News: PPI to unveil Razor Audi R8 at Top Marques show

Razor R8 s

German tuning firm PPI Automotive Design GmbH unveiled it’s original ‘Razor’ Audi R8 at the Essen Motor Show last year but it looks like it wasn’t enough. Now, an even more aggressive version of the car has been revealed along with word that the final production version will be unveiled at the Top Marques in Monaco on April 16.

The newer model builds on the success of the original using knowledge PPI engineers have gathered over the past year from racing, wind tunnel development, and extensive track testing. The highlight of the package is a full focus on improving the power-to-weight ratio of the Audi R8, with engineers simultaneously boosting power while reducing weight.

An essential part of the motor upgrade is the incorporation of a specially engineered supercharger. In addition, a sport air filter system and a high performance exhaust system made of stainless steel have been specially designed to work in conjunction with this new forced-induction system.

The final result is a car with 427kW and 600Nm of torque. At the same time, the R8’s 1,580kg kerb weight has been reduced by more than 250kg, enabling the Razor GTR to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 332km/h.

In addition to the improved speed performance, the car also has a striking widebody appearance with ultra-modern, wind tunnel tested aerodynamics. All new PPI parts, including the new front bumper, diffuser, side skirts, and hood, are made from carbon-fibre.

New wheels all round are extra-wide 19in forged alloys cloaked in 325mm Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres in the rear and 255mm sets up front. Sitting within these is an updated brake package with six-piston calipers all around and 380mm discs up front and 356mm units in the rear. Finishing it all off is a hydraulically adjustable suspension kit developed together with KW Automotive.

German tuning firm PPI Automotive Design GmbH unveiled it's origin ...

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News: Mercedes-Benz GL-Class facelift debuts in New York

Mercedes GL350 fq

Mercedes Benz has some big plans for this week’s New York Auto Show, with no less than three world debuts planned. The debuts include the unveiling of the all-new E63 AMG performance saloon, the production ML450 Hybrid and now the 2010 model year facelift for the GL-Class SUV.

On display is the renamed GL350 BlueTEC diesel and GL450 petrol model, both of which feature updated front styling, new bumpers, wheels and new lights with LEDs. The GL350 BlueTEC is to replace the current GL350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and is claimed to have 20-30% better fuel economy than the petrol model. The seven-seat SUV also boasts a cruising range of up to 600 miles on a tank.

Other models in the range boast up to 5% lower fuel consumption than the out going models, and the entire model family now meets the EU5 emissions standard.

The interior of the GL-Class will accommodate up to seven passengers comfortably and comes with a mix of leather and faux leather seats with contrasting stitching. The higher specification of the flagship GL 500 includes full Nappa leather. All the models feature upgraded instrumentation, a multifunction steering wheel in Nappa leather and new crash-responsive head restraints for driver and front passenger.

Mercedes Benz has some big plans for this week’s New York Au ...

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News: New Kia Soul launches in NZ

Kia Soul viaduct fq

The new Kia Soul has arrived in New Zealand and was turning heads at it’s launch in Auckland’s viaduct yesterday.

Described by Kia Motors’ design chief Peter Schreyer as a “new kind of urban crossover”, the Soul is a modern styled five-seat, five-door car that marks a new design-led direction for the Korean auto company.

“Soul is very much a ‘watershed’ vehicle for Kia Motors, both in a local, as well as global sense,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand Ltd. “It’s the first of a new generation of vehicles that clearly identifies the route that Kia Motors will be taking in the future, as a creator of distinctive cars that consumers aspire to own. Kia is re-inventing itself as a fun, youthful and bold brand that doesn’t intend to be bound by the rulebook. Soul is very much an embodiment of that new thinking. It’s different — a breakthrough design – and we believe it is going to inject some real pizzazz into the marketplace at a time when we could really do with some cheering up.”

The new Kia Soul doesn’t fit into any particular market segment, which is why it has been termed an “urban crossover”. The styling has a hint of SUV but without a four-wheel-drive system there’s a touch of hatchback, and while it’s  practical the Soul is not a shopping basket on wheels but is a good size for city duties.

The Soul is being pushed to win over a whole new group of consumers who may not even have considered a Kia before.

“Soul crosses age and social barriers,” adds Mr McDonald. “It’s not unlike the original Mini, bringing a smile to faces just because it doesn’t conform to any particular rule or classification — it’s a car that challenges people to rethink everything they might have known about Kia.”

The Soul has options to personalise individual vehicles. These include interior mood lighting that flashes to the pulse of the multi-media entertainment centre, eye shadows for the front lights, designer body decals and more.

The Kia Soul announced its arrival as a design concept at the Detroit Motor Show of 2006, but few thought the unusual ‘full face helmet’ design would make it into production. It coincided with the arrival at Kia Motors of former Audi/VW design head Peter Schreyer, who took the concept and made it work as practical vehicle..

Last year, Schreyer added a touch of his own design when he added the new corporate Tiger grille to a further development of the concept and the growling face is now one of the defining points of the Soul. Various versions of the Tiger grille will be seen on other Kia models in the future.

What Schreyer and his team have done is to take a five-door hatchback and turn it into a completely new genre. Created on an all-new platform, featuring a compact 4104mm overall length with an unusually long wheelbase of 2550mm, the designers matched that with a high roofline, tapering to the rear. The result is that Soul offers cavernous passenger space that outperforms many vehicles with much larger exterior dimensions and provides the luggage capacity of a small wagon.

There is only one body style, but the Soul will be available in three distinctly different models; the Soul entry level model, priced from $29,990; the mid-range Soul Plus, priced from $33,990 and the eye-catching Soul Burner priced from $39,990.

There are two engine options available, with the entry-level Soul gaining the 1.6-litre Gamma Euro 4, CVVT petrol engine designed for the  European Kia cee’d, along with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard. The two other Soul models both feature a second generation CRDi diesel engine, which is matched to a 4-stage intelligent adaptive technology automatic transmission as standard.

The CRDi engine is a product of Kia’s centre in Russelsheim, Germany and has been enhanced for the Soul. This 16-valve DOHC unit is fitted with an electronically actuated variable geometry turbocharger that delivers an 11% increase in power, now up to 94kW @ 4000rpm and a 3% increase in torque, rising to 260Nm between 1900-2700rpm.

The Soul CRDi automatic returns a 5.9L/100km combined fuel economy and low 156g/m CO2 emission levels, thanks in part to the particulate filter, which is standard equipment on the diesel models.

The new Soul doesn’t compromise on safety, either, with electronic stability programme (ESP) to help the driver avoid an accident and a full complement of six airbags (including side curtain and front side airbags) standard on every model. The Soul Burner features a rear-facing camera image displayed in the rear-view mirror when reverse is selected — other models have rear parking assist.

At the heart is the ‘floating ‘centre stack designed around the multi-media entertainment system. All Soul models come with a CD player/radio, with MP3 compatibility, plus USB, AUX and iPOD connections, speed-rated volume control and an innovative Power Base technology that turns the car in a concert hall on wheels. The Soul Burner system has the uprated 315W 8-speaker system incorporating a large diameter dash-top centre speaker, external amplifier and sub-woofer. All models have manual audio controls integrated into the steering wheel.

Kia Motors NZ says the first shipments have already sold out and orders are now starting to be placed on subsequent Soul arrivals. Expect to see more of the new Kia Soul around town shortly.

The new Kia Soul has arrived in New Zealand and was turning heads ...

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News: GM and Segway create new mobility vehicle

Project PUMA s

With a few days to go till the New York Auto Show, General Motors has teamed up with Segway and unveiled a new type of vehicle that could completely change the way we go down to the dairy. Labelled Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), the vehicle is an electrically powered, two-seat pod that has only two main wheels. It has the potential to allow people to move around urban environments more quickly, safely, quietly and cleanly than we do now — but it’s still in the prototype stage.

Trends indicate that urbanisation is growing globally, and cities around the world are looking for solutions to alleviate congestion and pollution, and Project P.U.M.A., as well as the similar Project i from BMW, are getting more credibility as.

The Project P.U.M.A. prototype vehicle uses a lithium-ion battery, digital smart energy management, two-wheel balancing, electric wheel motors, and a user interface that allows off-board connectivity. It can carry two people, and travel at speeds of up to 56km/h, with a matching range of up to 56km between recharges.

With the project still in its infancy GM hasn’t at any production dates just yet but with the way traffic levels in most major cities are heading, vehicles like the P.U.M.A could start popping up sooner rather than later. Check out the clip below to see Project P.U.M.A in action.

With a few days to go till the New York Auto Show, General Motors ...

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News: VW to pass GM as second largest automaker

Volkswagen logo

Sometime last year, General Motors lost its title of the World’s Largest Automaker to Toyota. GM has had a tough time at number two, currently in the worst shape the American automaker has endured in its 100-plus years of existence. Now, to worsen matters it looks like GM will drop to number three.

According to market research company R.L. Polk, Volkswagen is projected to overtake General Motors in total sales at some point this year, assuming GM’s sales continue at their current pace, which is down by about 31% from last year. For it’s part, VW is predicting a much smaller 15% drop in global vehicle sales in 2009.

Things may start to look better for GM once the domestic U.S. market starts to recover, assuming that the automaker is able to ride out the storm with loans from the federal government. Polk’s own predictions indicate that the worldwide auto market will begin increasing again in 2010 and hit a new record by 2012.

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News: Ugur Sahin develops 999hp Corvette Z03

Ugur Sahin Corvette Z03 concept fq

Mallett is an understated word when you hear what the company has done with the Ugur Sahin-designed Corvette Z03. Only a pony shy of 1000hp, it’s more like a titanium battering ram swung by the army of Zeus. Since the initial Z03 designs by Ugur Sahin, further revisions have been made to improve engine cooling and increase downforce.

You can have your battering ram in a 700hp supercharged LS7 V8 flavour, or add the hand of a beligerent god and go for the twin-turbo 999hp option.

This is on top of the US$69,000 carbon fibre bodykit it’ll take to convert your existing Z03 into the aggressive monster we see here. Hmmm. Six figures, and still the stock GM interior. If you’ve got that much dough, you’ll want a full interior retrim as well.

Here’s the full spec:
Mallett Z03 700 hp Dead Blow Hammer Conversion US$32,700.00

Technical specifications:
Vortech Supercharger Kit w/ Mallett Modifications
Custom Designed Fuel System Upgrade
Custom Ported LS7 Heads, Flow Matched & CC Matched
Custom Ported / Polished 90mm Throttle Body
Custom Mallett Billet Monster Camshaft
Custom Crower Valve Springs
Custom Crower Titanium Valve Spring Retainers
Cometic Headgaskets
Manley 4340 Chrome-moly Push-rods
2618 Alloy LS Series Pistons & Rings
K1 Technologies Forged Connecting Rods
Clevite 77 Coated Engine Bearings
Professionally Balanced Rotating Assembly Service
Kooks Headers, Cats & X-Pipe
Corsa Touring Muffler System
Mallett Body Graphics & Seat Embroidery
Mallett Custom Shifter
Custom Number Plaque
Custom ECM Calibration With Dyno Tune4.0 C6 ZO6 Corvette 700hpn
Mallett Z03 999 hp APS Twin Turbo Hammer Conversion US$35,795.00

Technical specifications:
APS Twin Turbo Hammer Conversion
Custom Designed Fuel System Upgrade
Custom Ported LS7 Heads, Flow Matched & CC Matched
Custom Ported / Polished 90mm Throttle Body
Custom Mallett Billet Monster Camshaft
Custom Crower Valve Springs
Custom Crower Titanium Valve Spring Retainers
Cometic Headgaskets
Manley 4340 Chrome-moly Push-rods
2618 Alloy LS Series Pistons & Rings
K1 Technologies Forged Connecting Rods
Clevite 77 Coated Engine Bearings
Professionally Balanced Rotating Assembly Service
Mallett Body Graphics & Seat Embroidery
Mallett Custom Shifter
Custom Number Plaque
Custom ECM Calibration With Dyno Tune

Mallett is an understated word when you hear what the company has ...

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News: Reiter Engineering Gallardo LP560 – the ultimate Gallardo?

Reiter Engineering Gallardo LP-560 GT2 testing fq

The latest Lamborghini LP560-4 looks like a pretty mean piece of kit. Until you stand it next to Reiter Engineering’s GT2 Gallardo, constructed for the European Le Mans series. Lamborghini doesn’t make racing cars, unlike Ferrari. It hands a pristine example to Reiter Engineering, where it’s pummeled into shape for various race series and private collectors.

Reiter’s latest is this growling example. You might not expect a power reduction to be on anyone’s list of mods, but to meet GT2 requirements, the Gallardo is detuned to 500hp (down from 560hp), and will have to add some ballast to meet the 1125kg minimum weight. But Reiter has stripped the 4WD system out of the Lambo and made it RWD. That’s got to be much more fun. Now, we just need Rhys Millen to show us how to drive it sideways, I mean, we can’t let Sam Hubinette have all the fun, eh!

The latest Lamborghini LP560-4 looks like a pretty mean piece of k ...

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News: Maserati GranTurismo MC unveiled for the track

Maserati Granturismo mc-2 fq

Inspired by the MC Corse Concept, Maserati has finally unveiled the production version of its GranTurismo MC. Aimed at Maserati enthusiasts who’d prefer to keep their road-going GT in the garage, the MC is ready to compete in the GT4 European Cup class, with a full roll cage, carbon fibre body panels, plexiglass windows, upgraded brakes and suspension, along with lightweight wheels wrapped in racing slicks.

Output for the revised 4.7-liter V8 hasn’t been disclosed, but the MC should put out around 450 hp when it takes to the track. Priced at 135,000 Euros it’s the perfect option for a cash-rich gentleman racer.

Inspired by the MC Corse Concept, Maserati has finally unveiled th ...

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