2011 Lexus GS 450H Gallery

Styling in the 2011 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid is what we’re up to these days. The Lexus GS 450h is a luxury sedan that has the power of a sports car and fuel efficiency we could only dream about until recently. Hybrid are now finding a place in upscale vehicles and we welcome that with open arms. Enjoy the gallery of this flashy Lexus GS 450h and keep an eye out for our upcoming review on Bullz-Eye!

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Ariel to Start Making Motorcycles

British manufacturer of the banzai, “road legal” Ariel Atom are set to produce a limited run of motorcycles. I use the term road legal in quotes, because the Atom is little more than some scaffolding and a seat with a screaming Honda inline 4 in the back, but is still street legal. You can even have it supercharged if you are the type of person that fights bears for fun. The car has been a sales hit since it is the purest driver’s car on sale today.

This is not the first time Ariel has produced bikes. The first incarnation of Ariel was in 1902 and produced only motorcycles. In 1970 they were purchased by BSA, but operations stopped shortly thereafter. In 1991, current president Simon Saunders bought the rights and began producing cars in 2001, namely the Atom.

The bike is set to be produced in limited number and will not be an all out superbike, but “more fun” in Saunder’s words. Like the Atom, the new motorcycle will also use Honda engines. Since the bike will be produced in small numbers, customers will have the opportunity to modify the bike to their own tastes. These type of bespoke bikes do not come cheap, so expect this new Ariel to be priced around $25-30 thousand dollars. Quite a price to pay for exclusivity.

If Ariel can bring the same type of magic that turned Jeremy Clarkson’s face into pudding to their motorcycles, the result should be a riot.

Source: MCN

Infiniti Takes Luxury to School With QX56-Powered Boat Project

Infiniti has shared an exciting new project with Dashboard News! For the past few months, they’ve taken the 400-HP engine of the QX56 from a towing workhorse to a luxury boat motor with the help of local community college students. They’ve provided a press release with more information, which you can check out below.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (July 27, 2011) – The Infiniti QX56 full-size luxury SUV might be best known for its leather-trimmed, 7-passenger interior and technological advances like the world’s first Around View™ Monitor, but its real claim to fame could be its powerful, 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine and 8,500-pound towing capacity. Offering strong low-end torque, smooth operation throughout the entire RPM range and peak torque of 413 lb-ft, the Infiniti QX certainly has “power to go, power to tow” credentials in spades.

Now, in a unique twist on putting the cart before the horse, Infiniti has embarked on a one-off project to add QX power to what’s being towed – a boat modified around a QX engine and designed with the luxury, performance and craftsmanship of its flagship SUV.

“The genesis for the Infiniti QX-powered luxury boat project came about when a group of us were talking about our full-size SUV’s standing as the perfect luxury tow vehicle – capable of carrying tons of weight, and lots of people and their cargo, in style,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. “So what better object to tow than a boat custom-outfitted to QX-inspired standards, starting with its powerful but fuel-efficient engine and continuing with semi-aniline leather on the seats, XM® satellite radio system with NavWeather™ and Bose® speakers, and signature Infiniti analog clock.”

The first step in the Infiniti luxury boat project is well underway with the extraction and maritime prep of the QX engine. With assistance from Infiniti engineers and training managers, a team of automotive technical training program students from Tennessee Technical Center-Nashville and Nashville State Community College removed the 5.6-liter engine and 7-speed automatic transmission from a 2011 Infiniti QX. Infiniti donated the rest of the vehicle to Tennessee Tech for continued use in their automotive curriculum.

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What’s the Best Chevy of All Time? Cast your Vote.

Chevy has built some incredible cars over the years and now want you to select your favorite Chevy of all time! With the 100 year Celebration of Chevrolet upon us it’s only natural that there’s plenty of debate over which is the most splendid machinery that rolled off one of their assembly lines. Cast your vote at Chevrolet.com see how your favorite Chevy stacks up!

Top Gear USA Season Premier

The show Top Gear is highly revered in car enthusiast circles. Combining stunning visuals, wit, and humor, the British show has been the only one to successfully communicate the joys of being a gear head to non-gearheads. As such, it has grown quite popular aboard, and therefore must be copied and changed for U.S. consumption. The result is Top Gear USA with three hosts: Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood, and Adam Ferrara. Moderate success in its first season has led to a renewal for a second season. The first season was plagued by poor host chemistry, lame jokes, and mediocre car segments. However, many of those negatives started to be chipped away as the show gelled. I was hoping that this season’s debut on Sunday would continue the momentum that the first season had gained.

The opening was quite jarring. Usually, there is a segment inside the studio outlining the show and some playful banter by the hosts. This time, you the viewer were dropped right in the middle of Texas for the show’s one and only segment: using old cars as pickup replacements for under $2,000. This strategy was quite smart. The average History channel viewer usually does not like cars, so opening immediately into the desert, in Texas, with pickups involved is sure to rope in non-enthusiast viewers. A cheap pickup challenge is wholly appropriate as well for American viewers. So, boring Ferrara voiceover aside, the show showed early promise.

The hosts then presented their car choices for the challenge. Foust bought a 80s BMW 3 series, Wood bought an early 90s Miata, and Ferrara bought a 70s Ford Maverick. It was here that the show began to worry me. A cheap pickup challenge is a great opportunity to involve little loved, but highly funny automotive orphans. Top Gear UK does this regularly. For instance, Top Gear USA could have used old El Caminos, Subaru Brats, and Ford Rancheros. Ferrara actually got closest to this since he bought a Ford Maverick which shared a platform with the Ranchero. Ferrara even cut the back out of the Maverick, effectively creating a Ranchero. Odd car choices aside, the segment did not turn me off just yet.

To go along with the pickup theme, the challenges were mixes of cowboy nostalgia and modern hauling capability. Oh, and turning all the cars into monster trucks for some reason or another. The segments were pretty funny, but you didn’t hear much about the cars at all. Wood, Ferrara, and Tanner would make references to say the BMW being preppy and full of tech, but gave no facts or stories behind such statements. As the show went on, it felt more like a reality show with cars, instead of a show about cars.

Also, there weren’t enough jokes about pickups in general. Top Gear USA could have used this segment as a jumping off point to make fun of suburban cowboys in their always clean pickup trucks. On the other hand, they could have showed the importance pickup trucks still play in the American workforce. That’s the great thing about the original Top Gear; they plug cars into larger societal issues, sometimes serious, sometimes just to make a jab at people. This makes the show more light-hearted and fun. Without this element, the show is too dry and one dimensional, especially for those that aren’t huge car buffs.

I chalk many of these shortcomings up to this episode being the season premier. The History Channel seems to have tried to attract new viewers by dumbing down the automotive aspect of the show as much as possible. In this respect, they were successful since this Top Gear USA debut had more viewers than the first season. Besides, the show is still leagues better than The Car Show, which we also reviewed. My only fear is that History dumbs down the show too much in an attempt to grab viewers, stripping all car content out in the process. TV has enough lowest common denominator content on already, from Toddlers and Tiaras to Jersey Shore. There is no need to have another vapid, boring reality TV show on the air, even if it has cars. If Top Gear USA can add some car content back in, and improve the writing just a touch, the show could be great.

I hope my fears are unfounded when I turn in next week, which looks to be a lot of fun. There will be the Ferrari 458 review, and a review of the hosts’ first cars. This premier might just of had a case of stage fright.

Top Gear USA is on the History Channel at 10/9c. You can visit their website here.

New 911 Uncovered

The new 911 is set to launch next year, and now we have our best look yet on whats to come. Visually, not much will change over the last generation, the 997. The new 911, code-named 991, will feature shorter overhangs, the addition of the ever-trendy LED running lights, redesigned headlights, and overall smoothing of the bodywork.

Not much is known about what will be under the hood, but estimates claim that the motor will be a 3.4 liter boxer 6, with around 340hp. Also, the 911 will have a longer wheelbase and a more Panameresque interior. The wheelbase change is significant since Porsche is trying to make the 911 roomier on the inside, and more stable to drive. Hopefully, these changes will not change the 911′s driving dynamics too much.

The new 911 is set to debut at this year’s Frankfurt Auto show.

Save the Date

November 16-17, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, one of the most anticipated cars of 2012 will debut. The Fiat 500 Abarth. Yes, you read that right. The Abarth is not a V8, RWD sports coupe or a trillion horsepower, billion dollar supercar, but the sporting version of the Fiat 500.

Powered by a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, the Abarth should produce around 180hp, 10 more horsepower than the European version. Also, it only weighs around 2300 pounds, and will probably get close to 40mpg on the highway. This isn’t just eating your cake and having it too, it’s like eating the whole bakery and looking like Brad Pitt.

Not to mention, the Abarth name is steeped in racing history. Founded in the 1950s, Abarth started as an unofficial tuner for Fiats. However, they slowly began to be incorporated into the company to modify cars officially, and organize Fiat’s racing activities, from sports car racing to rallying. For reference, the M badge for BMW has only been around since the 1980s.

After its debut, the Abarth should be on showroom floors the first half of 2012. In these times of austerity, the Fiat 500 Abarth is a battle ax of fun to cleave through the continuing stream of boring cars.

You can view the rest of this story here.

Stay tuned to Dashboard News since this car will be among others in a post outlining the upcoming Italian automotive renaissance in the U.S.

2011 Nissan Cube Gallery

Bullz-Eye went sporty and funky driving the 2011 Nissan Cube 1.8S KROM in Caribbean Blue. We love when auto companies think outside of the box and actually build a vehicle that’s an original in it’s own right. That’s exactly what the folks at Nissan did when they brought us the Cube. Look for our full review in the coming weeks.

Check out the full gallery.

The Five Most Essential Car Maintenance Tips

During tough economic times, we often put off basic maintenance for our cars. Oil changes, tire rotations, filters, and other maintenance items often seem more expensive than they should be. When you are in a financial bind, it makes sense to use what money you have for bills instead of simple maintenance. Unfortunately, by skipping car maintenance items, you are actually setting yourself up for a bigger bill when your car breaks down. 

Below are five common car maintenance items that are often overlooked. If you find yourself in a financial bind, remember the financial tips from plaingreenloans. Failing to maintain your car will cost you more in the long run.

1. Keep Your Windshield in Tip-Top Shape
When you’re driving down the road and your windshield gets a chip, don’t ignore it. Even the smallest of chips can eventually spread to the rest of your windshield. Not only can it be expensive to replace an entire windshield, but you can also get a ticket.

2. Maintain Tire Pressure
Check your tire pressure on a regular basis to ensure that it is properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can fail and cause an accident or simply go flat at an inopportune time. Save yourself money and hassle by checking the pressure and keeping the valve caps on the tires.

3. Regularly Rotate Tires
Tires will wear unevenly unless they are properly rotated. Each car make and model is a bit different, so check your owner’s manual. Failing to rotate your tires may cause them to fail prematurely.

4. Engine Oil Care
You should check your oil every two weeks and change it every three months or 3,000 miles. Following these simple maintenance guidelines will help ensure that your engine is free of metal particles and abrasive dirt that can severely damage it.

5. Clean or Replace Filters
Your car has several different kinds of filters, air, transmission, fuel, and oil. They should be changed on a regular basis. While each make and model differs, as a rule, your oil filter should be changed twice a year. Your air filter, transmission, and fuel filters should be changed as needed.

Remember, financial tips from plaingreenloans: your car maintenance needs to come first. Spending the money now to maintain your car will save you money in the long run. If necessary, consider a small loan to help cover the expenses. Any interest or fees you pay will be worth it.

Porsche 550 Revival

Reports from British car magazine Autocar state that Porsche is inspired by the 550 Spyder for their newest sports car. This will be the new entry level Porsche, and slot in under the Boxster. The 500 Spyder is one of Porsche’s most iconic models, and was incredibly important in putting Porsche on the map with gentleman racers and celebrities, including James Dean, who died in one. Its successor was non other than the 911. It is a strong claim then to affix such a lofty target for the entry level Porsche.

Porsche boss Matthias Mueller goes on further to explain the type of engine we will see when this car debuts:

The Porsche is expected to be based on a new mid-engined aluminium and steel platform being developed by Audi which will also be used for the proposed Audi R4 roadster.

The Porsche will probably from £35,000 slotting in underneath the next-generation Boxster, which will grow notably in size and cost. The car will get a new four-cylinder boxer engine that will also power the Boxster, the Cayman and potentially even the 911. Sources say the flat four motor is sized at 2.5-litres and has been producing around 360bhp in turbocharged form.

Let’s hope this project is a larger sales success than the last Audi engineered Porsche, the 944. However, if they are shooting for the 500 Spyder as a spiritual target, my bets are on Porsche getting this car right, even with a turbo-4.

For the full Autocar article, follow this link.

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