BMW 357Ci: E46 Coupe gets Pontiac GTO 5.7-liter LS1 V8

Two observations: one, there’s nothing cooler than a LS1-engined BMW that is externally indistinguishable from its bread-and-butter cousins and two, the Apple iPhone is probably the worst thing for filming a movie ever. A little less of number two and a little more number one, if you please.

This BMW E46 3-Series coupe, or as its UK owner has appropriately named it, the 357Ci, started its life as a 2001 325Ci with an M Sport Package.

In the hands of its current owner, it received the same 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine as the rather forlorn looking Porsche 911 we wrote about last week, making this the second American-powered German automobile we’ve featured in as many days.

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Mugen Attempts to Make the Honda Fit Shuttle Look Cool and Sporty

When the people over at Honda’s tuning partner Mugen aren’t working on more interesting and unique projects like the Civic Type R and even the CR-Z, they are usually kept busy with the brand’s more mundane vehicles such as the newly introduced Fit Shuttle.

The Japan market only Fit Shuttle is a slightly taller, longer and more practical version of the Fit (also marketed as the Jazz in certain countries) which itself is a tall five-door subcompact model.

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Race-Prepped Honda Mugen CR-Z RR Concept Ready for Track Action

The almost production ready Honda Mugen CR-Z Concept wasn’t the only product from the Japanese automaker’s in-house tuning company to debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Along with the street-legal CR-Z Concept Mugen also brought along a competition version bearing the ‘RR’ moniker. The conceptual Mugen CR-Z RR sports a more dynamic aero package comprising of bespoke parts such as the wider front and rear bumpers with air-vents, side skirts, a rear diffuser and larger rear wing.

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Ford Asks: What Should the Focus EV Sound Like?

So the all-electric Ford Focus EV is landing stateside in late 2011 to snub its nose at the likes of the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i MiEV with its utterly conventional name that’s not even an acronym.

Now Ford is asking its most important shareholders (the general public) what the Focus EV should sound like, as there are members of the world community that think silent cars are a danger to the blind and the deaf.

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Audi RS3 Sportback Takes on BMW 1 M Coupe in Quarter Mile Duel

The Audi RS3 Sportback and the BMW 1 M Coupe represent two very different approaches on the compact sport model segment.

Ingolstadt’s proposal is a five-door model that looks more like a hotted-up small station wagon than a hatchback. It features a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five producing 340-horsepower and 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) linked to Audi’s all-wheel drive quattro system and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

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2012 Range Rover Sport Benefits from 8-Speed Auto and More Powerful Diesel

After the introduction of the updated Discovery 4, Land Rover released details on its 2012 Range Rover Sport that features similar mechanical changes and equipment upgrades for the new model year.

As with the Discover 4, the Range Rover Sport’s more powerful 3.0-liter SDV6 diesel engine receives a 10HP boost lifting output from 245-horses to 256HP and is now mated to Land Rover’s new ZF 8HP70, 8-speed automatic gearbox. As a result, CO2 emissions have been reduced from 243g/km to 230g/km while combined fuel economy has improved from 30.7mpg to 32.1mpg UK.

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U.K.’s Auto Industry to Young People: Be an Engineer!

Twenty-three of the U.K.’s car and component factories have opened their doors to teachers and students alike in a renewed bid to entice young people into automotive and manufacturing engineering. At the annual summit of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Tony Walker – Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.K.’s deputy managing director – said:

“The industry today is hi-tech. There are no oily rags. There are no smoke stacks. It is an inspirational and an aspirational place to be.”

In fact, carmakers are eager to point out just how fun and lucrative engineering can be. It’s all part of the U.K. government’s push to shift its focus away from financial services after the deadly Global Financial Crisis of 2007.

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Junk TV: Netherland’s Worst Driver Confirms his Credentials

From the imaginative world of TV reality shows comes our next story. The show in question is “Wie wordt De Allerslechtste Chauffeur Van Nederland?” which is Dutch for “Who is the Worst Driver in The Netherlands?”

However, once you watch the video after the break, you may considering an alternative title in the likes of “Who is the Most Idiotic Reality TV Show Producer in the World” since the enlightened creators of the show came up with the fabulous idea of testing Netherlands' most incompetent drivers on an unsafe course.

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SPIED: 2012 BMW 3-Series Sedan Starts Taking Shape

The new, sixth generation of BMW’s 3-Series sedan, codenamed F30 is almost upon us and as a result, we’re seeing more and more prototype models with less camouflage making their appearance on the road or in this case, testing on the Nürburgring circuit in Germany.

Being that the 3-Series has been the backbone of BMW’s success over the years, it doesn’t come to much of a surprise that the F30 remains close to the current model in terms of design.

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EIB Approves Lease of Saab’s Real Estate

The European Investment Bank has finally approved the lease of 50.1% of Saab Automobile’s property to a Swedish Consortium led by Hemfrosa Fastigheter AB for a period of 15 years. The deal is expected to net Saab Automobile 25 million Euros ($41 million). Read more »

Videos: Ferrari 458 Italia Crashes, Tractor Comes to the Rescue

The bashed up 599 GTO we showed you yesterday wasn’t the only Ferrari to bite the dust at this past weekend's Trofeo Ferrari Club Italia event at the Vallelunga racetrack near Rome.

The same fate awaited this red 458 Italia when its driver apparently lost control of the exotic supercar in a corner sending it straight onto the protective barriers. In a somewhat unfitting end for the Ferrari, a tractor had to be called in to carry away the car. Watch the incident unfold in the video after the jump.

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Nissan Leaf Outsells Chevy Volt in Electric Car Battle During the first half of 2011

The battle for supremacy in the electric car category has begun –even though at present there are only two prime contestants. According to Bloomberg, the Nissan LEAF sold 3,875 cars the first half of the year, compared to 2,745 of GM’s Volt over the same period.

From January through May, the Volt was only 17 cars behind the Leaf, but in the following month, sales of the Volt plunged to just 561 cars, while those of the LEAF took off with a record 1,708 units, giving Nissan’s EV the lead. The LEAF costs $33,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, while the Volt costs $41,000 before government incentives.

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Land Rover Updates Discovery 4 / LR4 for 2012MY, gets New 8-Speed Auto Transmission

The Land Rover Discovery 4, also known as the LR4 in North America, is entering the 2012 model year with some minor refinements, the most important of which is the introduction of a new ZF 8HP70, 8-speed automatic transmission on the 3.0-liter SDV6 diesel engine which also benefits from a power boost.

First fitted to the Range Rover TDV8 for 2011, the 8-speed auto helps improve fuel consumption to 8.8lt/100km (26.7mpg US or 32.1mpg UK) in the combined cycle and bring down CO2 emissions from 244g/km to 230g/km.

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GM Warns Police, but not Civilians, on Defective Impalas, Faces Lawsuit

A class-action suit has been filed against General Motors in Detroit concerning a defect in the suspension rods of more than 400,000 2007-2008MY Chevrolet Impalas that causes premature wear to the rear tires.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman from Pennsylvania named Donna Trusky, who wants GM to replace the defective suspension rods on 423,000 Impalas from the 2007-2008MY the company sold over a two-year period.

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SCOOP: Renault Preparing Low-Cost Dacia 7-Seat Minivan

It turns out that the rumors surrounding Renault’s plans to expand the range of its budget brand Dacia with a 7-seat MPV that we told you about earlier this year were true. Our man with the long lens caught a prototype of the Dacia MPV codenamed J92 in heavy camouflage while on test on European roads.

The compact minivan, which some say may carry the Popster nameplate, is believed to ride on an extended version of the Logan’s platform architecture measuring around 4.5-meters in length with power coming from Dacia’s existing range of Renault-sourced gasoline and turbo diesel engines.

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Only for Europe: New Ford Fiesta Sport Special Edition

Building on the success of the European market Fiesta Sport + (called the 1600S in the UK and Sport S in Germany) that was launched this past February, Ford has unleashed a new Sport Special Edition that includes further enhancements inside and out.

The latest sporty Fiesta is available with two engine options, the most potent of which is the 1.6-liter Duratec Ti-VCT petrol unit delivering 134-horses and 160Nm torque at 4,250rpm.

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Mitsubishi Updates i-MiEV, Slashes Prices and Increases Autonomy

The electric car war rages on and the latest entrant is Mitsubishi’s new model year version of the i-MiEV that was revealed today in Japan. The most important changes that Mitsubishi made to its all-electric city car is the introduction of a new lower-cost base model and improvements to the standard version in order to extend its driving range.

The new budget model is called the ‘M’ and its price comes down to 2.6 million Yen (US$32,070 -€22,170) or 1,880,000 Yen (US$23,190 - €16,040) after Japanese government subsidies. It is powered by an electric motor producing 41-horses and has a reduced driving range of 120 kilometers (75 miles).

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Project Kahn’s New Range Rover Sport Miyagi Edition

The tuners over at Project Kahn have unleashed a new customized version of the Range Rover Sport called the Miyagi edition. According to the design house, the new special edition was created with “a view to aiding the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan”. And by that, Project Kahn means to raise awareness and have customers donate to the people of Japan through the company’s website. Read more »

ABT Kicks Off 2012 VW Beetle Tuning Party with the Speedle

The 2012 VW Beetle tuning wars have began. Leaving aside the Beetle RS project with some very light styling modifications by the enthusiast website VWVortex that we showed you back in June, ABT Sportsline is the first mainstream tuning firm to take on the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, or as the company likes to call it, the Speedle.

The noted VW Group tuner said it is still working on the performance upgrades for the latest Beetle, which won’t arrive in customer hands until September, but it can give us an idea of what to expect based on its current offerings.

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Subaru Signs MoU to Manufacture Compact SUV in Malaysia

Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) today announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Tan Chong Group for the local production of an unnamed compact SUV in Malaysia.

The only compact SUV in Subaru’s current range is the Forester, though the vehicle in question may be the upcoming Impreza-based crossover that was previewed by the XV Concept (pictured above) at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show in China this past April.

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Would You or Wouldn’t You: Fiero-Based Lamborghini Diablo Replica with BMW V12 Power

If a Fiero-based Ferrari replica is a “Fierrari”, then I figure its Lamborghini equivalent must be a “Lambieroghini”. Here’s one such monstrosity for sale on eBay, though on closer inspection there’s a lot to like about it.

For one, though it’s incomplete, much of the grunt work has already been done. The unpainted fibreglass body that replicates the Diablo VT 6.0's styling has been mated to the tubular steel frame and the gas door struts, power window motors and headlights have all been installed.

Also, the brake rotors are from a Corvette and the wheels are genuine 2004 Lamborghini Murciélago 18-inch stock clad in Pirelli P-Zero rubber.

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New MINI Roadster in John Cooper Works Guise Scooped

With the new Coupe out in the open, MINI is now turning its focus on the soft-top roadster version of its two-seater model, which was snagged here by our scoop photographers in John Cooper Works [JCW] guise while testing on the Nurburgring.

Thanks to the prototype’s minimal camouflage, we see that, like the Coupe, the Roadster model remains rather faithful to the original concept that debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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SPIED: New 2013 Porsche Cayman Shows its Face on the ‘Ring

The new 911, code-named 991, isn’t the only new model that Porsche is working on these days. The second generation Cayman is getting ready for its debut.

We’ve ve already seen the first camouflaged prototypes of the 2013 Cayman, but now it seems that Porsche is gearing up its development program and testing the car in Nurburgring in view of the anticipated 2012 launch, which will coincide with that of its open-top sibling, the Boxster.

Even though the shape is familiar and closely follows the lines of the current model, every panel in the bodywork is, in fact, new. The second-gen Cayman will bigger in all dimensions, including the wheelbase, to provide more ample space for the driver and his or her passenger.

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VW’s Force is Strong: German Brand Scoops 34 Awards in Cannes

Volkswagen won an amazing 34 “Lions” in the 58th International Festival of Creativity in Cannes. The German automaker, which came away with more awards than ever before (8 Golden, 14 silver and 11 Bronze), also won a “Titanium Lion” for the “Think Blue” campaign.

However, the star of the show was, of course, “The Force”, Volkswagen’s extremely successful TV ad that features a Lilliputian Darth Vader wannabe and the new Passat. This ad alone, which has been watched by over 40 million viewers on Youtube, won three awards, two Gold and one Bronze.

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Former U.S. Ford Police Interceptors find New Life in Britain as "Rare American Muscle"

You know what they say: “One man’s trash is another man's treasure”. While police forces in the U.S. are rapidly replacing their Ford Crown Victoria Interceptors with the latest batch of patrol vehicles from Detroit’s Big 3 including the Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Caprice and Dodge Charger, the Blue Oval’s geriatric model is finding a new life in the UK as a quirky alternative to those who want to stand out from the crowd.

The perpetrator in this case is a UK-based company named “USA Cop Cars Ltd”, which has recently started bringing fully refurbished 2009 and 2010 Ford P71 Police ‘Interceptor’ law enforcement cars into Britain.

The British firm describes the Crown Victoria as a rare “muscle car with a difference”. If that hasn’t put a smile to your face, maybe this will: the used Ford Police Interceptors carry a price tag between £23,000 and £29,000 or about US$37,000 and US$46,700!

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Caterham Logos to Appear on Team Lotus’ F1 Cars

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes. In 1973, Caterham, which was founded in the 1960s as a Lotus dealer, acquired the rights to build the Seven from Lotus. Now, Team Lotus has purchased Caterham Cars through a holding company, part owned by Malaysian Tony Fernandes. Read more »

Point, Click and Hold: Peugeot’s Novel Ad Campaign Makes Users Concentrate on Their Computer Screens

Ever see one of those stupid competitions where a group of people try and see who can keep their hands on a car or a truck the longest, and the person who does actually wins that car or truck?

If you haven’t, there’s a documentary called Hands on a Hard Body that covers this in detail, but suffice to say it’s like watching American Idol if all the contestants were unemployed hicks and weren’t required to do anything but stand up there on stage.

So French carmaker Peugeot, never being one to shy away from reinventing something old for the internet age, took the concept and turned it into an interactive webpage.

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Video: Witness the Birth of a Lamborghini Aventador

We’ve already shown you our fair share of Aventador videos including films of Lamborghini’s top dog being assembled in a museum, tearing up the Vallelunga race track and even a virtual promo clip. But truth is, we never get tired of checking out Lamborghini’s newest supercar, if not in the flesh, then at least on video. And we imagine neither do you.

The newest film to come out from Sant’ Agata shows the entire process of the Aventador’s conception - from a sketch on paper through CAD models and the stitching of leather by hand, to the assembly of the fabulous V12 and the honing of the carbonfibre parts… But let’s not say anymore – just follow the jump and watch it for yourself.

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Vilner Touches Up the Infiniti EX37 and FX37

Bulgarian design house Vilner has unleashed its new styling proposals for the inner works of the Infiniti EX37 and FX37 crossovers. Instead of going for the usual exterior upgrades and performance mods, Vilner’s team focused on improving the look and feel of the Inifniti models’ interiors. Read more »

SCOOP: Peugeot Trying Out New High-Riding 508 Outdoor

It has only been a few months since Peugeot spun out its newly designed 508 mid-size model in both saloon and Station Wagon formats, but the French acarmaker is already working on a new derivative inspired by its high-riding 207 Outdoor model.

Our spy photographers snagged a prototype version of the 508 Outdoor testing on European roads. Even though Peugeot’s full-body plastic wraps leave much to the imagination, it is obvious that the car rides on a jacked up suspension.

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Police Forces in Georgia and Iowa Sold on GM’s New Chevy Caprice PPV

General Motors has began delivering its first 2011 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) to law enforcement officers across the U.S. Among the first to receive GM’s new patrol car are police departments in Forsyth County, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said that after trying out the Chevy for a month his office decided to replace its current fleet of around 175 other patrol vehicles with Caprice PPVs.

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Video: Rare Ferrari 599 GTO Bites the Dust

While we are happy to see that at least some owners of the rare Ferrari 599 GTO (of which only 599 examples will be built) take their cars out to their natural habitat on the racetrack, it’s always a sad sight when one of those exotics ends up like this.

The Youtube poster of the video says that the driver lost control of the car “at the end of the straight at 250km/h (155mph)”, but given the relatively modest damages to the 599 GTO, we reckon that he either had a lot of space in front of him or the crash occurred at much lower speeds, perhaps even both.

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Land Rover Begins Series Production of Range Rover Evoque

Series production of the long-anticipated Range Rover Evoque began on Monday, July 4, at Land Rover’s Halewood plant. The “baby Range” has already raked in 18,000 advance orders from customers in more than 170 countries worldwide, and is expected to contribute to the UK economy with a £ 2 billion annual export value, along with another £ 2 billion spent on UK suppliers. Read more »

Video: Audi Q3 RS Prototype Fitted with RS3’s 2.5-liter Turbocharged Inline-Five

What more proof that Audi is seriously considering the introduction of a high-performance S or RS version of its newly launched Q3 compact SUV than the creation of a prototype model shown at a media event?

According to the folks over at Sweden’s Sportbilen, the prototype was uncovered during the European press launch of the new Audi Q3 in Zurich, Switzerland. And mind you, this wasn’t a static presentation as the media had the chance to drive the pre-production model on the road.

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Monster Toyota Celica Beats F1 Cars and Everything Else at Goodwood Recording the Fastest Hill Climb Time

Over the past weeks we’ve been bombarding you with news about exotic cars such as the Aston Martin Zagato V12 that would participate at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. The event took place this past weekend and the spectators gathered to marvel at every car enthusiasts dream garage.

But they also came to watch more than 200 production, tuned and racing models including recent Formula 1 cars, race against the clock in the famous 1.6 mile hill-climb. However, much to everybody’s surprise, the winner was not an F1 car but a tuned, 800+ horsepower Toyota Celica that recorded a time of just 48.07 seconds.

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Exagon Furtive e-GT: All-Electric French Coupe Test Driven by Nicolas Prost at Magny-Cours

French racing firm Exagon Motors is continuing the development of its Furtive e-GT, a new all-electric sports coupe that we first laid eyes on at last year’s Paris Motor Show.

The company recently showed off a validation prototype at the Magny Cours racing circuit in France with Nicolas Prost, who is the oldest son of four-time Formula One World Drivers' champion Alain Prost, sitting behind the steering wheel of the 2+2 model.

The Furtive e-GT is scheduled to go on sale in late 2012 with the company planning to build around 100 cars per year. The 2+2 seater coupe will be offered in two flavors, a standard model powered exclusively by two electric motors and a more sophisticated version equipped with an internal combustion engine range extender that works in a similar way to the powertrain system found on GM’s Chevrolet Volt.

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Color Me… Pink: Citroen Celebrates 100,000 DS3 Sales with New Color Options

Citroen’s DS3 sales have surpassed the 100,000 mark, more than 10,000 of which have been sold in Britain alone. The French therefore have decided to celebrate the event in their own, flamboyant way, that is, by launching a new range of colors and roof designs.

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Saab Finalizes Deal with Panga Da and Youngman, Announces New 9-1, 9-6X and 9-7

Saab’s parent company Swedish Automobile NV said on Monday it converted the non-binding memorandum of understanding with Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co into a final agreement. However, the deal is still subject to regulatory approval from Chinese and Swedish authorities as well as the European Investment Bank.

In addition to the above agreement, Saab announced the formation of a Sweden-based joint venture company between itself and Youngman called NPJV, which will focus on the development of three new product models.

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Mark Higgins to Race Subaru Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 Against Supercars at Pageant of Power

Subaru will take on a wide array of supercars including the Ariel Atom V8, Lamborghini LP570-4 Performante, McLaren MP4-12C and Noble M600 at this month’s Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, which is billed as “the UK’s biggest celebration of power and speed”.

The Japanese company will compete in the race with its limited-edition Cosworth Impreza STI CS400, driven by none other than Mark Higgins, the former British Rally Champion who recently set the production road car lap record for the Isle of Man TT circuit in an Impreza WRX STI

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Williams and Renault Reunite in Formula 1

A legendary alliance is reforming in Formula 1: Williams and Renault Sport have decided to cooperate once again for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, when the rules stipulate V8 engines, and an option to continue in 2014 when the new turbocharged V6s are introduced. Read more »