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!
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.
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.
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!
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.