Vauxhall Tigra Sport Rouge Special Edition

The Sport Rouge is Vauxhall’s equivalent of the Opel Tigra Illusion that was unveiled at the Geneva Show last March. The special edition’s most prominent feature is of course its roof which is now covered in a Bordeaux Red coloured fabric giving a soft top illusion to the hard top roadster.

This edition is available in four body colors - Metro Blue, Star Silver, Flame Red or Black Sapphire - and comes as standard with central locking, electrically adjustable door mirrors, CD player and steering wheel mounted controls. Also standard are 16” alloy wheels, an aux-in MP3 player jack and Sports seats. -Continued

Offered with a choice of three engines – 1.4 liter and 1.8 liter petrols, and a 1.3 turbo diesel, the Tigra Sport Rouge is available for order in the UK with prices range from £15,705 to £17,195.

Mercedes-Benz Shares Thoughts and Pictures on the “Sex and the City” Movie

The only time we happily watched anything in concern of “Sex and the City” without some nagging gal twisting our arm was when a paparazzi video featuring a scene with the then, unrevealed Mercedes-Benz GLK was leaked into the net last December.

Now Mercedes-Benz has released a set of images shot during the filming of the “Mature women do it everyway and with everyone in the city” along with a short interview with Kim Cattrall –aka Samantha “Just do it” Jones, and a behind the scenes story on the GLK’s promotional appearance in the movie. -Continued

Excerpt from Kim Cattrall interview at the Laureus World Sports Award 2008 (St. Petersburg, February 17th, 2008)

Interview transcripted from original TV recording, incomprehensible interview questions and passages were cut

I = Interviewer
C = Kim Cattrall

I: Kim, I heard that in the new 'Sex and the City' movie there's gonna be a Mercedes involved which nobody saw yet.

C: Yes, when we were filming with my co-star - it was the GLK Mercedes SUV - there were so many photographers in Beverly Hills and there have been very many photographers in New York. When we were filming.I thought, there's all these photographers, I felt so proud and happy, but they weren't interested in me, they were interested in the new Mercedes GLK. They were all trying to photograph the dashboard, which was completely new, so they would have the first photograph - so I was upstaged by the Mercedes car (laughing).

I: By the car! (laughs)

C: Exactly, a newer model, I guess (laughing).

I: Do you drive a Mercedes in your private life?

C: I just ordered an SL. I've had a romantic love affair with a Mercedes for a very long time, especially when I was a struggling actress - but now I am so happy that I am successful enough to own one myself.

I: And why is it the Mercedes - that you like so much, is it because of the style, or is it the technical details?

C: You know, I think that the Mercedes is made by very, very smart, passionate people. I've been playing this very passionate character for a very long time - I think it goes very well hand in hand, with me as a person and with me as an actor. I also very much like something that has that steel around me, I feel very, very safe in it and I live in New York where we have a lot of weather conditions. It's not like sunny California. So it put a lot of demands on the car that you drive, I feel very happy and safe.

(end of interview excerpt)

Mercedes-Benz Thoughts on Sex and the City

Transportation of vehicle from Stuttgart factory to Rodeo Drive

Although the all new GLK small SUV isn’t scheduled to hit dealers until October 2008 (January 2009 for the U.S.), the opportunity for a vehicle to be showcased in a scene of the summer’s hottest film, Sex and the City, was too good to pass up. It was however, quite challenging to secure an early release from the prototype vault at the Stuttgart factory.

Having not made its debut prior to the shoot on Rodeo Drive, the vehicle had to travel to the US in a cloak of secrecy. Accompanied by a designated Mercedes-Benz representative from Germany, there were many steps taken to protect the visual identity of the beautiful prototype from the outside world. Even the key which opened a tamper-proof container holding the car was locked away in a safe place and only accessible by one security personnel!

The GLK arrived in Long Beach California just days before shooting and was transported to Beverly Hills and kept secret until the cast and crew were ready for the scene. Given that the car had to sit on a public street, security had their hands full keeping the car under wraps until the scene was ready.

Finally, when the shoot was over, the same security personnel responsible for handling the container upon its arrival, was the only person who could lock it back up on its return trip to Germany.

Prepping the vehicle for the scene on Rodeo Drive

Nothing in Hollywood is left to chance, and every aspect of filmmaking is perfectly prepared, reviewed, and double checked to ensure that the scenes are absolutely perfect. For the Rodeo Drive shoot the set design and inclusion of the GLK were no exception. In the short weeks leading up to the scheduled shoot, costume designer Patricia Field recommended the color of the car match the rest of the set design. Since the car was originally black, the paint shop at the factory had to work their own magic in order to repaint the entire vehicle, as most of the car parts on prototypes are unique, handmade and not available in large quantities the way they are on traditional assembly line vehicles.

As it was, the car arrived in the US without its side mirrors, and had to have them attached at the Mercedes-Benz Long Beach Tech Center the night before the shoot. While this doesn’t sound complicated, side mirrors on prototypes cannot just be screwed into the doors, but instead need to be adjusted in a very meticulous process.

Security for the GLK

Because the design and entire shape of the vehicle had never been exposed to the public before, and was scheduled for its first public debut at the NAIAS Detroit Motor Show 3 weeks later, the vehicle require high security at all times. Therefore, there was a team of 12 security guards whose job it was to prevent photos from being taken by bystanders and the press. Camouflage was placed over the dash to prevent images of the interior from being taken.

To visually protect the car as much as possible, the shoot was scheduled for 6 am on a Sunday morning on Rodeo Drive. Despite their best efforts, all bets were off once the paparazzi arrived. At one point, in the middle of the shoot, one of the security guards and three deputy sheriffs had to grab the cover of the vehicle and jump into the middle of the scene in order to shield it from paparazzi cameras.

Additionally, a photographer was spotted lying on the roof of a hotel across the street with a telephoto lens focusing in on the scene. Even though a photo was leaked to the internet just a few hours later, it was an incredible effort by the security team to protect the privacy of the car. Keeping a high profile car secret when it is exposed to the pubic for the first time is hard enough. Add that to an association with a high profile film shoot, and sneak peaks are bound to get out.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

When watching the film, it may seem that the scene featuring Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week actually happened during the event itself, but it wasn’t that easy. With the permission of M-B and IMG, Production was given the original Sept., 2007 Fashion Week tent, sets, props, graphics, etc. so they could re-create the event for this scene of the film. This was as challenging for the film production team as getting the GLK prototype out of the factory was for Mercedes-Benz: Its hard to imagine how many things need to be orchestrated and how many people need to be involved to recreate such an event in New York for a movie scene.

It took approximately 36 hours and plenty of explanation to the many New Yorkers who were surprised to see the tent being constructed in November (Fashion Week season is normally in September and February). The Mercedes-Benz SLR Roadster display alone took 12 hours to rebuild. It was amazing to watch a film set with more than 200 people, each with their own assignment, get the scene shot - from the caterer serving a hungry crew, to the director watching every single detail in order to have the perfect sequence locked in. Mercedes-Benz was even given 7 “extra” spots and engaged their employees in a small contest to win one of these 7 walk-on spots. While the lucky winners were on set for 14 hours on the day of their shoot, they were treated like true VIP’s, had their hair and makeup done, and were made to feel like real movie stars.

Mercedes-Benz Manhattan dealership

In another scene, the outside of the Manhattan Mercedes-Benz dealership was used for filming. The dealership allowed the production crew to disguise the outside of the dealership to look like a night club by covering their side windows in a red film. When you see the movie you won’t be able to tell that this is usually a Mercedes-Benz car dealership.

Additional Thoughts

The filming of the GLK scene on Rodeo Dr. took approximately 7 hours to shoot. The 7 hours of work will eventually become only 2 minutes of time in the final cut of the film. It is easy to understand how a 2-hour movie can take over 100 days to shoot.

2009 Mazda6 U.S. Spec Revealed – Larger & More Powerful Than Euro Version

Following on the heels of the European and Japanese spec versions, Mazda has revealed the North American market Mazda6 Sedan that will go on sale in the U.S. in late summer, 2008. Surprisingly, compared to the Euro Mazda6, the North American spec model does not only feature greater engine displacement but it has also grown in dimensions featuring a larger body.

Design-wise and from what we can tell from the initial images released, the US Mazda6 Sedan retains the basic shape of its European counterpart adding a few unique details like the new grille, the aluminum fog-light trim and most importantly, the restyled rear-end which incorporates a small lip spoiler on the trunk. There are no pics of the interior so we'll have to wait and see the differences.

The 2009 Mazda6 will be powered by Mazda’s newly developed 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s already available in the European and Japanese spec models along with the CX-9’s 3.7-liter V6 unit (it produces 273Hp in the CX-9). A 6-speed manual and a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode will be available for the 2.5L engine while the V6 will be coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode. –Continued

Other mechanical changes include the suspension which has been tuned to meet tha particular demands of the North American market in terms of handling and comfort.

“This is the most important new vehicle Mazda has launched in a decade,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO, from Denver, where the car was unveiled to Mazda dealers a day earlier at the company’s North American Dealer Meeting. “The midsize sedan segment – where MAZDA6 competes – is a real battleground, with some of the best vehicles in the industry going toe-to-toe for sales. This new MAZDA6 was designed and engineered specifically for the North American market – the third Mazda in a row to be so – and will take on the very best cars from Asia, Europe and the U.S.”

As with its predecessor, the 2009 Mazda6 Mazda6 will be produced at AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock, Michigan, a joint venture with partner Ford Motor Company

The 2009 Mazsa6 will be available in North America only as a four-door sedan, and in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, with varying levels of standard and optional equipment. More information and pictures on the all-new 2009 Mazda6 will be available closer to launch.

Audi TTS Official Safety Car for 2008 Tourist Trophy Motorcycle Races

The latest and most powerful Audi TT, the new 272Hp TTS Coupe has been chosen by organizers as the official safety car at the Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle races that runs on the Isle of Man, Britain from 24 May-6 June. Adrian Earnshaw, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, Isle of Man Government, commented: “It is a great opportunity to have Audi as our Official Car Partner especially considering the Audi TT sportscar is named after the TT motorsport event dating back over 100 years”. –One more pic after the jump

One Third of European Road Tunnels Fail to Pass Safety Test

An independent survey conducted across Europe by the European Tunnel Assessment Program (EuroTAP) has produced the worst safety result for five years. After performing safety tests on 31 tunnels in eleven European countries, EuroTAP inspectors discovered that nine tunnels failed to make the grade.

EuroTAP’s methodology consists of more than 200 criteria classed in eight categories that examine the preventative, mitigating and remedial features of a tunnel as well as its risk and safety potentials. Additionally, a so called knockout criteria leads to any tunnel with a single serious defect automatically having its score downgraded.

Leading the poor results in 2008 are Norway and Italy. In particular, Norway recorded terrible marks with all of the three tunnels tested receiving a rating of “Very Poor”: the Eikefet, Jernfjell and Matreberg tunnels. In Italy’s case, three out of the five tunnels tested are on the losing end: the Breva, Cernobbio and surprise, surprise, the newly built Marinasco tunnel. The biggest loser placed at the bottom of the list is the 2.4 km long Cernobbio tunnel built in 1983 in the city of the same name at Lake Como. –Continued

At the bottom of the list we also find the Belgian Waasland tunnel in Antwerp, the Spanish Pando tunnel (AP 66 near Pola de Lena) and the German Universität Düsseldorf tunnel (in Düsseldorf).

On the bright side, all nine tunnels tested in Austria and Switzerland received positive ratings. Italy also reached positive grades for the Serrone Tondo tunnel (A 3 near Contursi Terme) and the Valsassina tunnel (SS 36 near Lecco). At the top of the list is the 1.3 km long Pont Pla tunnel, opened in 2006, in Andorra la Vella, the capital city of the tiny state of Andorra in the eastern Pyrenees between Spain and France.

“The Tunnel Safety Directive was adopted in 2004 and remarkably public authorities and operators still fail to fulfil our recommendations towards the improvement of tunnel safety disparities across Europe, said Professor Reinhard Rack, MEP commenting on this year’s results.

“We will continue to test tunnels and to exert public pressure via the media. The people in charge will respond with investment and tunnel refurbishment. The consequences are safe tunnels and ultimately this will benefit everybody" said Robert Sauter, EuroTAP Chairman from the German Automobile club ADAC.

Posted by Chris

60 MPG / Highway VW Jetta BlueTDI Coming to the US this Summer

The production version of VW's clean BlueTDI engine was unveiled today at the International Vienna Motor Symposium (24-25 April). Developed especially for the North American market, the Jetta BlueTDI features an advanced 2.0-liter common-rail turbo diesel engine that produces 140 Hp and 320 Nm or 236-lb/ft of torque.

Based on the high-tech TDI, which was first introduced in Europe in 2007 with the Tiguan, this four-cylinder diesel engine was redeveloped with internal engine modifications and a NOx trap in order to meet specific operating conditions in the U.S. But apart from being clean, VW supports that the new diesel engine helps the Jetta achieve a fuel economy of up to 60 mpg on the highway. The Jetta BlueTDI will go on sale in the States this summer. -Continued

“High fuel prices and a dramatic change in environmental consciousness means that diesel is becoming more and more attractive for American drivers every day.” said Dr. Ing. Jens Hadler, Director of Volkswagen Powertrain Development.

“This is why many customers, especially in California, have been waiting for a super-clean diesel like our BlueTDI. I think this motor will help the diesel get its big break in America because it consumes so little and yet can go such long distances on a single fill-up. And in a country as big as the United States, this is a priceless advantage.”

2008 Saab 9-3 Convertible Yellow Edition

We’re still scratching our head with Saab’s official picture of the new 9-3 Convertible Yellow Edition adorned with sunflowers somewhere in the Alps but whatev. Fact is that Saab has released a yellow version of its 2008 9-3 Convertible for the US market. The Swedes believe that, like the first-ever yellow version of the Convertible issued in 1991, this one too will obtain a collectors status in the near future as production will be limited to a few hundred units. -Continued

Based on 2.0T version with its 210 Hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Yellow Edition gets a series of standard equipment, including XM radio and OnStar, Aero look items such as 17-inch, five spoke alloy wheels and a subtle rear spoiler along with a premium audio system. The 2008 Saab 9-3 Convertible Yellow Edition has a MSRP of $42,830, including destination charges.

Citroen & Peugeot Announce New 1.0-Liter 3-Cylinder Engine with 70 to 100Hp

The French car group PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced plans to develop a new family of 1.0-litre 3 cylinder petrol engines with power ranging from 70 to 100 Hp. Although neither Citroen nor Peugeot gave any specific details, apparently the most powerful versions of the 3-cylinder unit will be turbocharged. PSA said that the new engine line-up will bring very significant reductions in CO2 consumptions and emissions. The aim is to offer the market vehicles with CO2 emissions below 100g/km without using any additional technology. -Continued

The new 3-cylinder engines will be produced in two manufacturing sites, one in France, the other in Eastern Europe. The first facility, located on the PSA Peugeot Citroën site at Trémery, France and with an annual capacity of 600,000 engines, will be operational as of 2011.

The second facility will be set up in Eastern Europe by 2012. PSA Peugeot Citroen has begun canvassing several countries in this region and according to their plan, the choice will be made in the middle of this year.

Honda Readying 8-Passenger Version of Fit / Jazz?

These renderings depicting an 8-passenger variant of the new Honda Jazz / Fit were scanned from an unknown Japanese car magazine which supports that the car will be called Freed. Based on a stretched version of the Fit /Jazz, platform, the Freed is said to be able to seat 5 to 8 passengers, depending on the seat configuration.

The magazine also supports that the Fit / Jazz minivan will be powered by a 118 Hp 1.5-liter engine matted to a CVT transmission. Well, as they say, seeing is believing so we'll be wary until we actually see production pics of the alleged “Freed”. –More pics after the jump

Via: Winding Road , Source: Le Blog Auto

Audi Q5 S-Line Interior & Exterior Package

Audi has released the first photos of their S-line treatment applied to the new Q5 compact SUV (pics here) that made its debut at last week's 2008 Beijing Show. The S line exterior package which will be available as an option imparts a slightly more sporty look to the compact SUV thanks to the bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 255/45 R20 performance tires, black exterior window trim roof rails, polished grille and honeycomb-styled air-vents surrounding the fog lights. -Continued

The S-Line interior package sports a three spoke multifunction steering wheel with perforated leather, brushed aluminum inlays, front sport seats with S line logo embroidered into the seat back, aluminum door sills with S line badge and perforated leather shift knob.

Lamborghini’s Bull Loving Ferrari’s Prancing Horse

We’re not sure whether the picture above is the result of photoshop or an actual decal decorating the Lamborghini of an overly proud and passionate owner, but either way, we found it extremely funny - in a sort of, adolescent car aficionado way of course.

Via: , Source: Happyblog

Bentley Opens Third Dealership in Russia

Business seems to be booming in Russia for Bentley Motors as the luxury carmaker expanded its dealers by opening a new showroom in St. Petersburg. The launch marks Bentley’s third showroom in Russia as the St. Petersburg dealership joins the two existing showrooms in Moscow, at Tretyakovsky proezd near the Red Square and in Barvikha Luxury Village. In 2007 Bentley sold a little over 200 cars in Russia and from what it seems, the company’s plans for 2008 are equally ambitious.

BMW M-Zero: “Aston-Martinized” Bimmer Coupe Concept

The M-Zero Concept you see in the CGI (computer generated image) above is the work of designer Mael Oberkampf and it depicts an alternative look for a future BMW sport coupe. The concept combines the overall silhouette of an Aston Martin DB9 with details from several BMW production (front-end) and concept models (rear-end). With the exception of the huge tires and the so-and-so execution of Bimmer’s characteristic Hofmeister kink, not a bad proposition at all. –More images after the jump


First UK Ferrari Store to Open This Autumn

The famous Italian sports carmaker signed an agreement today (April 24, 2008) with the Percassi Group for the opening of the first Ferrari Store in the British market. Set to open this fall, the Ferrari Store will be located on London’s Regent Street and will cover an area of around 550 square meters spread over two levels housing a wide range of Prancing Horse products aimed at Formula 1 fans, GT enthusiasts, children and collectors. -Continued

There are currently 20 outlets in the Ferrari Store retail chain, half of which are outside of Italy in China, the United States, United Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Macao and Singapore.