Thứ Sáu, ngày 13 tháng 3 năm 2009 / Nhãn:

Lamborghini lets new LP650-4 Roadster out of the stable

Posted Yesterday, 10:56 AM by Alex Kaufmann

Lamborghini LP650-4 Roadser leaked
The car will be a limited-edition model with just 50 units availableSpecial edition supercars are almost as plentiful as the base vehicles themselves these days, but hey, who's complaining? Lamborghini adds to the bounty today with the official unveiling of the Murcielago LP650-4 variant, a beefier, brawnier - and yes, even more aggressive - version of the standard Murci.

The car gets a 650hp (485kW) 6.5L V12 mill like that found in the Reventon. That amount of Raging Bull will get the AWD supercar to 62mph (100km/h) in just 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 205mph (330km/h). This upgraded power bump will be unique to the LP650-4 Roadster, according to Lamborghini.

The exterior is a special flat gray called ‘Grigio Telesto’ and is accented with bright orange elements on the side skirts and front lip, as well as in strategic locations inside the cabin. Dark ‘Hermera’ alloy wheels finish off the dramatic exterior. The brake calipers and engine cover are also finished in this same orange coloring found inside the car, while contrasting carbon-fiber is used to adorn the engine frame and disc brakes.

Inside, the car gets an asymmetric dashboard, acres of Alcantara with special black Alcantara Nera on the driver's side, and leather with Arancio Leonis stitching, and a few other unique touches.

Only 50 of the cars will be built, with a starting price expected to nudge up against $380,000 (€295,000).

Gallery: Lamborghini Murcielago LP650-4 Roadster

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Sam Hubinette drifts the Lamborghini LP670-4 SuperVeloce

Posted Yesterday, 12:51 PM by Ralph Hanson

Lamborghini's LP670-4 SV
The promo vid shows just how serious a machine the new SV really isNo one doubts the credibility of Lamborghini's most performance-focused vehicles, whether on the street, the track or environmentally conditioned multi-story garage. But knowing they are impressive and seeing how impressive they can be with a talented driver behind the wheel are two different things.

Enter Sam Hubinette - D1 drifter and general hooligan behind the wheel. Let him loos with 670hp in a super light, high-performance Lambo, and the result is sure to be a tire-smoking, sideways-sliding festival of speed. Just take a look at the video to see for yourself.

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First Volvo S80L long-wheelbase sedans roll off the line in China

Posted Yesterday, 12:31 PM by Jeremy Weber

2009 Volvo S80L sedan
The long-wheelbase version of the S80 stretches an additional 5.5in (14cm) over the standard modelLast November Volvo announced it would release a long-wheelbase version of the S80 sedan for the Chinese market, and today that car has begun sales. There are no expectations the car will be available outside of China, following a trend of other carmakers in building unique limos for the country.

The S80L is based on the standard S80 sedan, but been locally tailored and specifically designed for the market in China, where it will also be assembled. It shares all the features with the shorter S80 but stretches an additional 14cm in length, with most of the extra space benefiting rear seat passengers. Five variants will be available, with various trims and engine packages to choose from.

Power of the top model comes from a 285hp (210kW) 3.0L T6 turbocharged inline six-cylinder, and is routed through an automatic gearbox to Volvo's AWD system. The combined drivetrain is enough to scoot the limo to 62mph (100km/h) in just 7.2 seconds - not bad for a fairly large car.

Volvo has enjoyed stable growth since entering China. It released its first locally built model, the S40, in 2006, and today it sells both the S40 and the flagship S80 in the Chinese market.

Audi recently released a similar sedan - a long-wheelbase version of the A4. Like the Volvo S80L, there are no plans to sell the Audi A4L LWB outside of China, demonstrating the importance of the Chinese market to global carmakers as well as the unique forces and demands within that market.

Gallery: Volvo S80L

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New Audi A8 will be available with four-cylinder turboNew Audi A8 will be available with four-cylinder turbo

Posted Yesterday, 9:59 AM by Alex Kaufmann

2011 Audi A8
This new rendering reveals a sleek and aggressive new look for next-generation A8The current Audi A8 has been on sale since 2003 and since that time has only received a minor facelift to keep it fresh alongside the Mercedes Benz S-Class, Lexus LS and recently revealed BMW 7-series. The minor styling changes implemented during the recent facelift will have to soldier on for at least another year as the next-generation ‘D4’ A8, according to latest reports, is expected to arrive in the second half of next year as a 2011 model. The reports also claim a new entry-level model fitted with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be offered for the first time.

A prototype for the car has been spotted undergoing cold weather testing on a number of occasions, but always hidden beneath the current D3 body. Tell-tale signs that the prototype was the next-generation model included extended fender flares, a stretched wheelbase and wider track.

As the rendering suggests, the design of the new model will be an evolution of the current car. The aluminum spaceframe body will carry over, saving engineers more than 150kg compared with a conventional steel body. The car’s final curb weight is expected to range from between 3,630lb (1,650kg) and 4,180lb (1,900kg) depending on the model specification. The newest rendering diverges somewhat from earlier previews of the car with new slotted lower air intakes in the front air dam and redesigned LED-edged headlights.

Distinguishing features will be a large single-frame grille, LED daytime running lights and a coupe-like profile. In a previous interview, Audi's chief designer Stefan Sielaff explains: "The first generation was very dogmatic and product-design-like. With the second generation, the theme was 'elegance'—softer, flowing lines. The upcoming third generation will be stronger, sharper, and more precise."

Sielaff also revealed that the new A8 will be “the first of a new styling language at Audi”. In 2008 Audi released several teaser sketches of its future product lineup, including the new D4 A8.

Under the new sheet metal will be an extended version of the modular platform used in the A4, but expect to see more exotic materials such as aluminum and magnesium employed to help save further weight and improve dynamics. The base model will remain FWD but AWD variants will feature the latest quattro torque vectoring SportDifferential, which distributes drive individually between each axle and between the rear wheels for improved traction and stability. There will also be electronic control for the air-suspension, steering, pedal response and transmission systems.

The aforementioned four-cylinder engine will output around 230hp (172kW). The introduction of this engine will help Audi meet new emissions regulations planned for Europe, according to Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, who also revealed during his interview with AutoTelegraaf that the engine has been successfully tested in a number of A8 prototypes. This engine will almost certainly miss out on a U.S. launch but some smaller V6 options could be heading Stateside for the first time.

Filling out the rest of the engine range will be a 250hp (186kW) 3.0L V6 TDI, a 290hp (216kW) 3.0L V6 FSI, a 340hp (253kW) 4.2L V8 TDI, a 372hp (277kW) 4.2L V8 FSI and finally a 620hp (462kW) 5.0L V10 FSI reserved for the S8. A 12-cyclinder engine is also expected to be offered but it could be phased out due to low demand and the all-important emissions regulations.

2009 will be very busy for Audi as the carmaker is not only launching the new A8 but also the V10-powered version of the R8, the new TT-RS, the A5/S5 Cabrio, A5 Sportback, A4 Allroad, the S4, and a Q7 facelift.

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GM dealers not ordering new cars due to uncertain brand futures

Posted Yesterday, 11:18 AM by Ralph Hanson

In what is set to become a terrible domino effect, lagging demand for new cars and an uncertain future at Hummer, Saturn and Saab dealerships is leading to an inventory pile up. That, in turn, means dealers are ordering no new cars, driving General Motors' production schedule even further out of alignment.

Output in the first quarter was down 57% across GM's U.S. operations, or about 500,000 vehicles short of Q1 2008's output. That is a major decrease in new cars being produced, but it's still outpacing dealers' ability to move the cars off the lots, reports The Detroit News.

"If they tell us what they're going to do with the brand, we'll tell them when we're thinking about ordering new vehicles," said John Java, a Saturn dealership owner. "We're starving to death."

Overall, GM's inventory levels have fallen somewhat, to about 781,000 vehicles, a decline of about 20,000 since January. But despite dealer uncertainty and a still very large supply of inventory, GM is planning to actually increase production to 550,000 cars in the second quarter, though the figure is likely to be reduced as sales continue to stagnate.

Other carmakers are feeling the same pressures as GM, but in smaller magnitude. Ford, for example, has chopped its standing inventory by about 33%, while even Chrysler has shaved almost 20% of its stockpile of cars and trucks. By comparison, GM's decrease of 17% since 2008 is on the low side.

The only thing that can really turn the situation around, however, is increased sales. Government stimulus packages and carmaker incentives are doing their best to drum up demand, but in the end, it will come down to the American consumer to snap out of the slump.
The slow market is backing up the entire supply chain

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Best Places to Retire 2008: Healthiest Places Edition

Posted September 15, 2008

Golf, boating, and nature are just a few of the things readers told us they are enjoying in retirement. For our second annual list of great places to retire, we asked readers to tell us about their healthy retirement haven. Here are 10 additional retirement gems worth a look.

Asheville, N.C. "I am 44 and do all of my training in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, road biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway, running the scenic Mountains-to-Sea Trail, swimming in our clean national park lakes and rivers, and mountain biking the hundreds of miles of challenging trails of the North Carolina Arboretum." Todd Gothberg

Austin, Texas "I like the climate, culture, and nice people in Austin. We go to the opera, concerts, pools to swim, and live [near the] forest." Gabriel Cacuci

Fairhope, Ala. "There are a lot of ma-and-pa shops downtown but no fast food and no chains. There are an awful lot of beautiful flowers on every street corner in every season. And people will look me in the eye and say hello." Norm Wachtl

Huntsville, Ala. There is "a great four-season climate, no recession, lots of job openings, very little crime, a very high percentage of professional people, the latest and best in shopping and entertainment, and very good schools, all in a beautiful area in the Smoky Mountain foothills.... Many veterans who were stationed here and worked on the big Redstone Arsenal move back here for retirement." Mel Fisher

Pensacola, Fla. "In Pensacola, nearly everything revolves around water or beach recreation, and the beaches have sand like very fine, white sugar. I bought a 30-foot Hunter sailboat when I moved here and have a 15-foot speedboat for fishing.... Life is very laid back, easygoing, and the cost of living is much cheaper than we imagined it would be along the Gulf Coast. We were very surprised at all the festivals throughout the summer, from crawfish to local art, and all the fishing tournaments that seem to be every weekend. Two weekends ago, a shark fishing tournament was held, and the winner was over 900 pounds." Elaine Helen Pike

Providence, R.I. "Providence, R.I., is a neat place to live if you've got some money. Between Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design, there is plenty of intellectual opportunity. The water and scenery are gorgeous, with plenty of boating, sailing, and fishing. Boston is under an hour away. The Patriots are even closer—just 20 minutes. Amtrak scoots you into NYC if you want it." Barry Fain

Reno, Nev. "Thanks to the gaming industry, we get lots of big-name music and shows that a town this size otherwise wouldn't get." Gina Pogol

Seattle, Wash. "It has the Puget Sound on one side and Lake Washington on the other. We take the grandchildren to the zoo, go down to Alki Beach, and go up to Mount Rainier." Perry Frumkin

Tyler, Texas "There is a great civic theater, two different concert series each year, a four-year college, an excellent two-year college, lakes, and hunting. The two colleges both have plays and other entertainment." Jerry Bellis

Wilmington, Del. "The University of Delaware offers a good program at its Academy of Lifelong Learning.... Courses are given by volunteer members in a broad range of subjects, with frequent talks by University of Delaware professors, organized trips, and University of Delaware theater programs.... Wilmington also has the well-known Winterthur Museum and Country Estate.... In addition, Delaware does not have a sales tax." Paul Steyermark

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Porsche GT Coupe based on Panamera sedan

Posted Yesterday, 11:41 PM by Ralph Hanson

2011 Porsche GT Coupe (928 successor)
The car is almost certainly in production and should be on the market late next year as a 2011 modelBack in 2003, Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking gave a speech where he hinted at the possibility of a new 2+2 coupe. In the years that followed, no other mention of such a vehicle was heard until the confirmation of development plans for the recently revealed Panamera sedan. But is the new Panamera four-door coupe the same car Wiedeking was first hinting at all those years ago?

The Panamera would easily lend itself to a proper two-door coupe body, and Porsche would be smart to spread development costs for its new front-engined rear-drive platform by launching more models based on it. The new car could also serve as a successor to the V8-powered 928 – something fans of the classic GT have long been longing for since its demise in the mid 1990s.

The new car would likely be called the GT Coupe but unlike the Panamera it would be an all-out performance model rather than a comfortable tourer. This computer generated shows what a two-door version of the Panamera would look like, revealing a stylish grand tourer with classic Porsche proportions.

Engine options would likely mirror those of the Panamera, which means a range of V8 powertrains as well as a new V6 unit. Power outputs would range from 300hp (225kW) in the base GT Coupe and top out at 500hp (368kW) in the range-topping Turbo model.

The car is almost certainly in production and should be on the market late next year as a 2011 model.

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