30th June 2009

Cars.com Reviews the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata



Do you like fun? Do you enjoy enjoying things? If so, Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder has the car for you. The Mazda MX-5 Miata pretty much gives Wiesenfelder a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and he makes no bones about the fact that it’s one of his favorites. Check out his full review to find out why the Miata puts such a smile on his face.

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30th June 2009

Aston Martin’s mini-car plans are madness

The press release reads like it should have an April 1 dateline.

Aston Martin, one of the world’s most exclusive luxury brands, plans to build a tiny city car based on the underpinnings of the Toyota iQ.

The car, to be badged the Cygnet, will sell for about $40,000, pitting it against the likes of the Mini Cooper S.

After almost a century of building some of the most desirable sports cars on the planet, it seems the British brand is showing signs of senility.

If allowing a three-cylinder Toyota to wear an Aston badge isn’t diluting the brand, then I’m not sure what is. And calling it a Cygnet – a baby Swan – just begs for ugly duckling comparisons.

The car is officially just a concept at this stage but it appears certain to enter production before the end of 2010.

Aston says it is aimed at the one-third of customers who currently turn to other makers – including Benz offshoot Smart and BMW’s Mini – for a city runabout. It will initially be sold to current Aston Martin owners only, but after an introductory period, it will go on sale to the wider public.

The car’s interior will be draped in exclusive cowhide and the exterior will have Aston styling cues, making it the equivalent of a set of matching luggage for the well-heeled DB9 owner. It actually looks pretty good, but the driving experience promises to be as far removed from the Aston tradition as a two-bob watch is from a Rolex.

Aston’s CEO Ulrich Bez is upbeat about the project, saying it will bring Aston design and craftsmanship to a new buyer, offering them a “unique combination of opposites”.

But what will existing Aston owners think about the fact that any Tom, Dick or Harry can get their hands on an Aston for $40,000?

This is without doubt one of the most radical – and risky – strategies adopted by a carmaker in recent memory. Admittedly Porsche does toy cars, Ferrari has made a lawn mower and Lamborghini a tractor, but an Aston Martin shopping trolley just doesn’t seem right

What do you think? Is the Cygnet a lame duck or stroke of marketing genius? Has Aston lost its marbles or boldly reinvented itself? And, most importantly, would you buy a Cygnet?

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30th June 2009

Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 pictures leaked

Pictures of a lightweight two-wheel-drive Lamborghini Gallardo called the LP550-2 have been leaked on the web.

The car has not been officially unveiled yet, but images have already surfaced on netcarshow.com.

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30th June 2009

Aston Martin to rebadge Toyota iQ

We checked the calendar, but it’s not saying April 1.

Reports from Europe suggest Aston Martin will use the Toyota iQ to produce a city car.

Aston Martin has apparently released this photo of an iQ, with the nose restyled to take the signature Aston Martin shark maw.

This is said to be just a concept car. However some reports suggest it could go on sale next year. Some pundits believe it will only be offered to current Aston owners at first, and then to the rest of the public. A lot of whom could be killed in the crush to get an Aston Martin badge in the garage for an estimated 23,000 euro – about $50,000.

The addition of a car like the Cygnet to the famed British range would reduce its overall emissions ratings. And in a world that’s leaning more towards that goal, this story could well be true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30th June 2009

Buff Books Buffeted by Bailout

MediaWeek reports that Detroit’s “troubles” have put the hurt on Car and Driver and Road & Tracks’ ad bucks. “With auto advertising down 47.5 percent in print in Q1, per Publishers Information Bureau, the car books could use help. Through July, Car and Driver’s ad pages fell 20.7 percent to 451, per the Mediaweek Monitor (rival pub Automobile was down 34.1 percent, to 289). ‘Things have been paralyzed a little bit with what’s been going on in Detroit,’ [chief brand officer John] Driscoll said. Understatement much?

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30th June 2009

GMC Sierra Hybrid

Top Speed had the pleasure of trying out a greener option for that other necessary item in any weekend racers garage, a work truck. Sure its nice to have a classic Ferrari or a an all out race car in your garage, but what good are they if you cannot get them to an appropriate environment. That is where our GMC Sierra 2WD Hybrid Crew Cab comes into play, this pick up can haul up to 6,100 pounds of trailer and seat six individuals inside the cab. Aside from the nice touches like the 18 inch chrome rims and larger than life front grill, the Sierra Hybrid has the benefit of being an alternatively fueled vehicle.

The full sized trucks 2-Mode Hybrid/Electric power train is tuned to get as much as 21 MPH when driving around town, impressive for any vehicle that weighs over 5,000 pounds. Don’t let the size discourage you, the Sierra Hybrid is easy to drive and the power adjustable front seat allows the driver to find the perfect vantage point.

The truck uses a combination of an electric module and a 6.0 Liter Chevrolet small block to make 332 HP, but you most likely won’t have to use much of those ponies, we found ourselves driving the Sierra around on electric only power most of the time, negating the need for any of the eight pistons. It was nice to know that they were there when we needed them like when passing on the highway or pulling a heavy load. One thing was for certain, the GMC Sierra Hybrid is working hard to give trucks a good name again.

Continued after the jump.

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