News: Ferrari launches shiny new website

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

Last Sunday saw the opening of the 2009 Formula One season and Fer ...

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News: New models confirmed for MG

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 Chinese company Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), curr ...

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News: The Geely GE – faux Rolls Royce

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.

Bootleg DVDs and counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags are one thing, ...

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News: Brabus goes to work on 2010 Merc E-Class

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.

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News: Top Gear feeling the pinch for 13th season

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.

No one is escaping the current economic downturn and that includes ...

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News: UK man breaks wind-powered land speed record

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.

Britain's Richard Jenkins has just broken the world land speed rec ...

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News: Kia VG concept revealed early

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.

The Kia VG concept has been leaked onto the web before it debuts a ...

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Blogs: IKEA busy making eco car or dumb joke

Me and kit-set furniture go together like an animal rights activist and a set of spurs — not a good fit. I’m not sure why it brings out my dark side, it may be the one-page instructions that look like they were drawn by a stoned baboon with a crayon, or that there are always more or less screws/bolts/nuts than you need. But most likely it’s that moment when you realise you’ve left off a pivotal piece and must return to ‘Step 1’ to right the situation. That’s why I always keep a hammer handy. Although seldom needed for kit-set construction the hammer still serves a useful purpose, because an instant way to cure anger issues is by replacing them with remorse. Many girly psychology students will disagree but allow me to demonstrate with a simple 6-Step instruction guide:

Step 1: Get angry, like proper angry. Think of rednecks clubbing fur seals, or underarm bowling.

Step 2: Pick up 20oz hammer (not supplied).

Step 3: Swing hammer in direction of kit set furniture as hard as you can.

Step 4: Miss kit set furniture completely and break your mum’s Princess Diana commerative display plate / flatmate’s Playstation3 / dog’s back leg.

Step 5: Feel instantly remorseful, finish making kit set furniture meekly while thinking about how you’re going to explain the breakage to your mum / flatmate / vet.

Step 6: Kit set furniture complete!

But seriously¦ well maybe seriously, the worlds of cars and flat-pack furniture could come smashing together next week. Cheap coffee table juggernaut IKEA might be busy developing a new environmentally friendly car called the LEKO. The source of the news is a fairly official-looking website from France, which is odd considering that IKEA is based in Sweden. The supposed unveiling of the LEKO is scheduled for… wait for it… April 1st.

Automotive newsboys (like myself) around the world are unsure if this is in fact massive breaking news or just an elaborate hoax and on April Fool’s day there won’t really be some ugly city car to make fun of.  I’m thinking it’s some lame European joke, but I must admit the idea of a weird flat-pack eco car that requires home assembly has me and my hammer ready to go.

leko ikea

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