Archive for February, 2010

Refreshed Skoda Fabia and Roomster revealed ahead of Geneva

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Facelifted 2010 Škoka Fabia and Roomster - Click above for high-res image gallery

In just a little bit now there's going to be a party in Switzerland called the Geneva Motor Show, and Škoda is in on the BYOB action. The Czech brand will show off the facelifted Fabia, Fabia Estate and Roomster, along with their new engines. Both models get new grilles and so-called "3D-shaped headlamps" for "a more dynamic look" and to emphasize the width of the cars.

The power behind those new horizontals will be a new engine portfolio of four gas-powered units and two diesels that start at 60 horsepower and top out at 105. One of those gas engines, the 1.2-liter TSI with 105 hp, runs through a 7-speed DSG 'box and returns 53.3 imperial miles per gallon (44.4 U.S. mpg). Follow the jump for the complete specs, and have a look at the two cars in the photos below.



[Source: Škoda]

Continue reading Refreshed Skoda Fabia and Roomster revealed ahead of Geneva

Refreshed Skoda Fabia and Roomster revealed ahead of Geneva originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 19:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Most powerful Buell ever: Staying in the race with the new 1190RR

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It's only been a few months since Harley-Davidson officially announced the demise of Buell, but the gang at Erik Buell Racing weren't comfortable hanging up their leathers just yet. In fact, the newly-released 1190RR may be the first time we get to see the team really show off without any higher-ups to please.

Reading the specs, it clear that you won't run into this Buell at a Riders Edge event. A new version of the Rotax-built V-twin will displace 1190cc and spit out 185 rear-wheel horsepower. EBR claims that through use of high-quality chassis components and good diet and exercise, they were able to reach a fighting weight of 360 pounds (before the 4.6 U.S. gallons of fuel are added to the frame).

The trick race-bred features keep coming, like a full titanium exhaust and valvetrain, multi-plate slipper clutch and straight-cut gear six-speed tranny. Chassis and suspension take the "tune to the moon" approach, with fully-adjustable Showa race suspension, variable rake and, therefore, variable wheelbase. Just off its championship victory in the 2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike series, Buell shows no sign of bowing out gracefully anytime soon. Click past the break to view the full specifications of the 1190RR.

[Source: Hell For Leather]

Continue reading Most powerful Buell ever: Staying in the race with the new 1190RR

Most powerful Buell ever: Staying in the race with the new 1190RR originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 18:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Traffic control in Pyongyang

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Pyongyang Traffic Cop
A member of Pyongyang, North Korea's traffic police on the job. Image by BryanH. Follow the jump to watch video.

North Korea may be a totalitarian hellhole run by a lunatic with an affinity for women's M.C. Hammer glasses, but we'll at least give Dear Leader this: his army of traffic-control maidens is a sight to behold. Stationed at intersections throughout Pyongyang, the uniformed women of the city's traffic police go about their mission with robotic precision. It comes off as a deadly serious affair - no smiling, no banter - as they point what little traffic there is in the direction it needs to go. And, really, it is serious business: After all, even though there may be traffic lights, there's little electricity available to power them.

As such, the burden of maintaining order on the roads falls on the shoulders of these often pretty, yet always stern-faced officials. As one oblivious Mini Cooper driver learns in one of the videos posted after the jump (how does one come to own a Mini in NoKo, anyway?), you can get the traffic girls to leave their posts, which are defined by circles drawn in the intersections, if you ignore their instructions. Only they won't do so until after they complete a formal, choreographed changing of the guard ceremony.

Other observations: in the summer, the blue uniform tops appear to be exchanged for white ones, and the traffic-control stations (at least some of them) are augmented with shaded platforms that presumably make the job somewhat more bearable. It's all bizarrely fascinating to watch, which you can do in several videos posted after the break.

[Source: Roger Ebert via Twitter | Image: BryanH - C.C. 2.0]

Continue reading Video: Traffic control in Pyongyang

Video: Traffic control in Pyongyang originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Traffic control in Pyongyang

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Pyongyang Traffic Cop
A member of Pyongyang, North Korea's traffic police on the job. Image by BryanH. Follow the jump to watch video.

North Korea may be a totalitarian hellhole run by a lunatic with an affinity for women's M.C. Hammer glasses, but we'll at least give Dear Leader this: his army of traffic-control maidens is a sight to behold. Stationed at intersections throughout Pyongyang, the uniformed women of the city's traffic police go about their mission with robotic precision. It comes off as a deadly serious affair - no smiling, no banter - as they point what little traffic there is in the direction it needs to go. And, really, it is serious business: After all, even though there may be traffic lights, there's little electricity available to power them.

As such, the burden of maintaining order on the roads falls on the shoulders of these often pretty, yet always stern-faced officials. As one oblivious Mini Cooper driver learns in one of the videos posted after the jump (how does one come to own a Mini in NoKo, anyway?), you can get the traffic girls to leave their posts, which are defined by circles drawn in the intersections, if you ignore their instructions. Only they won't do so until after they complete a formal, choreographed changing of the guard ceremony.

Other observations: in the summer, the blue uniform tops appear to be exchanged for white ones, and the traffic-control stations (at least some of them) are augmented with shaded platforms that presumably make the job somewhat more bearable. It's all bizarrely fascinating to watch, which you can do in several videos posted after the break.

[Source: Roger Ebert via Twitter | Image: BryanH - C.C. 2.0]

Continue reading Video: Traffic control in Pyongyang

Video: Traffic control in Pyongyang originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why wait for the new TVR? Get one now… but not from TVR

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Just a week ago, the rumor was spread that new TVRs will be coming to the U.S. and that they'll cook their tires with U.S. engines - but you'll probably have to wait until this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed to get the details. Now we've been told that you can buy remanufactured versions of the Tuscan, Sagaris, and T350, and you don't have to wait at all!

These old-as-new TVRs are being sold as rolling chassis, the same way you would buy a Superformance or Rossion, and have otherwise been made to comply with U.S. DOT laws. They're available through Carmel Motorsports in Indianapolis, and all you'll need to do after a phone call and a cash transfer is show up with an engine or a trailer.

We don't know where the supply of cars is coming from, however. The "official" TVR isn't building cars; these are coming from a company called Total Vehicle Remanufacturing. TVR, get it? We don't know anything about them, but hey, one call to Carmel can answer all your questions if you decide you're ready for the raw rear-wheel-drive power of what used to be Blackpool's finest. Hat tip to Alexis!


Why wait for the new TVR? Get one now... but not from TVR originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New smartphone app automatically cuts usage when driving

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If you're truly worried about your teenager and what he or she might get into - or plow into - using a cellphone while driving, then perhaps you might find Cell Cease of interest. If your teen's phone runs on Windows Mobile and has GPS, Cell Cease will block the ability to make and receive most phone calls if it detects the phone is moving more than 5 miles per hour. Only 911 calls and an allowed numbers list will be able to get through otherwise.

Once installed, Cell Cease makes changes to the software with with a PIN code. While safety is the intended benefit, there are not-insignificant downsides. Running Cell Cease can reduce your usable battery time by up to 20 percent, for one. Even more importantly, Cell Cease can't tell how you're moving faster than 5 mph. If you're a passenger in a car, riding on a bus or train, cruising in a sailboat, or even just walking pretty quickly, it doesn't matter: your phone is rendered nearly useless. On another note, is there a teen in the world that actually uses a WinMo phone?

[Source: Cell Cease | Image: Ryan Harvey - CC.2.0]

Continue reading New smartphone app automatically cuts usage when driving

New smartphone app automatically cuts usage when driving originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 12:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VIDEO: Naughty Volvos headed this way?

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Volvo Teaser
Naughty Volvos are coming - Click above to watch video after the jump

March 2, at the Geneva Motor Show, Volvo is promising us "naughty" cars. We have no idea what they have in mind - Sinful sedan? Evil estate? Headstrong hatch? Your guess is as good as ours, but as the video shows, there will be an S60 involved somehow. We hope that lucky gold feline comes along for the ride, too. Follow the jump to check out the teaser. Hat tip to Matthew

[Source: Volvo]

Continue reading VIDEO: Naughty Volvos headed this way?

VIDEO: Naughty Volvos headed this way? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 11:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford to benefit most from Toyota’s woes in February sales totals

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2010 Ford Fusion Sport
2010 Ford Fusion Sport - Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota
is bracing for lower February sales as its massive recall and the ensuing media storm have cast a shadow over the automaker. Just how low can Toyota go? The Detroit Free Press says it could see its lowest US market share in over five years this month, with about 12 percent of U.S. sales.

Most analysts anticipate that Toyota will have a very rough month, but the big question on their minds is which automakers stand to gain the most from Toyota's pain. Edmunds and TruCar reportedly think that winner will be Ford, as they estimate that the Oval will see a 35-percent sales increase. If correct, that'll vastly outpace the nine to 14 percent increase for the month that was previously forecasted.

Despite Ford's anticipated performance and projected double-digit gains for the industry as a whole, the market is still struggling. After all, these February 2010 sales projections are increases in relation to the dismal February 2009 numbers, which came as the recession helped deliver the industry its lowest sales levels in 30 years. February 2010 sales are also expected to be generally lower because of the multiple east coast snowstorms that kept customers out of dealerships for much of the month.



[Source: The Detroit Free Press]

Report: Ford to benefit most from Toyota's woes in February sales totals originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Feb 2010 09:19:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Women of supercross volunteer their bosoms for the greater good

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Supercross announcer Erin Bates gets a chest-casting for charity - Follow the jump to watch the video

If you've followed Supercross over the last few years, chances are you're familiar with Erin Bates and Ashley Phillips. The attractive announcing duo recently partnered with Troy Lee Designs and the Keep A Breast foundation to give the world a chance to bid on their boobs (well, reasonable facsimiles, at least). It's all for a good cause, natch.

Bates and Phillips agreed to have life-sized casts made of their feminine assets, one layer at a time. These were then painted by the gang at Troy Lee Designs. The resulting works, as seen on the right, were auctioned off earlier this week in an effort to help boost breast cancer awareness and promote prevention, early detection, and support for those afflicted.

Now, while you can no longer bid on these particular breasts, you can watch how they were made. Click past the break to view the Troy Lee Designs-produced "making of" video of Ashley and Erin's casting sessions.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Women of supercross volunteer their bosoms for the greater good

Video: Women of supercross volunteer their bosoms for the greater good originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 27 Feb 2010 16:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Audi A1-based e-tron concept headed to Geneva

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Audi A1
2011 Audi A1 - Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi will finally show off its new A1 minicar this week in Geneva. As usual, it'll be available in Europe with an array of gas and diesel engines, but a French website reports that the A1 will also form the basis for a third e-tron concept. If Audi sticks with the pattern it started last month in Detroit, this one will be dubbed the e-tron Geneva Concept. The idea isn't without merit; reports that Audi plans to build a roadgoing electric version of the A1 have circulated for some time.

While Audi plans to build a limited run of the R8-based e-tron that it unveiled in Frankfurt, an electric car based on the new A1 is most likely to be the brand's first volume plug-in vehicle. Small, limited-range, urban commuters like the A1 will likely dominate the electric car arena for the foreseeable future until battery costs come down. A tip of the hat to Adam!


Gallery: 2011 Audi A1


[Source: Le Buzz Auto]

Report: Audi A1-based e-tron concept headed to Geneva originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 27 Feb 2010 14:07:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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