Ford to pull plug on Fiesta RS

March 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ford Fiesta RS

Hot hatch fans worldwide are worried as rumours have begun circulating about the possible incompletion of the Ford Fiesta RS.

An article, sourced by an interview of Jost Captio of Ford’s Team RS in a UK motoring magazine indicates that the Blue Oval is shelving the car before it’s even been built. The reasons are of a typical nature; it’s expensive, times are tough, and there’s no business case for it.

Fortunately, there’s no official confirmation of the talk yet, so there’s still a flicker of hope that the little car will just be delayed, not completely assassinated. If it is built, expect to see it sometime after 2010, sporting something in the neighborhood of 200hp (149kW) from a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder motor.

Even if the Fiesta RS is canceled, there’s still the factory-performance Mountune version and the Fiesta Zetec S ‘performance’ hatch it’s based on as well, so all is not lost.

Ferrari launches shiny new website

March 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari website

Last Sunday saw the opening of the 2009 Formula One season and Ferrari celebrated with the launch of a new redesigned website. For most of us, browsing the Ferrari site is as close as we’ll get to actually ever buying one. The new site sees Ferrari offer far more than just its current model lineup. Among the features of the new Ferrari.com will be the ‘Maranello Experience’, where you can take a virtual tour of the company’s engineering and manufacturing complex in northern Italy.

The site will also have plenty of news about the F1 team during the 2009 season. For the first time, people will be able to check out the car telemetry readings just as the engineers do in the pits. And of course you can purchase all sorts of Ferrari merchandise.

Click here to check out the Ferrari website

New models confirmed for MG

March 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

MG-F fq

The Chinese company Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), current owners of the MG brand, has just confirmed that two new MG models will be launched in the British market. Both MG cars will be based on the company’s Roewe 550 platform.

The two new MG models will be sold initially in the Chinese domestic market, China, before coming to Britain and Ireland. SAIC haven’t ruled out the possibility that the new cars will also be sold in other global markets.

The new models include a 5-door hatchback and a 4-door sedan. The sedan’s name has not been disclosed, but the MG spokesman said the hatchback will wear an MG6 badge. Both models will be available with either a manual or an automatic gearbox and the hatchback will be powered by a 1.6 litre engine. The launch date of the two new MG models hasn’t been announced yet.

The Geely GE – faux Rolls Royce

March 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Geeley GE fq

Bootleg DVDs and counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags are one thing, but a Chinese carmaker has just gone a step further. Geely has created a full sized knock off Rolls Royce Phantom for the Chinese market. The 17.5-foot long executive mover comes loaded for high-flyers, complete with isolation glass and wool carpet just like a real Roller.

If you’re interested, you better like traveling alone — the rear compartment has only one center-mounted seat tucked between a contoured bulkhead, like a throne. It even has what appears to be a starlight roof headliner, but only above the ‘throne’.

According to the Chinese site, when compared to the Phantom, the Geely GE “gives the very same feeling of luxury.” No doubt it looks the same and may even feel the same inside, and having your mates sat on the floor at your feet would make you feel like a king. Perhaps Geely is on to something.

Brabus goes to work on 2010 Merc E-Class

March 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Brabus E-class fq

For those fat-cats who must have the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class but can’t wait for the AMG version, tuning house Brabus has something to offer. The German firm has just launched its new program for the redesigned luxury sports sedan, the highlight of which is an enlarged 6.1-litre version of the V8 found in the E550 that now produces 462 hp compared to the standard model’s 382 hp.

Brabus has done more than the motor, fitting an aero package to the new E-Class that replaces the front bumper with a new design that reduces lift and incorporates fashionable LED daytime running lights and fog lamps. The exterior also features new vents in the guards, rocker panels, a spoiler and low rear bumper with a pair of chrome tailpipes. The entire look is rounded out by new Monoblock rims that can be fitted in sizes up to 20 inches.

Additional performance hardware includes an upgraded braking system with larger rotors and more powerful calipers, an optional limited-slip differential and Brabus-tuned sport exhaust. Optional interior equipment includes illuminated Brabus sill plates, a sports steering wheel and complete replacement alcantara leather interiors.

Top Gear feeling the pinch for 13th season

March 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Top Gear stunt

No one is escaping the current economic downturn and that includes the boys at Brit TV program Top Gear. The show has received a sizable 30% budget cut for Series 13; a move that show producers say will be evident in the final product.

This will be noticed not just in the action but also in the cars that feature on the show with the exotics likely to take a back seat. Lamborghini and Ferrari will still be represented for Series 13, but if rumors are true, the BBC boys are going to dedicate more air time to the everyday cars that the rest of us drive, and less time with costly stunts. Executive Producer Andy Wilman is shooting for fuel efficient, affordable transportation in light of the global recession. Series 13 was originally planning for a road trip including a Lambo and a Porsche, but instead the excursion will include more sedate transportation like the Toyota iQ. That sounds quite boring, but it should be a true test of the casts comic skills to keep us all entertained in the manner we have become accustomed.

UK man breaks wind-powered land speed record

March 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Greenbird fq

Britain’s Richard Jenkins has just broken the world land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle. The high-tech machine he used is called the Greenbird, which is the fifth wind-powered ride Jenkins has built. The resourceful adventurer designed the Greenbird himself over the course the past 10 years and built the machine almost completely from carbon fibre. Greenbird is sponsored by Ecotricity, the company currently working to build an electric Lotus that will be charged using wind-generated power.

In Nevada, USA on a dry lake bed, Jenkins managed to get Greenbird up to an amazing 202 kph, handily breaking the old record of 186 kph, which was set in 1999 by American Bob Schumacher. According to Jenkins, the feat itself was rather uneventful, saying, “things couldn’t have gone better.”

Now that Jenkins has successfully broken the record on land, he’s turning his attention to the ice, where he plans to break the record for that surface using a new, different Greenbird. The ice vehicle has blades not wheels and has a symmetric layout, with outriggers extending from each side of the fuselage. Jenkins hopes to answer the debate over whether travelling on ice or land will prove faster.

Kia VG concept revealed early

March 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Kia VG Concept fq

The Kia VG concept has been leaked onto the web before it debuts at the Seoul Motor Show later this week. It’s called a concept on in name deals, so look for the production version to hit South Korean showrooms in September, with a global launch next year.

Power will go to the front wheels with a range of motors, Kia’s 2.4-litre four will be at the base with the 3.8-litre Lambda V6 being used in what’s likely to be the range-topping special. The concept is one good-looking vehicle and will bolster Kia’s increasingly-formidable, value-priced lineup.

Check back for more updates from the Seoul Motor Show shortly.

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