30th September 2009

Infiniti FX50 S Brabus

The Car Research and Development, a subsidiary of the Brabus Group, has unveiled its last work for Japanese luxury automaker. Meet the Infiniti FX50 S Limited Edition dressed up in styling package from CRD.

The Infiniti FX50 S Limited Edition by Brabus gets a set of bespoke 21-inch turbine-design light-alloy wheels in a grey finish, while the front grille, side air inlets in the front fenders and the roof bars are also painted grey.

The Infiniti SUV’s cabin is upholstered in leather with light brown stitching while the carbon-fiber trim in a dark brown finish and the alcantara trim on the headliner and pillars round off the interior upgrades.

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30th September 2009

3.8 Million Toyota, Lexus Recalled Over Floor Mats

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration issued a wide-ranging recall late today for 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The recall stems from faulty floormats that can become stuck under the accelerator pedal causing unexpected acceleration. The defect is suspected to be the cause of one recent fatal accident.

The recall includes the following models:

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30th September 2009

Exclusive: Subaru to axe Impreza WRX

Subaru is to axe its Impreza WRX, Justy city car and its two-wheel-drive technology in a bid to stick to what it believes is its core values.

The Japanese car maker will now run down its stocks of two-wheel-drive cars and its deleted models that are expected to run out in Spring 2010.

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30th September 2009

Triple Eight links to Morris

V8 Supercar championship winners Triple Eight Race Engineering has formed a technical alliance with Paul Morris Racing…

…to produce Holden race cars in time for next year’s season starting in early February. It follows the recent decision by Triple Eight’s TeamVodafone to switch from Ford next season.

Team principal Roland Dane said yesterday’s announcement “formalised informal arrangements” over the past few months in which they had performed chassis work for Paul Morris Racing in return for engine development.

Dane said they would have race cars built in time despite the early start to next season. “We can breathe and chew gum at the same time, you know,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do with the switch (to Holden) but this arrangement will help because it’s a two-way street.”

The announcement coincided with Paul Morris Racing’s lead driver, Russell Ingall, re-signing with the team for two years. “I can start sleeping again now because I thought I would have to get a real job for a while,” the oldest driver in the field said.

The 45-year-old, two-time Bathurst winner and 2005 V8 Supercars champion said he had another Bathurst win and championship in him. “People think as you get older you get slower, but I don’t think I’m getting any dumber and it pays to drive with a bit of sense.” Meanwhile, the Triple Eight team lit the wick yesterday on its campaign for four Bathurst titles in a row with an intense pitstop practice at Queensland Raceway.

Dane said he was happy with the 14-second driver change between current champion and points leader Jamie Whincup and four-time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes. “With these stops, it’s not just about speed, it’s about consistency,” he said. The drivers will race Lowndes’s 888 car and use his race engineer, Jeromy Moore, for the endurance rounds at Phillip Island next week and Bathurst next month.

Moore said yesterday he was happy with yesterday’s testing, although there was little experimentation they could do on car set-up as the Ipswich track was so different from Phillip Island. The team’s 88 car will be driven by two-time British touring car champion James Thompson of the UK and Allan Simonsen of Denmark. Dane said the overseas drivers’ changes needed some work as Thompson had never done them before.

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29th September 2009

Lexus upgrades range

A mid-life tickle has been applied across the Lexus range, from the compact IS through to the hulking LX four-wheel drive.

New noses and tails are obvious on everything at the Lexus stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the Japanese luxury brand works to combat a new-model onslaught from its rivals at Audi, BMW and Benz.

Sadly, the only major mechanical difference is a go-faster differential change to Lexus’ M3 rival, the IS-F. “It’s minor facelifts. Just something to keep the cars fresh in showrooms. It’s mainly grilles and lamps,” admits the boss of Lexus Australia, John Roca. “We have changes to the IS, GS, LS and RX. They will flow progressively through the system. “The first one here is the IS, but we will probably hold the GS, LS and LX over until next year so they become 2010 models.

And Roca says the massive LX gets some visual fine-tuning. “The good news about the LX is we finally get 20-inch wheels,” he says. “And there are some aero changes to the front and rear bars so it looks significantly different.”

The changes to the IS-F are relatively minor, but anyone who drives hard will appreciate the addition of a Torsen limited-slip differential. Lexus says it slashes lap times at its Fuji Speedway course in Japan, where the IS-F is tested, by two seconds thanks to better cornering grip and traction for its V8 engine.

Otherwise, the cabin gets improved satnav and a USB input for the sound system, foldable headrests, a new steering wheel and better switchgear.

In Australia, the arrival of the updated IS-F — less than a year into its local life — also sees Lexus trying to spread the car’s impact with a new ‘Sport’ model. “IS-F has been of critical importance in shifting Lexus’ brand perception,” says Roca.

The result is a tweaked IS250 with an F-Sport package. “The new car replaces the previous sports version of the IS range,” he says. “It’s for the customer that’s looking at the IS-F, but cannot afford to make that sort of commitment. “It gets upgraded seats, a small spoiler, and tweaked sports suspension. It will become more of a true sports model. “It will sit in between the Prestige and the Sports Luxury, which remains the top of the range.”

 

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29th September 2009

UK Government Fudges Traffic Accident Count To Support Speed Cameras

For the past several years, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has heralded the drop in the number of serious traffic accidents as evidence of the success of its speed camera policies. For the first time, the agency admitted last Thursday that injury numbers have dropped because its statistical method is incomplete. Although DfT reported 230,905 injury accidents took place in 2008, the agency now believes the true number of accidents is actually three times greater. “Our best current estimate, derived from survey data with cross-checking against other data sources, is that the total number of road casualties in Great Britain each year, including those not reported to police, is within the range 680 thousand to 920 thousand with a central estimate of 800 thousand,” Matthew Tranter with DfT’s Road Safety Research and Statistics wrote.

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