The Jeep Wrangler Black Ops edition -- both in-game and in meatspace.
The Jeep Wrangler will appear in the upcoming CoD release, "Call of Duty: Black Ops," but it will also appear at your local Jeep dealership as a real-world, special-edition Rubicon Wrangler -- the updated 2011 version, natch -- that also includes a murdered-out exterior, 32-inch off-road tires surrounding Mineral Gray alloy wheels, taillight guards and fuel door by Mopar, and logos from the video game itself.
By Mark Vaughn
A little rain drizzled over the ninth showing of the Art Center Car Classic in Pasadena, Calif., but that only served to weed out the weak. The true car lovers braved the wet and didn’t let it dampen their spirits. In return, they got the usual glorious phalanx of stunning automotive design, shared with distinguished alumni who return each year to the hillside campus.
The previous eight Car Classics had been served up in July, when, in Pasadena, it is usually about 145 degrees.
“Everyone loves the show,” said Jay Sanders, director of the transportation design department. “The only thing they’ve said is, ‘It’s so darned hot. Can you do anything about it being so darned hot?’ So we said, ‘Hey, let’s move the thing to October. And so here ya go, October weather.”
It didn’t seem to bother the cars. There were 160 of them this year. Or rather, 160 vehicles. Of those, about 120 were “cars” while the rest included two motorcycles, four go-karts, one airplane and 20 vintage bicycles from the collection of Steven and Shaun Thomas. The latter included everything from an 1865 Michaux Velocipede to a 1970 Schwinn Sting-Ray 3-speed. The plane was a full-size Icon Aircraft A5 amphibious model.
But the cars, oh, man.
Audi sharpens its sharpest sports car.
The engineers took the company’s considerable race experience and threw it all at the R8: The standard R8's lightweight aluminum body panels were ditched in favor of even lighter carbon fiber, and the stock windshield was replaced with a thinner unit with the aim of taking more pounds off. Even the side glass has been sent to the trash bin, swapped instead for polycarbonate. The result of those efforts is a 220-pound weight difference compared with the base Euro-spec vehicle.
By Brad Constant
Automakers are going to great lengths to get more miles per gallon from their vehicles and everything is being looked at--even the engine oil.
Every 2011 General Motors car rolls off the assembly line with the engine filled with a new generation of oil. Other automakers, such as Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group, are also beginning the switch to new oil, known by its industry grading as GF-5 or SN, or, in GM’s case, Dexos1.
The grade identifies oil that’s designed to help engines run more efficiently and better protect them from wear. Those are key properties as automakers wring more horsepower out of smaller engines and make greater use of heat-producing turbochargers and superchargers.
The protection properties of the new oil also have the potential environmental benefit of increasing the mileage interval between recommended oil changes.
Mulitple manufacturers move back into the minivan segment
The staid family hauler suffered a decline with the rise of the SUV, leaving several years during which only Toyota, Honda and Chrysler produced them. Now? Ford and Nissan, and possibly GM, will be bringing new swagger wagons to the market to cater to the 67 million-strong demographic now approaching its prime child-rearing years from the 30s to 40s.
By Thomas Geiger, Automobilwoche
Porsche is counting on hybrid drive to help reduce its fleet CO2 emissions.
“In the future, we will have hybrid drive in every model line," development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer said.
Earlier this year, Porsche launched a hybrid version of its Cayenne SUV. A Panamera sedan will go on sale with the Cayenne's hybrid technology in 2011. According to Porsche engine chief, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, the Panamera hybrid will be able to travel about 3 miles under electric power.
Porsche's first electrically powered sports car, the 918 Spyder, will come next, with small production runs planned in three to four years.
Mercedes SL-Class tops the list, study finds -- but it isn’t just about the machine; it’s a sex thing, too.
Why does one car seem to attract more attention from law enforcement officials than others? Could it be unfair profiling? Maybe, but it’s mostly a matter of driver personality and the vehicle they choose.
According to a recent study by Quality Planning, a San Francisco firm that verifies policyholder information for auto insurers, drivers of stylish, more spirited-looking vehicles have a higher likelihood of being ticketed than those who drive more sedate sport-utility vehicles and minivans.
The study looked at the propensity of various vehicle makes to attract tickets, based on the number of moving violations per 100,000 miles driven. Drivers of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadster were 4.04 times more likely to get a ticket than the average for drivers of all vehicles. Drivers of the Toyota Camry with Solara trim level were second, at 3.49 times more likely to be cited, followed by Scion tC drivers, at 3.43 times. Hummers came in fourth at 2.92 times more likely to get a ticket, and the Scion xB was fifth at 2.70 times.
By Dave Guilford, Automotive News
There's a strange disconnect surrounding Better Place, the company best known for its plan to extend the range of electric vehicles by relying on speedy battery swaps.
Automotive executives are nearly unanimous in dismissing the idea. With the conspicuous exception of Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, rarely does an executive express interest.
Yet Better Place is getting increasingly credible support from governments, banks and major corporations. So far this year, it has signed an extensive deal with General Electric and picked up $350 million in financing.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5