Top 100: The most desirable cars of all time

Automotive

MINI's new Clubman

August 2, 2007 Mini seems very keen to pack all the technology it can into the newest addition to its range – the Mini Cooper Clubman. Almost but not quite a Mini wagon, the Clubman seats five in relative comfort, with a backwards-opening barn door behind the passenger door opening out to give your friends some sense of dignity as they climb into the back seats. The Clubman also features run-flat tyres, smart regenerative braking and a clever fuel-saving system that automatically stops the engine when you’re sitting at the lights in neutral with the clutch out, firing it back to life in an instant the minute you put the clutch down. Twin rear doors, each with its own windscreen wiper, finally give the Mini a decent carrying capacity, but the extra space doesn’t get in the way of the model’s famous go-kart style handling. Safety-wise, the cabin is packed with airbags from all directions, ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution, Cornering Brake Control, Stability Control and a hill assist system that stops the Clubman from rolling backwards on hill starts. A technophile’s delight, the car even provides a real-time analysis of what gear you should be in for maximum fuel efficiency. Dear Mini designers, it appears you’ve left out the kitchen sink…  Read More

Callaway's C16 open-top Speedster - the next american supercar, putting out over 700 horse...

August 1, 2007 America doesn’t have a strong tradition of ultra-high end supercars. The Vector WX3, Mosler MT900S, Vision K2 and Cunningham V12 were all fine cars but failed to make a splash in the market, much less create the sort of dynasties the European brands have spawned. Renowned Corvette tuners Callaway are lining up a shot at the title with the upcoming unveiling of their Callaway C16 Speedster, which starts with a Corvette C6 base and basically reworks everything for maximum power, speed, slippery aeros and style. The hardtop and convertible C16s, released earlier in the year, were magnificent beasts, but Callaway has left no panel un-tweaked in the design of the big-brother flagship Speedster. Its hand-made supercharged engine grunts out 700-odd horsepower, enough to take it well over 210 mph – and these sorts of speeds will feel even faster thanks to the topless, twin-screen cockpit. Retailing at just over US$300,000 and custom-tailored to every buyer, the Speedster is nearly three times the price of its lower-spec siblings, and it looks absolutely stunning.  Read More

Design drawing of the new Panamera Sports Coupé

August 1, 2007 GoAutonews is reporting that first Porsche four-door sedan, the Panamera, will be produced with a range of engines including a V10 model and a hybrid version using the same drivetrain as the Cayenne hybrid revealed last week, potentially giving it the mantle of the world's fastest hybrid.  Read More

Peugeot's 308 RC Z concept car, set to be unveiled at the upcoming 2007 Frankfurt IAA auto...

July 31, 2007 One of the highlights of the upcoming 2007 Frankfurt IAA motor show in September is sure to be the Peugeot 308 RC Z concept car. The brutish, muscular looks of the 2x2 hatchback coupe are unashamedly reminiscent of the Audi TT, and Peugeot is using the concept to test the waters on a sporty variant of the standard 308. While the company points out that the aim of the RC Z, like any concept, is "to pioneer technical and styling ideas free from the constraints of volume production", the fact that it shares so many components with the existing hatchback hints that the RC Z might be quite close to production-ready. So the response it receives at Frankfurt, the world's largest motor show, could be very telling.  Read More

Toyota's big-selling Prius hybrid - soon to go primarily electric?

July 31, 2007 Toyota’s Prius was pretty much the mass-market pioneer of hybrid cars and its sales success has demonstrated to the company that a significant sector of the community are willing to pay a premium for a car that’s both exceptionally fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. Still, it remains a petrol-based car in its current form, using its electric motor mainly to maintain cruising speed and charging it indirectly through the output of the petrol engine. Toyota’s latest announcement could turn that equation on its head – by incorporating bigger, longer-lasting batteries and enabling plug-in overnight charging, they’re experimenting with making the Prius a primarily electric-powered car that only falls back on petrol when it absolutely has to. The changes could give the Prius massive fuel economy if used for short commutes – between 100 and 500 miles per gallon is possible. Although the company’s sticking with old-school nickel-metal hydride batteries instead of the latest lithium-based units ( and it may well only be doing this in response to some smart aftermarket operators) this could be our first glimpse of a mass-market commercial car that runs primarily on batteries, but has all the comfort of petrol to fall back on.  Read More

MITSUBISHI Concept-cX 'Compact crossover' for Frankfurt debut

July 31, 2007 Mitsubishi will unveil the Concept-cX at the 62nd Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA; commonly known as the Frankfurt Motor Show) in September. The MITSUBISHI Concept-cX represents a new-generation compact SUV, and uses a new high-output, high-efficiency 1.8-liter clean diesel engine, featuring a variable geometry (VG) turbocharger for optimum boost control and a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) with diesel particulate filter (DPF) for compliance with Europe's Euro 5 emission standards. The company's new Twin Clutch SST (Sport Shift Transmission) adds superior power transmission efficiency for a powertrain that delivers nimble performance alongside excellent fuel economy and low emissions. Among the number of new environmental technologies applied in the Concept-cX is the extensive use of interior trim materials made from Mitsubishi's own Green Plastic — made from bamboo and other plant-based resins.  Read More

Sixty Years of the VW Camper

July 30, 2007 It was precisely 60 years ago this week that Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon discovered a vehicle at the Wolfsburg factory, which Volkswagen staff had built for their own use to transport heavy panels around the site. It was this vehicle that provided the catalyst soon afterwards for the first sketch and concept of the "Bulli" (affectionate term for the Volkswagen Camper - the "Kombi" in Australia!), later to become the driving force of the economy, vehicle of choice for the flower power generation, holiday camper and people carrier. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has used the unparalleled history of this vehicle as an opportunity to organise an international VW Camper event from 5th to 7th October at the Exhibition Centre in Hanover.  Read More

Auburn Speedster reborn

July 30, 2007 The Auburn automobile was among the most distinctive and beautiful cars ever built with its showy chrome, long pointed boat tail and exceptionally elegant pontoon fenders. Now Speedster Motorcars has been authorized by the original Auburn Manufacturing Company to produce modern replicas of the Auburn Boattail Speedster.  Read More

Porsche demonstrates Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype

July 27, 2007 Porsche this week demonstrated a Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype, providing a glimpse of what the company will offer to consumers by the end of the decade. The Cayenne Hybrid features a full-hybrid design where the hybrid module (clutch and electric motor) is positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission. The design will improve acceleration and engine flexibility compared to a conventional Cayenne and Porsche is targeting average fuel consumption figures of 9.8 liters/100 kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle and about 24 miles per gallon in the US FTP cycle for the Cayenne Hybrid, and hopes future developments may allow it to push towards a consumption figure of 8.9 liters/kilometer (approximately 26 miles per gallon). Porsche plans to introduce similar hybrid technology in a version of its Panamera four-door Gran Turismo. The Panamera will debut in 2009, with a hybrid to follow.  Read More

Pikes Peak Hill Climb 10 minute barrier narrowly missed by  ‘Monster’ Tajima

July 26, 2007 The 10 minute barrier was almost broken at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the United States on July 21 with Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima breaking the previous record of 10 minutes and 4 seconds which has stood for 12 seasons. We have written before about the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and also written about Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima here. The theme of this years 85th running to the top of Pikes Peak was ‘Beat the Record’ which is exactly what Tajima did with a run of 10:01.04 seconds which eclipsed the previous best time by more than three seconds. Monster’s Suzuki XL7 features a twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 that produces a stunning 750 kW (1007 horsepower) at 8500 rpm and 1000 Nm of torque at 6250 rpm.  Read More

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