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27 January 2009

Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI

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The way Volkswagen talks up the $42,800 Touareg V6 TDI, you\’d almost think it was the ninja of SUVs: a single package with so many highly developed capabilities that its gas-engined foes are annihilated and left on the side of the road with ninja shuriken lodged in their tailgates before they even realize they\’ve been outdone. The engine alone promises reduced fuel consumption, fewer emissions, more power, more torque, better responsiveness and quiet progress. The only questions then are: Does it deliver and will anyone buy it? We took it for a spin to find out. Follow the jump for the story.

Gallery:First Drive: 2009 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI

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27 January 2009

Top 10 finalists for World Car of the Year announced

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The 2009 World Car of the Year competition is back for its fifth run, and the jurors have determined their ten, no, 11 finalists. The WCotY is determined by the votes of over 50 journalists from countries the world over (none of which works for Autoblog). Some of the finalists include the award-hoarding Nissan GT-R and Jaguar XF, plus strong entries like the Ford Fiesta, Fiat 500, and Audi A4. Due to a tie for 10th place, there are 11 finalists this year. Judges will next narrow their choice to the top three vehicles by March 9, and the winner will be announced at the New York Auto Show on April 9. Hit the jump to view the the WCotY finalists, along with a short press release.

[Source:… Read the rest of this entry

26 January 2009

Honda S2000 to be terminated at the end of 2009 MY

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Fans of Honda\’s four-wheeled sport-bike, the S2000, will want to snap one up soon, as Honda has announced that the S2000\’s ten-year production run will end at the close of the 2009 model year. The high-revving roadster has always had more in common with the company\’s high performance motorcycles, thanks to it\’s 9,000 rpm redline and minimal low-end torque. The S2000\’s abilities to tackle the twisties and assault the track have made it one of the go-to choices for enthusiasts, and with plenty of aftermarket support, it became a prime platform for tuners.

US sales of the S2000 dipped to a mere 72 units in December bringing the 12-month total to 2,538, down from 4,302 the year before. Over its ten-year run Honda has sold 110,000 S2000s world wide with about 65,000 of those here in the US.

Gallery:Honda S2000 Club Racer

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26 January 2009

2009 Dodge Charger SXT 3.5

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Comparedto our last Charger, this one is positively subtle. Last time around, we sampled one of Dodge\’s police car demonstrators decked out in full law enforcement regalia including a roof-top light bar and traditional black-and-white paint job. Driving the cop Charger was a mix of euphoria and paranoia. This time, Chrysler sent over a civilian SXT model powered by the company\’s 3.5-liter V6.

While the name hearkens back to coupes of the \’60s and \’70s (we\’ll ignore the forgettable badge job Omni edition of the \’80s, thank you very much!) this is a full-sized sedan in the great American tradition. Given the current economic environment, future fuel economy regulations and the likely trajectory of gas prices, this is also a tradition that may be on its last legs. Read on after the jump to find out if this is a tradition worth preserving.

 2009 Dodge Charger SXT 3.5

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23 January 2009

Porsche unveils its latest GT3 RSR

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Porsche has unveiled the latest iteration of its GT2-class racing car, the GT3 RSR. Visually, the biggest difference for \’09 is up front, where a substantially louvered hood now resides. It\’s there because the car\’s radiator ductwork has been redesigned so as to accommodate the racer\’s optional A/C system. Other changes are hidden, but no less important. Aero tweaks include a rear wing angle that\’s more adjustable than on last year\’s car. The brakes and wiring harness contribute to lighter weight, and inside the pilot gets a new multifunction display. There\’s also a revised supply system that allows for an infinitely adjustable blink rate for the front lights. That makes for easy nighttime identification when the car pits. The oil filler has been relocated for easier access, and the GT3 RSR is equipped with a new air jack, as well.

That\’s all well and good, but what… Read the rest of this entry

23 January 2009

Hamman-Uhh, Hamman-Uhh: Tuner takes BMW X6 to the extreme with Tycoon

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German tuner Hamann seems to have a knack for creatively naming its vehicles. There\’s the Volcano based on the McLaren SLR, the 911 Turbo dubbed Stallion, the Cayenne-based Cyclone, and even an F430 called the Black Miracle. The latest to be added to the Hamann lineup is the Tycoon, a widebody version of the BMW X6 that also gets a boost in power as well as some interior appointments. The body kit itself consists of a new front fascia and front and rear \”wings\” that provide the extra width, plus side skirts, a three-part diffuser and roof spoiler. Anodized 23-inch alloy wheels with a polished lip complete the look of the exterior.

Under the hood, Hamann boosts the twin-turbo inline-6 in the xDrive35i model to 360 horsepower, and a performance package for the Euro-only diesel engine is available as well. Inside, carbon fiber trim and aluminum… Read the rest of this entry

23 January 2009

2009 Dodge Ram Laramie Crew Cab 4X2

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Many consider the Dodge Aries K and Dodge Caravan the most important Chryslers of the past 30 years. We agree those two vehicles were a huge part of keeping the Pentastar in business, but we\’d add the 1994 Dodge Ram to the list, as well. Dodge wasn\’t even competitive in the lucrative full-size truck market until the bold-faced \’94 model hit dealerships, and Chrysler\’s light-duty pickup has held on to 3rd place in truck sales ever since. The Ram constantly finished in the money until the all-new Toyota Tundra hit the scene. Toyota\’s first serious try at a full-size pickup, coupled with the hot-selling Tacoma, outsold the Ram and Dakota combined for the first time in 2008.

Luckily for Team Pentastar, Dodge had an answer to the Tundra waiting in the wings. The 2009 Dodge Ram brings more power, more refinement and plenty of gadgets to the… Read the rest of this entry

23 January 2009

Updates the 911 GT3 RSR for 2009

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The most powerful race-spec 911, the GT3 RSR which is designed to compete in the GT2 class at international long distance races, has received a series of modifications for the 2009 model year. The updated 911 GT3 RSR features a more aerodynamic body, a larger capacity boxer engine as well as upgrades in the interior.

In the 2009 model, the capacity of the six-cylinder boxer engine has been increased from 3.8 to 4.0-litres delivering around 450HP at 7,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 430 Nm at 7,250 rpm. Power is driven to the rear wheels through a sequential six-speed gearbox. Other mechanical changes include the weight-optimised brake system and the lighter wiring harness.


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On the outside, the most distinguishing feature of the new GT3 RSR is the redesigned front-end with large air outlets on the… Read the rest of this entry

17 January 2009

SMS 570 Challenger has a coming out party

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Steve Saleen wanted to show us that his new company is going to be a little different than the old one. So to launch his first production model under the SMS badge, he rented out an Orange County night club and had a rave. Very unlike the Saleen launches we\’ve attended in the past. After a couple hours of drinking and dancing, the cover was pulled off the first SMS 570 Challenger and we got to see the car in the flesh for the first time. Although the lighting made photos a little tricky, we have to admit it was a heckuva lot more fun than just seeing it at an auto show press conference.

The launch felt a bit like a wrap party, for the crowd was mainly comprised of SMS staff and Saleen family members celebrating the completeion of SMS 570 Challenger numero uno. While we… Read the rest of this entry

15 January 2009

New Mazda6 and Mazda2 Tamura Special Edition Models

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Mazda\’s UK division is celebrating the New Year -or so they say- with the introduction of three new \’Tamura\’ Special Edition models based on its Mazda2 three- and five-door and, Mazda6 hatchback cars. All models come equipped with a sport styling exterior and interior package as well as additional standard features and unique color offerings.


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Starting with the Mazda6 5dr Tamura, it is offered exclusively with a 147HP 2.0-liter petrol engine that helps it accelerate from standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 10.2 seconds. Available in two unique mica colors – Sparkling Black and Velocity Red – plus Galaxy Grey mica and Sunlight Silver metallic, the Mazda6 Tamura stands out thanks to the addition of a Sports Styling Pack. It includes front and rear sports bumpers, side skirts and rear spoiler, plus privacy glass, clear rear… Read the rest of this entry

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