Things are heating up in the battle for horsepower supremacy and the 2012 Shelby Mustang 1000 seems to be the new champ. The 1000 moniker is there for the obvious reason with a staggering 1000 horses and that’s not a misprint my friends!
For some, the horsepower wars being waged by auto manufacturers over the past few years are getting a bit out of hand. A 550-hp factory Camaro? A 650-hp factory Mustang? Ridiculous. But if you count massive amounts of gas-guzzling horsepower and torque a crime (we don't), then the worst of all offenders is perhaps Shelby. Last year at the New York Auto Show, the company unveiled its most powerful creation to date: the 2012 GT500 Super Snake, with up to 800 horsepower. And while 800 hp is just bonkers, Shelby's next trick is even more insane.
Lotus has not had the smoothest of attempts to become a first class supercar producer. For example, they hired Swiss Beatz as a "brand ambassador." So far, every move they make continue to drive home the point that they don't want to make cars at all, just apparel with obnoxious branding on it.
Now, Lotus is taking another ill-aimed marketing swing with Mansory, producers of garish, ghastly aftermarket equipment. You may not know the name, but their products can be seen on an terribly modified Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes, etc.
Lotus is teaming up with Mansory for "bodywork, trim and special finishes" for their current product portfolio. The full result of this match-up won't be seen until the Paris Auto Show, but I can guarantee that there will be outrage over it. Or, maybe Danny Bahar is just trolling auto enthusiasts and there is not partnership at all. What will actually be debuted in Paris is a proper successor to the Elise. One can only hope.
Just like with smartphones, consumers are always excited about the latest and greatest cars. This year – and looking out into 2013 and 2014 – we’ve got a great lineup of cars at every price point.
2013 Mitsubishi Evo XI
If you’ve been waiting for a sexy sports car that’s also eco-friendly, hold on until February when the 2013 Mitsubishi Evo XI will be released. You’ll have all of the power that the Lancer series is known for, with a gas-and-electric combo motor. Since the Evo XI is going up in size slightly, it may prove to be formidable competition for the likes of players like Audi.
Starting Price: $34,451–$38,490
2012 Hyundai Veloster
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster may be a tiny little 3-door vehicle, but it’s still a car to be reckoned with. This beauty can get up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway with its 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. It’s not a hybrid, but the gas mileage is amazing just the same. This car is worth waiting for if you’re looking for a small, perky car that won’t cost a fortune to fill.
Starting Price: $20,000
2012 Toyota FT-86 / Subaru 0846 Sports
It’s interesting to see a joint collaboration between Toyota and Subaru, and the results are noteworthy. Each brand has its own version of this 4-cylinder sports car. Its rear-drive platform balances with its light weight, making for smooth handling and a zippy feel. Look for it this summer.
Starting Price: mid $20,000s
BMW i3 Electric City Car
BMW is getting in on the electric wave of cars in 2012 with its i3 Electric City Car. Between its rear-mounted electric motor and the floor-mounted batteries, BMW says there’s a 160-mile range. Think it can’t hold much? Think again. You can utilize up to 14.1 cubic feet of storage space using the front trunk and space under the seats. There are rumors of wireless charging, as BMW is working to develop a magnetic-field charging system where you’d park above a charging station and don’t have to plug in.
Starting Price: $35,000
2012 Audi TT RS
Later this year, we’ll finally see an Audi TT with a top speed of 174 mph and enough power to get from 0-60 in 4.1 seconds. The TT RS Coupe will offer a turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine, with 360 hp. With speeds like that, you may need to check your auto insurance information and make sure your covered. The convertible version may not be available in the U.S., unfortunately. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, Audi will include a Fiberglas finish on the side mirrors and power folding for those busy city streets.
Starting price: $60,000
The best part about an old 3/4 helmet is the look, but the safety aspect leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, the best part about a full face helmet is the safety, but they often look our of place on a vintage bike. Do you see the opportunity here? Well so does Icon. Teaming up with Silodrome.com, Icon Motorsports will be creating a full face helmet that has the vintage look you want with the safety your face needs.
Bullz-Eye has a variety of Icon products, including an Alliance helmet, that we will be reviewing in the next week. So stay tuned for both that article, and this new Icon project at Silodrome.com.
With riding season just around the corner, Icon is making sure you can ride in style while making sure you are fully protected.
Shopping online is a monster that is best tackled by a paranoid shopper. Though even if you aren’t, there are a few precautions you must take. Whether your shopping for an insurance quote or dog food you have to do your research. The popular site Craigslist is a great place for legitimate sellers looking for buyers and vice versa, but from time to time you have to be careful to avoid the lurkers. Scam artists plague the car market, and Craigslist is no exception. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take a few precautions to protect yourself when shopping around.
Reports from Hartford Courant count at least 15,000 car buyers that have been scammed out of nearly $45 million, though that number changes every day. No matter what you’re buying, be wary. For one, if you can’t contact the seller, don’t bother continuing your inquiry into the vehicle. Even if you do get in touch with them, be wary of emails sent using free services, and don’t trust phone numbers since they can be routed through various programs.
This means that even if you did report the crime, they will be practically untraceable.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be so quick to throw money at them if they say they’re on a deadline, protected by eBay or some other program. It’s your money, and a real dealer is interested in making the deal, not forcing your hand. Also, eBay only offers protection to buyers that buy the car through their site, not through PayPal.
See It In Person
Can’t test drive it first? It’s a scam. Be firm with your values, and don’t let someone tell you the vehicle is unavailable to drive and that you have to buy it before you even see the car. Tell them that if you can’t test drive the car you won’t pay. Don’t fall for the emotional stories about dead parents or relatives that drove the vehicle and now they want it off their property. These compelling stories are often scams.
Don’t fall victim to online scams on Craigslist like so many have. Always be cautious and don’t believe what you read even if you think it’s a trusted source. Keep an eye out for trusted email addresses when looking for contacts, and never do business with someone who is forceful with you. Remember, it is your money.
There is a lot going on in the auto industry from a technology standpoint. Below are some of the in-car technology that is on the horizon – currently being worked on in R&D labs across the globe – that will make a huge difference in all of our driving experiences, as drivers and passengers.
Heads up Display (HUD): This next-gen head-up display technology could transform the everyday windshield into a device that can make driving safer and more convenient. This enhanced vision system creates an augmented reality, leveraging night vision, navigation and camera-based sensor technologies to project images produced by ultra violet lasers onto the surface of the windshield.
Driverless “Crash-Proof” Cars: Vehicles like the Chevrolet EN-V are in the works (I’ve attached a picture). These vehicles are designed with safety in mind and have been developed especially for urban crowded areas, but will change the driving scene for everyone when they hit the roads. We are still a few years out, but making huge headway in the technology for autonomous or “crash-proof” vehicles like the EN-V.
Interactive Backseat Windows: A new virtual reality type concept in rear seat entertainment technology that uses the windows themselves. GM’s R&D team has been working on apps for windows that allow you to draw, play games, “peek” into other locations around the globe in real time, share music and other messages with other passengers on the road and much more with the touch of your fingers. Here’s a link to a video demonstrating some of the apps.
The “Connected” Vehicle: Looking at the future of in-car technology, Wi-Fi and smart phone connectivity are going to be standard. Right now the next generation in-car infotainment systems are hitting the industry with features like voice activated systems and screens that are more like tablets. The Cadillac CUE system is a great example of this. In the future, we are going to be more connected than ever, with our vehicles going on the grid, allowing for autonomous vehicles that “talk” to other cars on the road.
When a new Ferrari debuts, it's an event. When a truly breathtaking one debuts, it's world changing. No other car company creates the same response as a new Ferrari, and that continues with the new F12 Berlinetta's launch. First, there are the stunningly gorgeous looks. Even their new grille design that seems so awkward on the FF, blends seamlessly on the new F12. In a world gone retro looking for new design ideas, Ferrari manages to combine the natural beauty of the past, with modern design cues.
And of course, a conversation about Ferrari's always includes how fast it will go. In this case, power will be coming from a 740hp, naturally-aspirated V-12. No Turbos that go whoosh, or superchargers that whine, this power is all natural. In fact, this is the fastest Ferrari around Ferrari's test track. Faster than an Enzo, faster than the new 458, and in a car that is not meant for all out speed but for long distance trips. With both devastating speed and cross country comfort, the new F12 is the automotive equivalent of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.
Knee-weakening looks, and devastating performance nearly wipes memories of the F12's predecessor the 599 nearly off the map. I thought the 599 would be the last time we saw a grand touring Ferrari that was both classically beautiful, traditionally powered Ferrari Grand Tourer. Thankfully, I was very, very wrong. Long live the new F12 Berlinetta.