquila

2012 TagAz Aquila

Straight from the heartland of Russia comes a new, four-door coupe that actually looks pretty good in our eyes.

This car is the TagAz Aquila, a car that will be launched later in 2012 in Russia. No word yet if it will find its way outside of its country, but we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it on our shores in the future.

The Aquila, as we already mentioned, is described as a four-door coupe, something the Porsche Panamera has been labeled as in the past. But unlike the German sports saloon, the Aquila is being pegged as a car that will carry high-end aesthetics, top-of-the-line equipment, and most importantly, an affordable price tag.

The Aquila will be powered by a 1.6-liter engine, a sign that you probably shouldn’t expect a whole lot of "coupe-like" speed. We’re thinking it will come with about 110-210 HP, depending on whether or not they slap on some turbochargers to help out. This would make it something more like a Hyundai Veloster than a Porsche Panamera, but we’ll give TagAz an "A" for effort in their marketing ploy. Execution, not so much.

What the TagAz Aquila does have is a five-speed manual transmission, ABS, EBD, dual airbags, power steering, power mirrors, heated, power windows, door locks, air conditioning, front parking sensors, and rear sensors with a rear view camera.

TagAz is far from a household name in the industry and they need to establish themselves in a business that has too many big names. The Aquila is a pretty good step in that direction and it certainly helps that the starting price for one is just 400,000 rupees, which is around $12,000 based on current exchange rates.

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