Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break concept revealed in Beijing.
I think most would agree that pictures of the Shooting Break concept -- with its swooping lines; low, wide, aggressive stance; and clean, logo-forward grille headlining what looks like acres of steel and glass -- are stunning. (Though, this being the Internet, I won't be surprised if I'm shouted down about this.) What's even better, though, is the quick walk-around video posted by MercedesBenzTV on YouTube, where we get up close and personal with the Shooting Break. Seriously, watch the host get into the back seat and try to think of another 4-door wagonlike vehicle in which you'd rather hold up the rear. Though not a perfect analogy, the Porsche Panamera comes to mind, but other than that, not much.
Check out said video, after the jump.
The German badge outpaces all others in the luxury segment when it comes to 2010 sales.
Except that Audi buyers seem to be asking, "Recession? What recession?"
At least that's how it seems based on a report in the Detroit Free Press saying that, amid the slow recovery from economic turmoil, Audi sales have increased by 35 percent so far this year, outpacing all other luxury brands. Overall, the luxury segment is up, though not by much, seeing only a 4 percent bump.
In-car system will integrate with Twitter, Pandora and Stitcher -- all voice-controlled.
By Greg Migliore
Rhys Millen is attempting to tame two formidable beasts in June at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. He's aiming to beat vaunted Suzuki driver Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima and to smash the 10-minute barrier for the course.
To accomplish this, Rhys Millen Racing is entering a Le Mans-style racer in the unlimited category of the event. As the name implies, this section is pretty wide open in regard to what can be done to the car, and the RMR Hyundai Genesis PM580 pushes the limits in both weight and power. The car was revealed on Monday.
The car will use Hyundai's turbocharged Lambda V6, which was stroked from 3.8 liters to 4.1 liters. Output grows to potentially 750 hp, and its estimated 675 hp is the minimum to have a competitive power-to- weight ratio.
The racer has an active rear wing, Brembo brakes and 17-inch wheels. It also has a chromoly frame and roll cage, a semiautomatic, all-wheel-drive transmission and custom stainless exhaust manifolds.
Largest-ever fine paid by an automaker to the Transportation Department.
Traffic congestion on the rise in major U.S. cities.
As you can see from Martha Kang McGill's chart (at left, also enlarged after the jump), I live in the worst city in the country, trafficwise. (Then again, spend some time -- which will be significant -- on Interstate 5 at 4:00 p.m. on a weekday and you wouldn't need a chart to tell you this.) The chart shows how much time the average commuter in 14 cities wastes, per year, stuck in traffic. Not only that: Things aren't getting better when it comes to congestion -- they're getting worse.
Well, not everywhere. As you can see from the "red needle" indicator, which shows congestion levels in 1997, one major city has actually improved: The average Seattle citizen's yearly commute time dropped almost 10 hours, from more than 50 to closer to 40.
Or so must it feel for the embattled automaker as it recalls 600,000 Sienna minivans
Yep, another one.
Only days after Lexus' parent company halted sales of the GX 460 for poor electronic-stability-control response, word comes -- here, from MSNBC -- that Toyota will recall 600,000 Sienna minivans to "address potential rusting spare tire cables that could break and create a road hazard in the latest safety problem to strike the beleaguered automaker."
Add that 600,000 tally to the almost 9 million vehicles that have been recalled, worldwide, since the widespread unintended-acceleration fiasco started gaining attention.
The recall covers 1998 to 2010 model year Siennas -- specifically those with 2-wheel drive that have been sold or registered in 20 cold-climate states, plus the District of Columbia.
The problem, according to Toyota, is that road salt could cause rust on the carrier cable that holds the spare tire; eventually and with enough degradation, the cable could break and dump the spare tire into the road, endangering other drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has thus far received six complaints of spare tires falling off Siennas.
Say what you want about what, exactly, got Toyota into its current situation, but the company has been nothing but fast-twitch response to any recent allegations of safety issues -- almost to the point of knee-jerk reaction. And while that can help toward rebuilding some customer loyalty and image resuscitation, a halt of recalls and safety issues to begin with would be far more effective.
Reservation list opens, with higher priority for interested parties.
Nissan North America is opening up a reservations list for its all-electric vehicle, starting April 20. Of potential reservations, priority will be given to the more than 115,000 who signed up for more information about the Leaf at NissanUSA.com; if you haven't done so but would like to, registering at the above site by the end of day today will put you in the running. The reservation process opens up to the general public on May 15 and is a necessary step toward buying or leasing a Leaf when they roll out to select markets in December.
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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