Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

Posted in Bugatti
GET ready for lift-off! The world’s fastest and most expensive supercar has blown its top. This is the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, a car that can lay claim to being the world’s most incredible convertible – and we’ve driven it.

Priced at around £1.1 million, it costs £300,000 more than the Coupe. So what do you get for your money? Well, a machine that looks even more spectacular than the fixed-roof version. The polycarbonate targa-style roof may not be the most sophisticated – it has to be left in the garage when removed, as there’s nowhere in the car to stow it – but in open-top form the Grand Sport looks sensational.

As you’d expect from Bugatti, the Veyron has undergone a very thorough strengthening process to cope with the loss of the roof. The carbonfibre chassis has been redesigned around the windscreen pillars, strengthened in the sills and thickened behind the driver. It hasn’t stopped there, because the single-setting suspension is softer than the coupe version, too.

Everything is the same under the bonnet, though – the Grand Sport still gets a 987bhp 8.0-litre quad turbocharged W16 engine.

On the move, the whole car feels a little softer than the coupe, especially at the rear, but that doesn’t mean the chassis isn’t as rigid. The ride is slightly more compliant too while another big improvement is a slight trade-off in outright grip in favour of more progression at the limit, thanks to new Michelin tyres.

The best bit is the noise though – roof down the W16 sounds incredible, the whole experience more involving than the Coupe. And while the Grand Sport may weigh in at 1,990kg – nearly 100kg more than the already hefty Veyron coupe – it still accelerates like no other production car with 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds, 0-124mph in 7.3 seconds while top speed is in excess of 250mph. It’s an amazing engineering achievement.

Porsche Panamera Goodies

Posted in Porsche
Following the 911, Boxster/Cayman and Cayenne, Porsche is now presenting its new, fourth line in the form of the Panamera. The four-seater Gran Turismo, which unites exclusive comfort with a thoroughbred sporting character, has inspired Porsche Design Driver’s Selection to create a Panamera Collection. The collection includes luggage, watches, clothing and lifestyle accessories that reflect the sporting character, elegance and realms of colour seen on the Panamera.

To coincide with the market launch of the Panamera from September 12th, 2009, a new luggage series has been developed for the Porsche Travel System. The “AluFrame” trolleys fit perfectly into the luggage compartment of the Gran Turismo and all other Porsche models. A combination of aluminum frame and polycarbonate case epitomizes the series making the luggage particularly light and stable and giving it a distinctive characteristic design. There are three models in various sizes, which are available in the original Porsche exterior colours. The series manufactured in Germany lets details such as a safety lock incorporated into the aluminum frame speak for themselves. Flexibly adjustable dividers with an inner compartment provide a high level of convenience while packing. The “AluFrame M” and “AluFrame XL” models are also equipped with an aluminum handle integrated into the case that makes it easier to lift the luggage in and out of Porsche sport cars.

The collection’s watches are available in prestigious black and in shades of brown. The Chronograph Panamera for him and her and the Chronograph Panamera Turbo stand out with their eye-catching design. Their striking stainless steel case ensures the new watches reflect the essence of the Porsche Panamera.

This is also evident in the dark-blue outdoor jackets with their sailing style and the outdoor soft-shell jackets, which have a water-repellent, wind-proof and breathable outer layer. Textiles and accessories in the Panamera Collection, which also include the polo shirt and rugby shirt available in the colours Espresso or Yachting blue/Crema as well as a matching cap, round off this classical-sporty range. Elegant features such as the double stitching borrowed from the vehicle interior have been systematically replicated in the collection and mirror the excellent finish of the Porsche Panamera right down to the minutest detail.

Items from the Porsche Design Driver’s Selection are available at Porsche Centres and – with the exception of the watches – on the Internet at Some of these products may be available only in certain countries.

Nissan 370Z Nismo

Posted in Nissan
Nissan North America, Inc. announced pricing for the all-new 2009 Nissan NISMO 370Z™, which goes on sale today at Nissan retailers nationwide. The new, second-generation NISMO Z® continues the tradition of the original, offering unique performance and design attributes that true sports car enthusiasts are looking for – including a functional aerodynamic body design, 18 additional horsepower and a special sport-tuned suspension.

The 2009 Nissan NISMO 370Z™, which is equipped with a 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev Match, has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price* (MSRP) of US $39,130. Only three accessories are available on this well equipped vehicle – NISMO carpeted floor mats, illuminated kick plates and a carpeted trunk mat.

“The new NISMO Z® is a tuner and Z® enthusiast’s dream – straight from the factory,” said Pat Steiner, Director, Specialty Vehicles, Nissan Division, NNA. “With its dramatic exterior, custom interior, sport-tuned performance and under $40,000 price, this new NISMO Z® is possibly the best ‘bang-for-the-buck’ sports car available today.”

About the 2009 NISMO 370Z™

The NISMO 370Z™ was developed by Nissan’s Specialty Vehicles Group in conjunction with Autech Japan, Nissan’s longstanding conversion partner. The NISMO Z®’s standard 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL) develops 350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque (versus the standard 370Z Coupe’s 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque), thanks in part to an exclusive free flow dual exhaust system, muffler tuning and an optimized Engine Control Module.

As expected of a true performance machine, the NISMO 370Z™ is offered with only one transmission – a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with standard SynchroRev Match-the world’s first synchronized downshift rev matching manual transmission introduced earlier this year on 370Z Coupe (which simulates perfectly matched heel-toe-like downshifting).

The NISMO 370Z™ also features a refined 4-wheel independent suspension, a reinforced strut tower brace for enhanced body rigidity and a pair of performance body dampers to manage road-input vibrations and help contribute to the NISMO 370Z™’s stability and performance feel. The NISMO-tuned suspension includes specially tuned springs, shock absorbers and stabilizer bars. Wider, unique 5-spoke 19-inch RAYS forged aluminum-alloy wheels are mounted with Yokohama ADVAN Sport Y-rated high-performance tires. Nissan Sport Brakes and a Viscous Limited-Slip Differential are also standard on the NISMO 370Z™.

Along with its standout performance, the new NISMO Z® stands out from the crowd with its dramatic performance-oriented exterior and interior styling. The functional and fully integrated aerodynamic body modifications include an extended nose with a canard design at each corner for improved downforce and a fully integrated chin spoiler. Special side sills and a unique rear fascia help manage airflow under the vehicle, while the functional rear spoiler also increases downforce.

The interior includes NISMO logo seats with black and red fabric and red stitching, a NISMO tachometer, a smooth leather-wrapped steering wheel with red parallel stitching, a smooth leather-wrapped shift knob and aluminum trimmed pedals. A serialized plaque of authenticity is also matched to each NISMO Z®, identifying its unique serial and model year designation.

2009 Nissan NISMO 370Z Pricing

Description MSRP*
370Z Coupe NISMO – 3.7 Liter V6 6 M/T $39,130

Port Installed Accessories MSRP*
NISMO Carpeted Floor Mats $115
Illuminated Kick Plates $200
Carpeted Trunk Mat $95

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Special Edition

Posted in Mercedes-Benz
For lovers of exclusive cars Mercedes-Benz is proud to announce the arrival of an eye-catching new version of the C-Class on the scene. The new Special Edition is set to draw admiring glances with its sporty, elegant design features, reserved for this model only, a high-quality interior plus some exciting technical highlights as part of the standard specification, including AGILITY CONTROL, ADAPTIVE BRAKE, BlueEFFICIENCY and the Intelligent Light System, ensuring that even the most discerning requirements are met for those looking for refinement, motoring pleasure and a car with a distinctive character. The Special Edition is available as a saloon and an estate and with all the C-Class engines.

Sporty passion, exciting dynamism and effortlessly superior style – these are the distinguishing characteristics of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Special Edition. The striking C-Class design that has won a number of awards has now been given an even finer, and yet at the same time more sporty, air by Mercedes-Benz through the addition of some charismatic details. Playing a major role in the vehicle’s image are its darkened front headlamps with a dark cover frame, the new indium grey paintwork (obsidian black, palladium silver, iridium silver or calcite white are also available) and 17-inch 5-spoke light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tyres (235/60 R 17 at the front, 255/55 R 17 at the rear). As an alternative there are also 16-inch 7-spoke light-alloy wheels and 205/55 R17-size tyres all round.

The optical finesse of the exterior comes courtesy of touches such as shoulderline trim strips in polished aluminium, the finned radiator in brilliant silver matt with chrome highlights and an integrated star, front fog lamps with a chrome ring and chromed twin louvres, chrome highlights in the bumper, rub strip and boot lid plus the B-pillar trim painted glossy black.

Like the exterior, the interior is based on the AVANTGARDE design and equipment line. Its aesthetics have been streamlined and its sportiness sharpened through the inclusion of further high-quality materials and carefully coordinated details. An example of these stylish elements are the seats – exclusively manufactured for the Special Edition – made from black ARTICO man-made leather with Liverpool fabric in como beige. There is contrasting topstitching in comobeige embellishing the seats, centre armrest, door centre panel and floor mats, serving to underline the dynamic theme. The floor mats also bear the “Special Edition” lettering. Leather seats are available as an optional extra – also in two-tone variants featuring black/sahara beige or black/cognac brown.

Trim parts in brushed aluminium which have been designed exclusively for this C-Class Special Edition contrast with the interior in black and beige, creating an ambience full of soul. The standard specification includes armrests with a double cup holder and a stowage compartment at the front and rear, 1/3 : 2/3 folding rear seats with a through-loading feature, a luxury multifunction leather steering wheel with a 4.5 inch display in the instrument cluster that boasts three analogue round dials with tapered tube-style surrounds, not to mention a shift/selector lever in leather, plus seat heating.

The range of equipment includes some superb technical innovations such as AGILITY CONTROL, ADAPTIVE BRAKE and BlueEFFICIENCY, helping the C-Class to set standards in the compact premium-car segment. Also part of the standard specification on board the Special Edition is the Intelligent Light System featuring bi-xenon headlamps with variable light distribution, an active light function, dynamic headlamp range control plus a cornering light function that ensures optimum adaptation to the current visibility. Yet more comfort is afforded by PARKTRONIC with its acoustic and optical distance warning.

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Special Edition is available now in both saloon and estate guise with the entire engine line-up, including the redeveloped, especially powerful four-cylinder diesel engines which come complete with the assurance of their exemplary thriftiness and environmental compatibility. Indeed, it is thanks to them that Mercedes-Benz has achieved model status in this class where efficiency is concerned.

Depending on which engine is ordered, the additional charge on the respective AVANTGARDE model in conjunction with the fabric/ARTICO man-made leather upholstery is between 2,689.40 and 3,879.40 euros (between 4,629.10 and 5819.10 euros in conjunction with leather upholstery) including German VAT.

Alfa Romeo Milano

Posted in Alfa Romeo
Say ciao bella to the Alfa Romeo Milano – the Italian firm’s new VW Golf rival! Replacing the ageing 147 family hatch, the stylish family hatchback should make its worldwide debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

From these spy shots it’s easy to see that the design language from the supermini MiTo has been translated to the Milano. Large headlights sit proudly up front, while the signature Alfa Romeo grille nestles between. At the rear are a pair of bold, circular lights.

While Alfa is ditching numerically tagged cars and switching to names they’re also doubling up on platforms. The Milano is based Alfa’s new, larger mid-size car platform and will go on to underpin the next 159, which is likely to be called the Guilia.

Expect the Milano to be more spacious than the 147 and be powered by a range of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, including the MiTo’s 155bhp 1.4-litre turbo, while range-topping models will get the classic Alfa 3.2-litre V6.

More details will appear before the proper reveal at Frankfurt but sales will start early next year.

Abarth Corse by Sabelt

Posted in Abarth
The new seat “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” is born: a technologically evolved product which is the result of the cooperation between two Italian brands, sharing the same sportsmanship and technological values. In fact, Abarth once more found the ideal partner in Sabelt in order to develop this new product, which confirms the goal of the Scorpion brand to transfer to all its customers the functionality, in terms of performance and safety, of the racing world.

Designed by Sabelt Style Center, under supervision of Abarth Style Center, the new seats stem out of the same philosophy that inspired, in the 60′s, the creation of racing seats for the Abarths 595 and 695. This monococque seats, clearly sports featuring, were designed and produced by Roberto Fusina, with their rounded lines and marked containment bands, suitable either for track racing and tourist use.

Nowadays, the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” match the tipical features of sport seats – such as lightness (10 kilos less than production seats) and the capability of retaining the body under lateral and lengthwise drives, thanks to their mono-layer padding containment bands – with the ergonomy and comfort of the seats conceived for road use.

Equipped with a release and forward-tipping lever, the backrest embodies the headrest and shows the typical slit for the passage of four-point seat belts. In addition, the shell (with its newfangled supporting backrest) and the cushion plate are made out of white compound material, formed by structural polyester resins with 1″ glass fibers, and are moulded using state-of-the-art SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound) technology.

Available in two versions (Frau black leather and fretworked black Alcantara, or black “F1″ technical fabric) the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” are embellished with some details like, for instance, the aesthetic felled seams with red thread and the distinctive Abarth writing, while the silver colour typifies the Scorpion Logo placed on the backrest tilt knob.

After being presented at the recent Geneva show, the first seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” have been installed on 200 Abarth 500s used as courtesy cars by European Ferrari dealers. This renewed cooperation with the Maranello firm deepens its roots in many shared values, such as passion for performance, racing soul, care of details and Italian style, and in the certainty that the “little and wicked” will be capable of satisfying even the highly demanding clients of Ferrari. Featuring an exclusive colour and a coat inspired by the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, these special cars show typical sport features such as the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt”, the variable back-pressure exhaust “Abarth by Magneti Marelli” and the satellite navigator “Abarth Blue&MeTM MAP” with Telemetry function developed by Magneti Marelli.

Some contents of this special series will be soon included in the official Abarth Cars Accessories catalogue, allowing all clients to customize their cars with racing features. In particular, the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” will be available not only to the cars of the “Scorpion” but also to the Fiat 500 and Fiat Grande Punto 3-door models.

Marchionne Appointed New Chrysler Group CEO

Posted in Chrysler, Fiat

The U.S. Supreme Court has finally cleared the way for the government-backed sale of Chrysler LLC to the Fiat Group. The Supreme Court rejected arguments from three Indiana pension funds and other opponents of the transaction to delay the deal while the American automaker also won a court permission to eliminate a total of 789 dealers across the country that lost their franchise agreements overnight as part of the company’s downsizing plan. The new alliance will see the Fiat Group owning a 20 percent stake in Chrysler LLC which will be renamed to ‘Chrysler Group LLC’, while the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian Government have been issued an equity interest equal to 8 percent and 2 percent “on a fully diluted basis”, respectively.

Under the agreement, Fiat’s stake in the Chrysler Group LLC will increase in increments by up to a total of 35 percent but the Italian automaker cannot obtain a majority stake in the company until all taxpayer funds have been repaid.

“This is a very significant day, not only for Chrysler and its dedicated employees, who have persevered through a great deal of uncertainty during the past year, but for the global automotive industry as a whole,” said Sergio Marchionne, who today was named Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Group LLC.

Aside from Marchionne, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Fiat S.p.A., the new Chrysler will be managed by a nine-member Board of Directors, consisting of three directors to be appointed by Fiat, four directors to be appointed by the U.S. Government, one director to be appointed by the Canadian Government and one director to be appointed by the United Auto Workers’ Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.

In a joint statement, the two companies said that the Board is expected to name C. Robert Kidder as Chairman.

“We intend to build on Chrysler’s culture of innovation and Fiat’s complementary technology and expertise to expand Chrysler’s product portfolio both in North America and overseas,” said Marchione. “Those Chrysler operations assumed by the new company that were idled during this process will soon be back up and running, and work is already underway on developing new environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, high-quality vehicles that we intend to become Chrysler’s hallmark going forward.”

“This has, I know, been a difficult process for everyone involved, but we are ready to prove to the American consumer that Chrysler can once again be a strong, competitive company that produces a full portfolio of reliable vehicles that capture the imagination and inspire loyalty,” Marchionne added.

The new alliance between Fiat and Chrysler creates the sixth largest carmaker in the world with combines sales of around 4.5 million vehicles globally based on 2008 results.