Early Reveal for Corvette-Powered Spada Codatronca Monza Speedster

Thanks to these leaked photos, we won’t have to wait for the high-end Top Marques Monaco show in mid-April to get our first taste of the new Spada Codatronca Monza. Loosely based on the Spada Codatronca TS coupe that was revealed at the same show in 2008, the Monza is a hardcore speedster model aimed primarily for weekend track racers with a very fat bank account.

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Rumors: Kia to Reveal New Rio Sedan at New York

The word on the street is that Kia will lift the covers off a sedan version of its new Rio series in a world premiere at the upcoming 2011 New York International Auto Show in mid-April. The new generation of the Rio was recently unveiled in hatchback form at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show earlier this month.

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Toyota May See Production Diminished by 500,000 Cars because of the Earthquake

The shortage of parts and electricity problems in Japan in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake may delay the production of at least 500,000 Toyota vehicles, according to market research company Advanced Research Japan.

The world's largest carmaker may subsequently see its operating profit drop by at least 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in the 2010 fiscal year (ending March 31 2011) and up to 200 billion yen in the 2011 fiscal year. Auto analyst Koji Endo says any impact on production destined for export will affect earnings even more. “Hardly any cars will be built in April and a very low level of production will continue from May,” Endo was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

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Audi Teams up with Renovo Design to Create Wooden Frame Bicycles

Audi is joining a long line of car manufacturers that have reached out to bicycle specialists to create their own range of two wheelers. Being that the brand with the four rings is renowned for the use of aluminum in its cars, you’d expect Audi to employ the lightweight metal on its bicycle series. But that’s not the case as the Ingolstadt automaker teamed up with Renovo Design, a firm famous for its wooden frame bikes. Read more »

New Study Finds Women Comprise 38.5% of U.S. Auto Sales

Americans love their cars. Whether it’s a humble family wagon, a muscle car, a luxury sedan or even a minivan: there’s nothing Americans like better than the automobile. What’s that, you say? What about women car owners?

Unsurprisingly for a species with just two genders, half the world’s population is female. And as everyone these days has to own at least one car, automakers obviously spend a lot of money catering specifically to that section of the market.

In a new study by automotive industry analyst R. L. Polk, it was found that some 38.5% of the last four year’s light vehicle registrations were made by – you guessed it – women. In “not-white” households, it’s more like 40 to 45%. It might not seem like much,

So what are the nation’s womenfolk buying? Would you be surprised to learn that nearly half of all MINI sales (47.9%) went to the fairer sex? Okay, so that’s not too surprising, but how are top five market leaders doing? Well, scroll down to see for yourself:

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Five-Millionth Audi A4 Rolls off the Production Line in Inglostant

Audi's Ingolstadt plant produced on Wednesday the five-millionth A4 model, an Avant station wagon painted in Misano Red. The brand with the four rings started production of the A4 in Ingolstadt in 1994 and since 2007, it has also been building it at Neckarsulm. The A4 Sedan, A4 Avant, A4 allroad quattro, S4 Sedan and S4 Avant are manufactured in Ingolstadt, while the A4 Sedan is built in Neckarsulm in both plants. The A4 range takes up a high proportion of the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants' production capacity. Read more »

Find of the Day: Infiniti G35 Dressed Up as a Nissan GT-R

Usually, it’s Nissan owners that want to upgrade to a model from sister company Infiniti, but in this case, it’s the other way around. Found for sale in Quebec by antonio melandries reader Caroline is this Nissan GT-R wannabe based on the Infiniti G35 Coupe. From what we can tell, the owner’s budget dried out after he or she finished the front end that now resembled the R35 with a bespoke grille and front bumper assembly. Read more »

VIDEO : Watch the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Apply for Jobs

What is the best way to promote a commercial van? Well, you can follow the classic way by showing off its qualities and advantages over the competition, but that lacks originality. On the other hand, a van that writes its own letters of application and sends them to 121 potential employers (i.e. big buyers of commercial vehicles) sounds a lot more creative.

And that’s exactly what a German marketing campaign for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is all about. Check it out in the video below, but don't try to do that to your Sprinter, it might lose its grip -literally...

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GM Reportedly Readying Buick Version of Opel Ampera

Sure, the Opel Ampera is nothing more than a Chevrolet Volt with some extremely mild cosmetic changes, but doppelgangers have always had a very special place in the wonderful world of General Motors. If Bloomberg’s inside sources are right, GM is currently looking into the development of a Buick-badged version of the plug-in hybrid Opel Ampera. According to people familiar with the project, the Buick model could go on sale in 2013, if the plans goes ahead.

Given that the styling changes over the Chevrolet Volt would be limited to a Buick-specific grille and bumper designs, one of the most significant problems GM faces is how to justify the car and its higher price tag which would be in excess of the Volt’s base MSRP of US$41,000 not including a $7,500 federal tax credit.

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Stunning Chevrolet Mi-ray Roadster Concept Premieres at Seoul Motor Show

GM's Korean subsidiary lifted the wraps off the Mi-ray hybrid roadster
concept at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show today, as a tribute to Chevrolet's 100th anniversary this year. The aggressive-looking Mi-ray (which means “future” in Korean) was developed by the GM Advanced Design Studio in Seoul and pays homage to the bow-tie brand's sports car heritage.

The roadster uses styling cues from Chevy's 1963 Monza SS and the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder, but also from aircrafts, with its aerodynamic fuselage being reminiscent of modern jet fighters. Elements like the scissor-doors, the pronounced wheel-arches and the sharp front bumper add further drama to the Mi-ray's appearance.

The car's bodywork is made of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced plastics, while the turbine-shaped wheels (20-inch front/21-inch rear) are made of aluminum-carbon fiber composite.

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Heico Sportiv Redoes the Volvo XC90 SUV, Launches New Styling Package

Seeing that Volvo will be holding on to the XC90, which has been in production since 2002,
for a few more years, tuning firm Heico Sportiv decided to update its styling offerings for the crossover model.

The newly developed bodykit is made from PUR-R-RIM plastic and consists of six parts. These include new front apron that replaces the series-produced central and side panels and has a stainless steel stay located in front of the cooling air outlet, side skirts that are mounted on top of the original parts and a new rear apron that accommodates the four-pipe sports exhaust system with oval chrome end tips.

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Kia Unveils Naimo EV Concept at Seoul Motor Show

Making its world premiere today at the at the Seoul Motor Show, is Kia’s Naimo electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV), a B-segment sized concept car that will serve as a test-bed for the company's EV technology. Penned by Kia's international design team in Seoul, the car takes its name from the Korean word “Ne-mo”, which is pronounced ‘Neh-mo’ and means ‘square shape.

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Anderson Germany Treats the Ferrari GTB Fiorano with Subtle Power and Styling Upgrades

There’s so much you can do to improve a supercar like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, but tuning specialist Anderson Germany believes it has some goods to offer with its new program for the Italian model.

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New Hyundai Blue2 Fuel Cell Concept Debuts at Seoul Motor Show

The 2011 Seoul Motor Show that runs in South Korea from March 31 to April 10 plays host to the world premiere of the all-new Hyundai Blue2 concept study. The name ‘Blue2’, which is read ‘Blue square’, is a combination of Hyundai’s sub eco-brand ‘Blue Drive’ and the number `2’ from H2, the symbol for hydrogen gas.

Codenamed HND-6, the prototype is Hyundai’s first sedan-style Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). The four-door saloon is powered by a fuel cell electric system that delivers a stack power of 90kW or 121HP and fuel economy of 34.9km/ℓ (of hydrogen, of course), which is equal to 82mpg US and 2.9lt/100km. The concept is also equipped with low-resistance tires and alloy wheels which are designed to improve aerodynamic performance.

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Buick Envision Concept SUV Heads to Shanghai Auto Show

A new Buick concept model called the Envision will make its global debut at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 18. Jointly developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), the Envision is a crossover model designed for the Chinese market, although the company points out the vehicle incorporates Buick's "dynamic, fluid, quiet and comfortable" styling language.

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Chevrolet Teases All-New Global Malibu Sedan, will be Sold in Nearly 100 Countries [with Video]

This is the first official photo of the all-new Chevrolet Malibu show car that will debut simultaneously at the Shanghai Auto Show in China and the New York International Auto Show in mid-April. And if you’re wondering why GM made plans to show it in China, that’s because unlike the current model that’s offered only in North America, the new Malibu will be a global vehicle that will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents and built in multiple locations, including China and two facilities in the United States.

“This Malibu takes Chevrolet’s established and award-winning nameplate to new places and introduces it to new audiences around the world,” said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet. “Whether the Malibu is sold in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia, it has been engineered from the ground up to meet the needs of customers around the world.”

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Two Years the Wiser: Marouane Bembli Retackles his Audi R10 Design Study

Back in November of 2009, then 23yo Swedish industrial design student Marouane Bembli brought us an impressive design study for a proposed halo model for Audi to sit above the R8. With its sharp lines, centralized cockpit and Rolls-Royce Phantom rivalling proportions, the R10 was a pretty if unlikely proposal for a next generation Audi supercar.

Now, two years older and presumably a little wiser, Bembli has once again tackled the R10 in what I call the R10 v2.0. Though the concept of a low roofed, widebody coupe with a mid-mounted V10 remains the same, Bembli’s new-for-2011 R10 features a more aggressive front-end treatment, larger rear view mirrors and cabin windows and the addition of fighter jet-inspire side intakes.

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A Quick History of the BMW 3-Series, from 1975 to Today

In 1975, BMW launched the 3-Series as a successor to the 02 series and essentially established the premium compact car segment. The company went on to produce five generation of the 3-Series selling more than 12 million cars worldwide. Even though it changed considerably from one generation to another, the 3-Series kept its core characteristics: a compact body with a classic design, rear-wheel drive, sporty handling characteristics and potent engines.

Launched initially as a two-door coupe, the 3-Series gained throughout the years new body variants such as the sedan, station wagon, coupe, convertible and even a three-door hatchback model (Compact). Scroll down to read a brief history on each generation.

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Saab Temporarily Halts Production After Suppliers Suspend Parts for Not Being Paid

In a sign of the possible problems brewing up at Saab, the Swedish firm was forced to temporarily halt production for a few hours at its plant on Tuesday as well as on Wednesday after component makers cut off deliveries to the factory because they hadn’t been paid.

“Certain suppliers halted supplies to Saab Automobile pending discussions about payments and supply terms,” Spyker said in a statement on Wednesday. “Saab Automobile expects to resolve these issues in the short term, also to prevent any further disruptions in supply. Saab Automobile has sufficient means to meet its immediate liquidity needs from existing and available sources,” the company added.

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Lexus Owner Recreates Epic LS400 “Champagne Glass” Ad from the 1980s

In one of the cleverest ads from the 1980s, Lexus stacked fifteen champagne glasses on the hood of its (then new) LS400 sedan...and then placed it on a dynamometer. Taking the LS400 up to a simulated 145 mph (233 km/h), the viewer marvels as the glasses remain exactly where they should be. The ad ends with the Lexus logo and the words, “The Lexus LS400 is designed to stir the soul...and not much else.”

It’s a great bit of advertising and holds up pretty well even today. There is one question that many would-be Lexus owners may be asking themselves today: are the cars still as good as they were back then? Has engineering perfection über alles survived twenty years of market reinvention and product development?

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Toyota, PSA and BMW Closest to Achieving EU’s New CO2 Targets

Toyota, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and BMW are the carmakers closest to reaching their CO2 targets next year, according to a report by market research firm JATO Dynamics. The targets are imposed by the European Union, whose objective for 2015 is to enforce a fleet average CO2 level of 130 g/km for manufacturers selling cars in Europe.

In order to reach that objective, CO2 targets are lowered progressively each year. In 2009 the average was 145.9 g/km and in 2010 it went down to 140.9 g/km. Emissions regulations will be imposed starting next year, with significant fines to be enforced to automakers that will not comply with the new emissions limits.

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Report: Zagato Rumored to Build Alfa Romeo TZ4 Stradale Based on Dodge Viper V10

A little less than a year ago, famed Italian coachbuilder Zagato celebrated Alfa Romeo’s centenary with the reveal of the TZ3 Corsa at the Villa D'Este Concours. Based on the hardware of the Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione, the TZ3 Corsa paid homage to its TZ predecessors. It was built as a one-off for a wealthy German collector named Martin Kapp.

In December of the same year, Zagato sent out a holiday card featuring the older TZ1 and TZ2 alongside the latest TZ3 and one more unnamed fourth model wrapped in a bow, hinting at a new TZ4. Fast forward to today, and German car magazine Autobild is reporting that the Italian coachbuilder is indeed planning a fourth TZ model, which could carry the TZ4 Stradale nameplate.

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Former F1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen Moving to NASCAR Truck Series

Kimi Raikkonen surprised the motorsport world this week by announcing he will switch to NASCAR this year. The 2007 Formula 1 champion will start
racing with a new team called ICE1 in the Truck series and will later move to the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. Most likely, the team will be supported by Raikkonen himself, whose current WRC team is called ICE1 as well and is backed by the driver and sponsors from Finland.

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VÄTH Turns up the Wick on the Mercedes-Benz CL500 Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz CL500 [C216] coupe is the latest car to drop into the hands of German tuning firm VÄTH. The company starts by squeezing more power out of the 5.5-liter V8 engine through the use of sport camshafts, custom stainless steel sport catalysts and air filters. Output is lifted from 388HP to 460HP and 600Nm, while VÄTH also removes the speed limiter allowing the modified CL500 to reach a top speed of 290km/h or 180mph. Read more »

Tesla Sues the BBC and Top Gear for Libel Against the Roadster

Tesla Motors announced yesterday that it has sued BBC's Top Gear TV show for “libel and malicious falsehood.” The American automaker’s action refers to a Top Gear episode aired on December 14 2008, when Jeremy Clarkson tested the Tesla Roadster.

According to Tesla, the show “contained lies and misinformation about the Roadster's performance, behavior and reliability.” Tesla Motors considers the breakdowns of the Roadster that allegedly occurred during the Top Gear episode were “staged” and that the statements made during the show are untrue.

More specifically, Tesla claims Top Gear misrepresented that:

  1. The Roadster ran out of charge and had to be pushed into the Top Gear hangar by 4 men.
  2. The Roadster’s true range is only 55 miles per charge (not 211).
  3. One Roadster’s motor overheated and was completely immobilized as a result.
  4. The other Roadster’s brakes were broken, rendering the car undriveable.
  5. That neither of the two Roadsters provided to Top Gear was available for test driving due to these problems.

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2012 Jaguar XF Facelift with New 2.2-Liter Turbo Diesel to Debut in New York Auto Show

Undeniably, the XF is one of the most important models in Jaguar’s recent history, as it turned a new design page for the British carmaker at a time the company changed ownership, from Ford to India’s Tata Motors. Now, three years after its market launch in 2008 following a debut at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar is preparing a facelift version of the XF that will receive its world premiere at next month’s New York Auto Show.

The facelift model will receive a makeover that includes a new front fascia with new lights, a redesigned front grille and reshaped bumper, which oddly enough, bring it closer to the original C-XF Concept that previewed the car. The XF will also benefit from tweaks to the interior and the overall quality, the introduction of new tech systems and an upgraded suspension for improved ride and handling.

Perhaps the biggest news for buyers across the pond is the introduction of a new 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The oil-burner is a development of the Ford unit found in the Land Rover Freelander and the European-market Ford Mondeo, however, given that the XF is rear wheel drive, it sits in a north-south configuration so Jaguar had to make several changes to the engine.

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New Porsche Panamera Turbo S Comes with Uprated 550HP V8

Porsche officially lifted the veils off the most powerful and fastest version of the Panamera to date, the new Turbo S. The latest addition to the sports saloon’s range features an uprated version of the standard Turbo model’s 4.8-liter force-fed V8 engine with improved turbochargers boasting titanium-aluminium turbine wheels and modified engine control management.

These changes boost output by 50HP to 550HP and peak torque from 700 to 750 Nm (553 lb-ft), while in the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” mode of the standard Sport Chrono Package Turbo (as well as during kick-down in normal mode) the eight cylinder engine delivers 800Nm (590 lb-ft) courtesy of the over-boost function.

When using the Launch Control function, the Panamera Turbo S completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.8 seconds [0-60mph in 3.6 seconds], and can reach a top speed of 191 mph (307km/h). In comparison, the standard Panamera Turbo needs 4.2 seconds and can go up to 303km/h (188mph).

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FatChance 2.0: The Very First Customized 2011 Chrysler 300 [with Videos]

The original Chrysler 300 is perhaps one of the most popular cars in the tuning industry here in the States, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Detroit automaker is using the car’s successor to tap into the custom scene.

The very first customized 2011MY Chrysler 300 is called the Fatchance 2.0 and it made its debut alongside the firm’s “S” concept cars at this past weekend’s Annual Spring Festival of LXs in California (see here). The low-rider 300 was crafted by John Fortuno aka Fatchance, who apparently caught the attention of Chrysler with his first generation 300-based FatChance 1.0.

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VIDEO: James Glickenhaus’ Ferrari P4/5 Competizione Hits the Nurburgring Track

After commissioning a one-off Enzo-based Ferrari P4/5 from Pininfarina, American millionaire James Glickenhaus wanted a similar car for racing, and that’s how the P4/5 Competizione was born. Similar in shape to the road-going Pininfarina model but different mechanically, the racing version shares many components with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia and the 430 GT2. The P4/5 Competizione features a 4.0-liter V8 engine pushing out 450HP and 600 Nm of torque (442.5 lb-ft), and a carbon-fiber body that helps keep the weight down to 1,230 kg (2,712 lbs).

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Ford and Top Gear Australia Revive Mad Max Interceptor with a Pair of Concepts

More than 30 years after George Miller's original Mad Max film starring Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky hit the screens turning both the American-born Australian actor and his jet-black Ford Falcon XB GT351 coupe-based Interceptor into movie icons, Ford’s local division in partnership with Top Gear Australia magazine, has revealed two concept studies for a modern day Interceptor.

The company formed a group of designers led by chief designer of passenger cars for the Asia, Pacific and Africa region, Todd Willing. The team created several of studies that paid tribute to the styling cues from the original XB Coupe Interceptor, but ultimately, only two made the cut. The winning designs were penned by Nima Nourian and Simon Brook.

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Volvo C30 Electric Undergoes Harsh Winter Testing in the Extreme North

One of the major fears consumers have regarding electric vehicles, besides range anxiety, is how these cars are going to function in rough weather conditions. We all know batteries are sensitive to extreme temperatures, which can affect their capacity of storing electricity.

This is why Volvo is trying out its C30 Electric model in the north of Sweden, inside the Arctic Circle. Temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius are something normal in this part of the world, so Volvo engineers want to ensure the battery-powered car runs smoothly even in harsh environments.

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VIDEO: 2012MY Nissan GT-R Trims Nurburgring Lap Time to 7:24.22, Plus Split-Screen with ZR1

At last November’s LA Auto Show, Nissan lifted the sheets off the revised GT-R that recently went on sale as a 2012MY in North America and as a 2011MY in the rest of the world. Key changes over the previous model include a 45HP bump in output to 530HP, plus a series of aero and chassis tweaks.

For those of you wondering how these modifications affected the GT-R’s performance on the notorious Nordschleife, Nissan’s team managed to shave more than two seconds off the 2011MYs time of 7:26.4, dropping it to 7:24.22, allegedly in less than ideal conditions. You’ll have to skip to about 3:20 into the clip for the driving to begin.

We also found a edited film on Youtube that compares the 2012 GT-R and Corvette ZR-1 on the 'Ring in a split format, which was created by synchronizing the two videos at the pit exit. Watch both videos after the jump.

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STaSIS Engineering Launches 710HP Audi R8 V10 in the UK

North American aftermarket specialist STaSIS Engineering has introduced its Challenge Extreme Edition package for the Audi R8 V10 to Britain. Available in the US since 2010, the performance kit includes powertrain, suspension and brake upgrades that transform the R8 V10 into an even more ferocious supercar, capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h [62mph] in 3.1 seconds, 0.6 seconds faster than the stock model.

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Chrysler Teases 2011MY 300, 200 and Town & Country “S” Concepts at LX Spring Festival

Chrysler found the perfect opportunity to preview its upcoming range of ‘S’ models at the 6th Annual Spring Festival of LXs in Irvine, California this past weekend. The Detroit automaker showed off the “S” trimmed 2011MY 300 sedan, 200 Convertible and Town & Country in concept forms, though all three models are scheduled to enter production later this year starting with the 200 this spring.

According to Chrysler, the “S” treatment is a cosmetic package designed to appeal to younger customers that want something more “edgy” in terms of style. On the 300, this translates to a bespoke gunmetal finish, a new front grille, smoked headlamps and taillights, beefier alloy wheels in a unique design, a boot lid spoiler and if we’re not mistaken (since Chrysler has not released any official details), a lowered suspension. The interior also receives a makeover with red leather seats sporting the “S” logo and bespoke trim.

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Report: Seat to Launch Four New Models in 2012 including a Four-Door Sedan

VW's Spanish subsidiary is expecting a 10 percent rise in sales this year and aims further growth in 2012, when it will launch four new models. According to CEO James Muir, new products such as the Ibiza ST and the Alhambra will boost Seat sales in 2011.

"We want to increase our 340,000 unit sales from last year – by 8 to 10 percent – thanks to existing models. We aim to sell 45,000 units of the Ibiza ST (station wagon) this year. And the Alhambra already is well above plan so we expect a full-year volume of 20,000 units. This proves that our brand is gaining strength," Muir was quoted as saying by Autonews Europe.

For 2012, the company has even bigger plans, fueled by the launch of four new models. "We will launch four new cars: the new Leon, a totally new entry-level model, a four-door sedan and a major Ibiza facelift," said Muir, who was appointed head of Seat in 2009.

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VIDEO: A Wonderful Road Trip through Brazil in an Audi R8 Spyder V10

Truth to be said, any journey would be a blast if you were behind the wheel of sports car like the Audi R8 Spyder V10, but we can’t help but applaud the brand with the four rings for this beautiful, 2-minute long clip filmed in remote, untouristy parts of Brazil. Sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy the ride in the video right after the break.

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Porsche to Unveil New 550HP Panamera Turbo S this Week

*Standard Porsche Panamera Turbo pictured above

There have been rumors floating around the internet lately about a new flagship version of Porsche’s Panamera sports saloon named the Turbo S. We asked around and according to antonio melandries sources, the new Panamera Turbo S is in fact real and it will be revealed by the end of this week.

The most potent model of the Panamera series to date is based on the Turbo model. It features a modified 4.8-liter turbocharged V8 engine delivering around 50 more ponies for a total output of approximately 550HP. Top speed is pegged at 307 km/h (191mph) and it will hit 100km/h (62mph) in 3.8 seconds. That’s compared to the standard Panamera Turbo’s 303km/h (188mph) top speed and 4.2 sec. sprint time.

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