BMW is pitching its orders the European way.
BMW wants you to buy a car the European way: The German automaker, which wants to pass Lexus as the leading luxury brand in the U.S. by 2012, is trying to convince its U.S. customers that they should order their BMWs with exactly the stuff they want on it, not settling for whatever is on the lot.
For example with its new X3, on sale here early next year, BMW wants its U.S. dealers on board to help promote options on built-to-order models.
And you thought 250 mph was fast.
How is this car-related, you ask? We found the awesome video on Jalopnik, which is a car site. And we loved it, because it's really freaking cool. So that's that. (Also, the pilot's code name is "Taco" and we find that funny.)
The shuttle approaches the Earth backwards at Mach 2 to start, then turns nose-down (this happens around the 3:00 minute mark) and glides to a landing. Enjoy, after the jump.
40,000 of various 2010 models to be recalled.
Apparently, those models have been experiencing problems with a defective ignition switch, which releases the key even if the vehicle's transmission isn't in park. Needless to say, this can cause vehicle movement when it certainly isn't desired (i.e., when you're not actually in the car, piloting it).
By Ronan McGrath
Standing on Wiebestrasse in suburban Berlin, you'll see an unassuming warehouse. But inside is a unique complex for owners and buyers of classic cars. Branding itself as a forum for car culture, the Meilenwerk has under one roof private storage facilities, restoration workshops, servicing facilities and dealers.
It is open without charge for visitors daily. There are no ropes or barriers, just a few discreet "Do Not Touch" signs. The number and variety of cars is simply staggering.
Cars are stacked in glass cases or just parked in lines inside the huge building. Upon entering I saw a genuine 427 Cobra parked behind an MGB. A magnificent early 3-liter Bentley was parked in a row that also contained some humble Volkswagens, an ultra rare and gorgeous Graber-bodied Alvis TD 21 and a Checker Aerobus.
But only one gearbox, the D-Drive, can deliver them.
Well, perhaps not all of it -- you'll need some of that knowledge to understand just how revolutionary the new D-Drive transmission could be. The "D" stands for "Durnin," as in Steve Durnin, the Australian plumber and plumbing inspector who, over the course of thousands of hours of tinkering, created a system that Gizmag is calling "ingenious" and, possibly, "the holy grail of gearboxes."
What's so revolutionary about the D-Drive is that it's an infinitely variable transmission -- not continuously variable, but infinitely variable. Thanks to a set of planetary gears and independent rotating shafts, the transmission facilitates an ideal level of mechanical advantage between the motor and its output, from top gear all the way down through neutral and even, amazingly, reverse. Not only that, but it requires no friction tools, such as a clutch or torque converter, which sap efficiency -- especially under heavy torque demands.
Toyota falls; domestics (and, yes, Honda) jump to fill top spots for brand loyalty.
What we do know is that the whole situation most certainly contributed to the world's largest automaker falling off as top brand for customer loyalty. According to Consumer Reports' National Research Center, Toyota has ceded that spot to another Japanese carmaker -- Honda -- and Ford, the sole domestic automaker that chose not to take federal bailout money. (Consumer Reports' research was conducted via 1,074 phone interviews of adults whose household accounted for at least one vehicle; the interviews were conducted among a representative probability sample of households.)
Legacy, Outback models recalled.
By Greg Migliore
Perhaps the most important vehicle to be launched by Chrysler this year, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, will start at a price that's a shade less than $33,000 for a four-wheel-drive model. The base model with two-wheel drive is $30,995.
This Jeep, shown in concept form for more than a year, is critical to refreshing the Detroit automaker's aging lineup and generating some much-needed product mojo.
The Grand Cherokee arrives in June and will be joined by updated versions of the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 later this year. These vehicles, along with the well-received Ram and the soon-to-be-refreshed Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring (or whatever it will be called), will form the basis of Chrysler's revitalization efforts.
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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