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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

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  • Stadium Truck Stunt Ride with Robby Gordon on the Streets of Toronto
  • 2015 BMW i3 test drive reveals all you need to know

Bentley fires staff priest before Christmas

Posted Jan 1st 2013 2:02PM



This sounds like a scene out of A Christmas Carol, but it appears to be real. The resident chaplain for Bentley at Crewe was removed from his post – just days before Christmas. Reverend Francis Cooke had visited Crewe once a week for the last decade, but was relieved of his duties when it was feared by management that his presence at the factory might offend a multi-faith workforce.

According to Rev. Cooke, "The reason I have been given is that there are too many people of different faiths to warrant a Christian chaplain." Cooke pointed out that no complaint had ever been brought against him, and that he helps all faiths at the factory – not just Christians.

Bentley issued a statement, addressing its decision, "We have a wide range of faiths and want to take a multi-faith outlook. It would be very difficult to have somebody from each faith."

The Bentley staff did not take this well, and have launched a petition to restore the reverend to his position of the last ten years. According to one Crewe employee, "Everyone is really angry about it as a few of us have been on courses with him." The unnamed employee continued, "To do this before Christmas is shocking." There is no word yet on the progress of the petition, or the hopes of Rev. Cooke's reinstatement at Crewe.


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News Source: The Mirror via CarScoop

Image Credit: Paul Ellis / AFP/Getty

Innovative trailer concept inspired by USB drive [w/video]

Posted Dec 30th 2012 1:59PM



When it comes to camping, most of us tend to either rough it with tents or go for broke in massive bus-size recreational vehicles. But down in Australia and New Zealand, the caravan reigns supreme. Not to be confused with the Dodge minivan offering, caravans provide humble accommodations for vacationing, but they can be pulled by much smaller vehicles than, say, a fullsize Airstream trailer.

New Zealand-based design house W2 has unveiled a new twist on the caravan with the Romotow, and it is clearly not your ordinary camper trailer. Claimed to be inspired by a USB drive, this trailer folds in and out of itself, providing extra living space. Lightweight materials are used, and the concept also features power-assisted braking, self-leveling pads and shocks and a backup camera. The interior features a bathroom, kitchenette, louvers for cross ventilation, and available features such as deck area and sliding doors.

W2 is currently at the design and testing stage. A fully functional Romotow should be ready by 2015. If you are a camper that's tired of roughing it, or one who enjoys the outdoors but would prefer more domestic confines, the Romotow looks like a solid option for a camping tr- er, caravan.

Check out more on this wild concept in the video below.

News Source: Wired

Meet the 701-hp Mazzanti Evantra

Posted Dec 29th 2012 4:01PM



If you've heard of upstart boutique supercar maker Mazzanti, we salute you. About a year ago, we brought you news of this small Italian firm, which then was under the name Faralli & Mazzanti. The creation was the Evantra, and as the name of the company has changed, so has the car. The Mazzanti Evantra has been updated, and the previous turbocharged flat-six has been replaced with a 7.0-litre V8. The six-cylinder had two versions, capable of 403 or 603 horsepower. That is kid's stuff compared to the V8, which can put out an astounding 701 horsepower and 624 pound-feet or toque. That power allows it to get from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in just 3.2 seconds.

Other updates include a rear spoiler, reworked styling, and 20-inch OZ wheels wrapped in Continental tires. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a paddle-shift operated direct shift gearbox, developed specifically for the Evantra by transmission producer Sila. The lightweight supercar (curb weight not given for Evantra V8, but original was 2,645 lbs. so we don't suspect its much more than that.) will be brought to a stop by Brembo brakes that are six-piston in the front and four-piston in the rear.

Other kit includes a racing-style instrument closer, Bosch infotainment system and an "infinite" number of cabin material selections. While the swatches may be infinite, the number of Evantra V8's being produced is very small – only five will be made. No pricing has been given, though we suspect the term "if you have to ask, you can't afford it," applies in these five examples.


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News Source: CarScoop, Mazzanti

2014 Volvo XC60 scooped before launch

Posted Dec 29th 2012 2:00PM



A Chinese automotive site has snagged the first spy shots of the updated Volvo XC60, completely uncovered. While the overall profile of the vehicle remains intact, the headlights are heavily revised. Gone are the two-piece units, which featured the separate light strip between the main cluster and the grille. In place now are larger lenses, somewhat reminiscent of those found on the S60 sedan. Also updated is the grille, which gets a little wider to meet the new headlights. The grille receives more chrome, while the lower front fascia has been revised with wider openings. A pair of LED fog lights are pushed way out to the corners.

Out back, the license plate holder gets a bold chrome strip above it, and the recessed exhaust is replaced with chromed, dual exhaust outlets that have been integrated into the bottom of the rear bumper.

Inside, the instrument panel has been revised, with a large, centrally mounted speedo, featuring a digital display in the center. According to reports, this is a similar setup to that of the new V40. As such, it appears that the changes are thoughtful efforts to move the XC60 forward by incorporating the most current Volvo design elements.


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News Source: Biauto via CarScoop

Meet the Smart Fortwo that should be competing in the 2013 Dakar Rally [w/video]

Posted Dec 28th 2012 8:01PM



When it comes to specialty applications of the Smart Fortwo, "off-road motorsports" may seem about as likely as "amphibious assault vehicle." Yet a team has come up with just that (the former, not the latter), creating a rally-ready runabout dubbed the Smart Dakar.

The team used a Fortwo to create a "Smart Buggy 4x4." The creator's website claims that the vehicle is in compliance with FIA regulations, and weighs only 750 kilograms (1,653 pounds). As the name suggests, the intent of this vehicle is to compete in the Dakar Rally, and it looks the part.

It may be the most hard-nosed Smart that you'll ever find, but it has an uphill battle to make it to competition. The race team, headed by Jose Luis "JL" Alvarez, does not have the funds to field a full assortment of vehicles, including two Smarts and a Honda CRF-450, and now all plans have been canceled for this year's Dakar Rally.

JL even appealed to his fans via a YouTube video with the hopes of crowd-funding the project, though it appears that attempt has failed. At any rate, the 2013 Dakar Rally starts January 5 in Lima, Peru, and ends January 20 in Santiago, Chile, and it appears that this team, with its unique ride, will not be attending.
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News Source: Smart Dakar 2013 via Facebook

Alfa Romeo teases 4C, confirms 2013 arrival

Posted Dec 28th 2012 6:28PM



Any time you open up your promotion for a new vehicle with the claim of a "car to end all cars," you better have the goods to back it up. If any automaker has said goods, it is Alfa Romeo. The brand behind the stunning 8C has promised a new car to debut in 2013. We all know that vehicle will be the 4C (a name which has been trademarked in America), which has been running ahead of schedule in development. With this teaser shot, it seems that a production version should be imminent. The report from Motor Authority, suspects that could be as early as the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

We've been enamored with the 4C ever since we saw the first concept for it at Geneva in 2011. Since then, we've heard word of convertible variants and various facts and figures, such as a sub-2000-pound curb weight, and a 1.8-litre mill. The low weight, combined with the claimed 200 horsepower could put the 4C's zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) times below four seconds.

As promising as this teaser is, our hopes of Alfa's tearing up North American roads have been repeatedly dashed by reports from the Italian brand. Time and again, Alfa's supposed entry into our market has been delayed. Let us hope that this new teaser serves as warning that Alfa Romeo's invasion is imminent.


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News Source: Motor Authority

Volkswagen Beetle R-Line coming to North America?

Posted Dec 28th 2012 3:43PM



Volkswagen has jilted North American enthusiasts once, by denying them the chance to pilot the Scirocco in Canada and the US. In September, it seemed like the German automaker was going to take the same course of action with the sporty Beetle R-Line. Now, comes word that the R-Line bug may be headed our way after all. This news comes from AskAVWSalesGuy.com. As you may have guessed, it is a blog written by a Volkswagen salesperson. According to the recent post, Volkswagen is now taking orders for the new Beetle R-Line, with delivery set for February or early March.

We've reached out to Volkswagen and it has been confirmed that the R-Line version of the Beetle will he coming to the US, (but still no word on any Canadian plans yet). Although it was brought to our attention that this news first broke back in November, we think it may have been overshadowed by the buzz around the Beetle Convertible at the time.

If you recall, the R-Line is the latest in what is becoming a growing family of Volkswagen Beetle variants. The package includes revised bodywork, 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights and LED license plate lights. Inside the R-Line receives leather seating surfaces and a navigation system. In Europe, the exterior package alone will cost 1,290 euros (about CAD$1,600) and both the exterior and interior combined will set you back 1,675 euros (CAD$2,100).

European customers can select this package with either the 1.4 TSI Beetle or the TDI model. North American pricing for this package has not yet been announced, but it is worth noting that the R-Line will be offered only on the Beetle Turbo. To learn more about the sported-up Bug, check out the press release below.


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News Source: Askavwsalesguy.com

Toyota shares rise on smaller-than-expected settlement news

Posted Dec 28th 2012 7:57AM

Toyota emblem

Following news that Toyota has proposed a massive settlement to address the owners of vehicles effected by the unintended acceleration recall, shares for the automaker are up 2.6 per cent. Over the course of this year, Toyota's stock has jumped 51.7 per cent.

"My initiate reaction would be 'that's it'... US$1 billion charge that covers recalls and everything else and you are looking at a US$250 million compensation fund, that's nothing," said a senior trader at a foreign brokerage to Automotive News. This settlement has been set aside to cover class-action lawsuits from 16 million owners of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles and is separate from other impending lawsuits – including one consumer protection suit in California and another unfair-business-practices case brought on by 28 attorneys general.

In other positive news for investors, the Japanese yen has weakened compared to the US dollar. That likely means improved financial performance from the big Japanese automakers, the largest of which is Toyota.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req., MarketWatch

Image Credit: Copyright 2012 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL

Speed bumps used to diagnose appendicitis?

Posted Dec 27th 2012 5:14PM



This... doesn't seem right, but just bear with this report from Wired. It seems as though driving over speed bumps can reveal those who are enduring acute appendicitis. This was a rumoured thing among medical circles based purely on anecdotal data, but now there is an empirical study by the University of Oxford and Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK to back it up.

Apparently, when attempting to diagnose appendicitis, some doctors would ask if pain worsened when driving over speed bumps. It was not exact medicine, but according to Dr. Helen Ashdown of Oxford, it has been "as good as many other ways of assessing people with suspected appendicitis."

The Oxford study showed that the speed bump test was more helpful at ruling out appendicitis than confirming its diagnosis since other abdominal issues could also cause pain in those situations. So patients with acute appendicitis would experience pain going over a speed bump, but those who don't feel a jolt can be ruled out entirely as having acute appendicitis.

That said, don't go driving over speed bumps expecting to perform your own diagnosis. Your results may vary!

News Source: Wired.com

Image Credit: veggiefrog / CC 2.0

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