Exhaust Notes

Decision Guide

S60 and V60 to get the full R-Design treatment.

By James Tate Sep 23, 2010 7:42AM
2011 Volvo V60 R-DesignThe Paris Auto Show is right around the corner, and carmakers are in full teaser mode during the lead-up to the main event. While big names such as Lamborghini typically steal the spotlight with a barrage of mysterious detail photos, no one is immune to the temptation to give the public a quick taste of what will be on display in France. Volvo recently let us all in on what it will be bringing to the show, and while we can’t expect to see an all-new model, fans of the brand will be excited to know that both the S60 and the upcoming V60 will get the performance treatment with new R-Design models. 

Consumer Reports from the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit.

By Joshua Condon Sep 22, 2010 2:49PM
As we reported on Monday, yesterday kicked off the second-annual Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C. Consumer Reports is on hand covering the event; one of its dispatches yesterday compiles tips from the the government, auto industry and safety experts on hand -- including representatives from the Consumers Union and the Governors Highway Safety Association -- who are advising drivers on the best ways to avoid in-car distractions. Those tips, many of which involve common sense yet are too rarely followed, include:
  1. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car.
  2. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving or sign up for a service that offers this.
  3. Pull over if you need to make or receive a call.

The 2010 Motorist Choice Awards.

By Joshua Condon Sep 22, 2010 2:05PM
Yesterday marked the fifth annual Motorist Choice awards, based on extensive consumer data compiled by IntelliChoice and AutoPacific.

The awards are picked by active consumers and aim to honor vehicles that serve the real-world wants and needs of drivers. For the first time this year, "awards were broken up into popular lifestyle categories that shoppers easily identify with, rather than the alternatives based on vehicle size, price and other such factors" according to the Motorist Choice press release. The 15 categories are broken up into "popular" and "premium" brands, and include titles such as "country club" -- that is, which automobile would drivers most prefer to be seen in when they arrive at their country club -- "cute" car, "high tech," "performance" and "value hauler," among others.

Two interesting tidbits about this year's awards (you can get the full list after the jump): Toyota, including its luxury Lexus badge, walked away with 10 awards despite its recent safety woes; and the Hyundai Genesis took home the country club award in the "popular" category (the Audi A6 won on the "premium" side) signaling that the Korean automaker may indeed have a viable shot at entering the luxury and near-luxury marketplaces in consumers' consciousness. 

By Mark Rechtin, Automotive News

By AutoWeek Sep 22, 2010 12:46PM

The Estoque is likely to debut in the United States in 2013. (Image courtesy of Lamborghini.)

Has engine performance gone as far as it can?

With horsepower per liter having long since broken the 100-1 mark, Lamborghini seems to think so. So do many European regulators who want to strangle carbon dioxide emissions.

As a result, the Italian supercar maker sees its future dictated not by raw horsepower but by power-to-weight ratio. That means lots of carbon fiber--so much so that Lamborghini has developed a carbon fiber research center.

Already the Gallardo and Murcielago have had midcycle improvements that replaced aluminum and high-strength steel with carbon fiber panels. Expect that to increase as vehicles are redesigned.


Today is world car-free day.

By Joshua Condon Sep 22, 2010 10:58AM
Today, like every Sept. 22, is World Car-Free Day, a global initiative that asks people to stay out of their cars for the day. Surely it's a nice, earth-friendly way to take some emissions pressure off of Mother Earth, if only for 24 hours, right? No! It's far more nefarious than that! According to World Carfree Network, it's a protest day meant to "remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society." And there's more:
"But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to 'normal' life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists and other people who do not drive cars."
"Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like and sound like without cars … 365 days a year."

By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News

By AutoWeek Sep 22, 2010 9:44AM

The redesigned Cayenne went on sale this year. A hybrid comes in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Porsche.)

Now that it's owned by Volkswagen, Porsche reportedly is planning two small vehicles that the German sports car maker's previous management had nixed.

Porsche is expected to increase the size of its Boxster roadster, leaving room at the bottom of the range for a smaller midengine car engineered jointly with Volkswagen. A small SUV also is likely to be added.

Plug-in hybrid versions of the Panamera four-door sedan and Cayenne SUV also are part of a plan to increase Porsche's worldwide sales to 150,000 vehicles in the new few years.


Build great cars; stop obsessing over sales.

By Lawrence Ulrich Sep 22, 2010 7:15AM

The Volkswagen CC sedan. (Photo courtesy of Volkswagen.)C’mon, Volkswagen, drop the charade. You're never going to sell 800,000 cars in America, not by 2018, probably not when our cars drive themselves, "Minority Report"-style. That’s especially true if your plans call for more warmed-over Chrysler minivans, Accord-sized family sedans and Jettas designed to compete with econoboxes from Detroit and Japan.


Volkswagen sold fewer than 220,000 cars here last year. It’s been left in the dust by Hyundai, which sold 435,000 and isn't looking back. And there’s a reason that goes beyond Hyundai’s ability to undercut Volkswagen’s prices: Hyundai understands what Americans want from a Hyundai. And Volkswagen, after all these decades, still doesn’t get what Americans want from a Volkswagen.


Motor Trend puts the 911 Turbo against the ZR1 in a quarter-mile race with suprising results.

By Joshua Condon Sep 21, 2010 2:29PM
On paper, a quarter-mile race between the 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo and the 2011 Corvette ZR1 seems like a foregone conclusion in favor of the American muscle; after all, while the all-wheel-drive Porsche is widely accepted to be superior in the turns, the ZR1 is lighter (at 3,329 pounds versus the Porsche's 3,500 pounds) and boasts superior horsepower and torque numbers (638 horses for the ZR1 versus 500 for the Porsche, with 604 lb-ft of torque against the German's 480 lb-ft) -- meaning it should take the cake in Motor Trend's straight-line drag race.

Not so: The Porsche bests the 'Vette by about three car lengths. The Porsche's traction makes all the difference in the shorter race. Check out the video after the jump. 


  • Cliff Atiyeh

    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

    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

    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

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