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THE ASTON MARTIN V12 ZAGATO

February 24, 2012
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A while back Aston Martin introduced the V12 Zagato concept to the world, a super car that was born from the creative minds of Aston Martin and Italian coach builder, Zagato. The overwhelming popularity of the concept prompted the folks over at Aston to expedite the release of the production car and lo and behold.

After a couple of nips and tucks, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato ($522,000) will finally hit production and its final form is as curvaceous as it was when it first surfaced in May last year. Based off of the V12 Vantage, the car not only echoes the Zagatos of the past, but is said to be an example of what we can expect of the Aston Martins of the future. This exclusive beauty of a motor car will come powered with a 6.0 liter, 510 hp V12 and only 150 examples will be made.


2013 SHELBY GT500 CONVERTIBLE

February 24, 2012
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Ford’s new Drop top monster, it has a 5.8 liter supercharged V8 that produces a monstrous 650 horsepower. Ford says the new model, equipped with the optional Performance Package that includes Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers, is capable of running Sebring International Raceway about 3.5 seconds quicker per lap compared to the 2011 and 2012 models (both less 100hp against the 2013 model). Curb weight should be typically a couple hundred pounds heavier than its hard top cousin courtesy of additional bracing on the power-operated convertible soft top. The Shelby GT500, built at Auto Alliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, will blast into showrooms this summer.

If your not bald when you step in, you might be when you step out.


ACURA NSX CONCEPT

February 24, 2012
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Acura fans and car fans alike have been waiting for this day to come since the NSX was discontinued back in 2005. This is the next generation NSX concept.

The NSX will utilize a form of the new hybrid Super Handling-AWD (SH-AWD) system. The V-6, likely a 3.5- or 3.7-liter, will drive the rear wheels by means of a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Unlike the current SH-AWD system, which would send power to the front wheels by way of a driveshaft and a mechanical differential, the NSX’s front wheels will instead be powered by a pair of electric motors. As each motor is assigned to a wheel, the system has the ability to accelerate the outer wheel in a corner, creating a yaw moment that improves the car’s ability to turn in and rotate. All told, the system could produce a net punch of about 400 hp.

 


2013 CADDILLAC ATS

February 24, 2012
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The all out attack on German engineering continues with Cadillac unveiling their answer to the 3 Series, A4, and C-Series with the new ATS. The brand’s signature Art & Design styling loses the hard lines for smoother contours yet remains unmistakably a Cadillac.

The ATS targets the Beemer 3 in every dimension, it’s within half an inch in length, width, and height and will be “priced similarly. Its new, direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder is one of three power plants, the others being a base 200-hp four cylinder and the familiar 3.6-liter V-6 that out muscles the four-cylinder 328i with 270 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The automatic transmission is a six-speed, for now, but an eight-speed is on the way. The real hint that Cadillac means business, though, is the ATS’s curb weight, another traditional weak spot for General Motors. With a six-speed manual transmission and the 2.0-liter turbo, the ATS weighs less than 3400 pounds, which edges out the 3406 pound 328i and significantly beats other competitors.

“We’re going to out-refine the 3-series. We’ll have similar or better performance, but we’ll have that silk glove of Cadillac laced over it,” says the ATS’s lead development engineer, Chris Berube, who worked most recently on the CTS-V.


DODGE CHARGER REDLINE BY MOPAR

February 24, 2012
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Mopar is bringing some serious power to the Charger in time for the Detroit Auto Show.  There will be three performance kits,the pinnacle being its the Stage Three kit. The Stage Three option puts a 426 Hemi crate motor under the hood which delivers an incredible 590 horsepower. Only problem is that you’ll only get to put that power to work on the track due to emissions laws. Though we doubt you’ll be complaining when your Charger is devouring the asphalt and anything in its way at the local track.

So what happens when you give the boys at Mopar Underground a 2011 Dodge Charger and let them work their magic on it? CEO Ralph Gilles answered it best. “We let the designers of the production car and their friends at Mopar rip. I wanted them to show us what they would do with this vehicle if it were their own dream car.”


2013 HPE800 TWIN TURBO JEEP

February 5, 2012
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With a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine pushing 465-horses 465 lb-ft of torque for 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) sprint time of 4.8 seconds and a quarter mile time in the mid-13 second range, the regular 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is one of the fastest production SUVs around. But for Hennessey Performance Engineering [HPE], that’s not enough. The Texas based tuner, known for its insanely powerful tunes, has done it again with the introduction of the 2013 HPE800 Twin Turbo Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“We’ve built dozens of 600-800 hp Jeep SRT8s over the past five years, so we have an existing client base who will want to upgrade the new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 to an even higher level”, said company founder and president, John Hennessey. “This vehicle is designed for the performance minded driver who lives in Aspen or Moscow and wants to be the fastest in all weather conditions.” The tuner’s crew started out by increasing the V8′s displacement to 7.0-liters (426 cu.in.) and then added a twin turbo forced induction system, boosting output to an insane 805-horsepower and 823 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the HPE800 from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and complete the quarter mile in just 10.9 seconds with an exit speed of 130mph (209km/h).

To put these performance numbers into perspective, the new McLaren MP4-12C hits 60 mph in 3.3. How’s that for fast?


LEXUS LF-LC CONCEPT

February 5, 2012
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Lexus is previewing the next evolution in its new design direction with the debut of its LF-LC Concept. Debuting at the Detroit Auto Show, the 2+2 coupe will soon fill the void left by the SC which was discontinued last year.

The coupe was penned by Lexus’ Calty design studio in Newport Beach, California. It comes as no surprise to us that this rolling design study also packs hybrid power, but Lexus claims that the sleek sports car will also deliver cutting-edge driving dynamics. This coupe is a design study that promises to further reveal the future of Lexus design. The LF-LC boldly displays Lexus’ new spindle grill, while also mixing in sharp angles and elegant curves. The LF-LC also suggests that their LF-A may not be a one-and-done foray into the exotic sports coupe segment, but at the same time Lexus promises that the LF-LC could “remain within reach for premium buyers.”

Outside of audacious LED headlamps and about two inches of ground clearance the exterior of the LF-LC looks production ready. The same cannot be said for the futuristic cabin. the cabin is dominated by rich leather, tons of suede, thin elegant seats and more polished wood than a bowling alley. Actually, the center stack looks like it could spit out a 14-pound ball with three holes, and that’s not a bad thing.

The tech features are equally impressive but in my opinion distracting and dangerous. A pair of 12.3-inch screens are on information and navigation duties, respectively. The impressive screen dominating the center stack is of the touch-sensitive variety, and it also controls audio, climate and navigation. The LF-LC also features a keyboard that helps the driver with more complex entries… hopefully for when this high-end Lexus remains in park. Lexus has gone further still with the touch tech, as doors, windows, mirrors, seats and entertainment systems are all manipulated through similar controls on the doors.