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Mercedes CLK 65

April 17, 2010

Mercedes Benz sl65 AMG

AMG was founded as a racing engine forge in 1967 under the name AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd.), by former Mercedes engineers Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Burgstall an der Murr, near Stuttgart. The letters “AMG” stand for Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach, Aufrecht’s birthplace (but at no time an AMG location). In 1976 most of AMG moved to Affalterbach, with the racing engine development remaining at the old location in Burgstall. At this time Erhard Melcher ceased to be a partner, but continued to be an employee at the Burgstall location.

In 1990, with AMG having become a high-profile purveyor of modified Mercedes cars, Daimler-Benz AG and AMG signed a contract of cooperation, allowing AMG to leverage Daimler-Benz’s extensive dealer network and leading to commonly developed vehicles (the first one being the Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG, in 1993). On 1 January 1999 DaimlerChrysler, as it was called between 1998 and 2007, acquired 51 percent of AMG shares, and AMG was renamed to Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Racing engine development was divested and continues to exist in Burgstall under the name HWA (Aufrecht’s initials). On 1 January 2005 Aufrecht sold his remaining shares to DaimlerChrysler, and since then it has been a wholly-owned subsidiary.

AMG Penta 5 Spoke 16×8 type 1 wheel

AMG started off by designing and testing racing engines. It expanded its business into building custom road cars based upon standard Mercedes cars.

mercedes benz sl65 amg

Hurst Challenger 2009

April 17, 2010

Hurst Challenger 2009

Hurst Performance Vehicles, one of the most recognized and revered names in automobile history, unveiled the first-ever Series 4 Supercharged 2010 Hurst/Hemi Challenger, dressed in the signature silver and black Hurst colors at the “Back to the Bricks” celebration in Flint, Mich.

hurst challenger 2008 001

The Dodge Challenger SRT8 has been a welcome arrival for many muscle-car fans. Willing to overlook its hefty weight for the old-school looks and meaty Hemi power, they’ve already purchased just about every car scheduled to be made for the next year. But Hurst wasn’t content to leave the Challenger alone, and has decided to prep a high-powered version complete with a collection of Hurst accessories available soon through Dodge dealers.

The range kicks off with the Challenger Series 2 R/T, which is listed at $18,350 and pumps the 5.7L HEMI V8 to 352hp (263kW) and 408lb-ft (553Nm) of torque. In addition to the power upgrade, the package also comes with a Hurst ‘Hard-Drive’ shifter, 20in polished and forged wheels, custom graphics and badges, Goodyear Eagle F-1 performance tires, a Magnaflow stainless steel cat-back exhaust system, a K&N air-filter, Eibach coil-over suspension and leather trim.

For owners of the 6.1L Challenger SRT8, Hurst offers a Series 2 package that is listed at $17,450 and boosts output to 437hp (326kW) and 438lb-ft (593Nm) of torque. The rest of the package includes the same items as the Series R/T kit.

2009 Dodge Challenger(Hemi)

April 17, 2010

2009 Hurst Silver and Black Series 4 Dodge Challenger.

What a sweet ride! “500 horsepower grocery getter” or sleeper?


2009DodgeChallengerRTHeadonActionHouse 01small-585

The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic is a real ‘blast from the past’ with vintage flair, modern styling and engineering.  It combines the original Dodge Challenger R/T styling with a new 375hp 5.7 liter HEMI V8 engine, Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, ZF-Sach’s twin disc performance clutch, rack & pinion steering with a performance gear, sport-tuned, fully independent suspension, dual exhaust, while riding on 20X8in. high-performance tires and alloy wheels.  Inside is a modern, comfortable cabin with vintage accents.  Dodge has taken the all-new Challenger to new heights of styling and performance.

“A Blast From The Past”

2009DodgeChallengerRTHeadonActionHouseLowAngle01smallOne look and you’ll recognize the old muscle car styling with the long raised performance hood with dual working scoops topped with the original HEMI badge at each side.  The recessed egg-crate grille sports round dual headlamps, Challenger and R/T badges, a lower air-intake, a wide splitter to help keep the front end solidly planted on the pavement and functional design elements to direct air around the front end to further improve aerodynamics.  From the side a bold A-line or character line runs from stem to stern and jumps over the rear wheels as on the original Challenger giving it an instant recognizable muscle car profile.  Door mounted side mirrors from the original, Challenger fender badges, bold, full-length, double black side R/T graphics, and a cast metal fuel door with ‘Fuel’ is also taken from the original R/T.

2009DodgeChallengerRTRearActionTwo01smallThe rear is also reminiscent of the original with a recessed full-perimeter ‘blacked-out’ brake, backup and tail lamp clusters with a clear Dodge in the center, a full-perimeter spoiler on top of the end of the trunk lid, a straight, flat bumper and rectangular, polished stainless steel dual exhaust tips nicely spread down below.

The look is as original as it can get as some people I spoke to had to make a ‘double-take’ as they thought they were looking at an original Challenger from 1971.

Under the skin of the car is where modern automotive technology takes over and gives the Challenger R/T world-class power and handling capability.  Under the hood lies a reworked 5.7 liter HEMI V8 utilizing Dual Variable Cam Timing, dual spark plugs, a higher compression ratio and performance-tuned dual exhaust system to increase horsepower from last year’s 340 to today’s 376hp at 5,150rpm and a massive 410lb.ft. of torque at 4,300rpm.  The sound of the dual exhaust is thrilling, throaty, and music to the ears of any muscle car enthusiast.

2009DodgeChallengerRTEngineTwo01smallThe high-output HEMI V8 engine is hooked up to a smooth-shifting, modern Tremec TR6060 6-speed manual transmission that utilizes a twin-disc, high-performance clutch from ZF-Sach’s.

A 2.92 rear axle and limited slip differential really puts the power down on the pavement with the giant Goodyear 245/45ZR20in. high-performance tires.  These massive tires are wrapped with ‘mag’ styled 20X8in. polished cast aluminum wheels. A five-speed automatic transmission is optional, but the fun and thrills are with the 6-speed manual as you can really rev the engine close to its 7,000rpm redline and easily smoke the tires.

2009DodgeChallengerRTBeautySideLowAngle01smallCrisp, controlled handling and a smooth ride are assured with a modern, fully-independent suspension that is sport-tuned.  Up front is a SLA (short/long arm) set with high upper ‘A’ arms, coil springs over gas-filled shocks, thick solid stabilizer bar, lateral and diagonal lower links and a recessed, strut-tower brace to tie everything together.  The rear features a 5-link independent setup with coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, gas-charged twin-tube shocks in an isolated suspension cradle to lessen noise, vibration and harshness.  You steer the all-new Challenger R/T where you want to go with quick response to your inputs due to the unique speed-sensitive rack & pinion steering system that features a performance gear and variable displacement power steering pump.  Change of direction is instant like a racecar with a solid feel for the road and great on-center feel.

2009DodgeChallengerRTGrilleBadge01smallLarge, four-wheel, power-assisted brakes bring the all-new Challenger R/T to a quick and controlled stop.  Up front are 13.6in. vented clamped with dual-piston sliding aluminum calipers with performance pads, while the rear are fitted with 12.6in. vented discs clamped with single sliding caliper in an aluminum housing using performance pads.

Standard ABS and brake assist help with your control and braking power while braking on slick road surfaces.  Also helping you remain on your chosen path is all-speed traction control, and electronic stability control.  When the time and place are correct, you can turn the systems off and let the rear end slide out during hard cornering.  Standard Hill Start Assist makes driving up hills with traffic signals and stop signs safer and easier when you have the 6-speed manual transmission.  Powerful and modern, the all-new Challenger R/T can blast out to 60mph from a standstill in under well-under 6sec.

2009DodgeChallengerRTDashboard01smallInside is a mixture of modern technology and vintage accents inspired from the original Challenger R/T.  Just look at the trapezoidal them of the door-panel cove and gauge cluster, dark headliner and slanted shifter console brings back memories of the original Challenger.  Inspiration continues with the ‘four-bomb’ gauge cluster with deep, easy to read 160mpm speedometer and 7,000rpm tachometer with white faces.  The 8-way power-adjustable, leather-trimmed, vintage styled ribbed bucket seats are deeply bolstered and heated then finished with French-seamed stitching.

2009DodgeChallengerRTShifterTopNumbers01smallThe aluminum foot pedals and classic pistol-grip stick shifter are also a throwback to the original Challenger interior.  The center stack and door handles features ‘carbon-fiber’ styled trim for a modern touch, and all dials, buttons and switches are within easy reach.  The leather-trimmed steering wheel feature a tilt/telescoping column for the perfect reach and angle to help control your direction while cornering and at high-speeds on the freeway or back roads.

The center console features dual cup holders, two storage slots, a 12-volt power plug and deep storage bin with padded armrest.  The rear seats feature the highest headroom in its class along with a pull-down armrest with dual cup holders.  The bench seat also features 60/40-split fold down seats along with an easy-sliding seatback to make entry and exit from the rear simple and easy.  The passenger-side grab further handle enhances entry and exit.

Options inside include an advanced U-connect GPS with voice recognition, navigation system with real-time traffic cues and Universal Custom Interface.  My ride featured an AM-FM/Satellite/CD/DVD/MP3 player with a 368-watt amplifier, power sunroof,

2009DodgeChallengerRTInstrumentCluster01small7-Boston Acoustic speaker with a subwoofer mounted in the giant trunk, illuminated interior door handles, push button start/stop, auto-dimming rearview mirror, security alarm, steering wheel mounted audio controls/trip computer, tire pressure monitoring display, iPod interface, universal garage door opener, cruise-control, thick-cut pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, power/heated fold-away side mirrors, dual-lighted vanity mirrors, power remote trunk release, remote keyless entry, power express front windows/door locks, illuminated entry, variable, intermittent wipers/washers, rear window defroster and a powerful air-conditioner/heater.

2009DodgeChallengerRTFrontSeats01smallKeeping you and your passenger safe in the event of a collision include standard front airbags, supplemental side curtain front and rear airbags, 3-point safety belts for all five seating with front pretentioners and load limiters, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

Dodge brings back the memories of the original Challenger R/T with inspired, bold good looks combined with modern automotive technology like no other vehicle from the Big Three American auto makers.  If you are looking to drive a stylish throw-back from the past with modern automotive mechanicals then look to the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Heritage.  Prices start at just $29,320.00 and my nicely loaded model came in at just $37,320.00 including destination charges.  I was impressed with the total package and had a ball during my seven-day test drive turning heads and spinning the wheels.


New Car Guild

April 11, 2010

2011 BMW X6  Turbo N55

BMW is really testing our memory and powertrain-matching skills with its 2011 lineup. One of our favorite current engines is the N54 twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six, which produces 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque in nearly every model in which it’s installed. But, as you probably know, it is being gradually replaced by an evolution of that mill, the N55 single-turbo inline-six, which still displaces 3.0 liters and produces identical horsepower and torque figures. The new engine is showing up first in the 535i Gran Turismo, and also will appear in the 2011 135i, 335i, and 535i. Now there are plans to shuffle it into the 2011 X6 xDrive35i, too.
Two More Speeds and New Tech for the X6

Beyond the new engine for the base model, both the 2011 X6 xDrive35i and xDrive50i models will receive a new, ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, as well as an energy regeneration system that uses a special alternator that charges only when the engine isn’t under load. The changes are being touted as improving efficiency—a hilarious statement given the X6’s inefficient packaging and thirst for fuel. In any event, expect the X6’s engines and transmissions to be available in the refreshed 2011 X5, which begins production in April.I look forward to the May issue and all it’s line-up!

New Car Guild

April 2, 2010

Photos by: Jozeph Veffer

2010 10Best Cars – 10Best Cars

58 contenders. $2.5 million total. 12,000 test miles logged. The ultimate quest to find the year’s greatest cars.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Photos


This year, for the 28th running of our annual 10Best competition, the rules were simple. First, we raised the price cap from $71,000 to $80,000 (roughly three times the average transaction price of a new car) in the belief that 80 grand is the current point of automotive excellence’s diminishing returns. Cars get more expensive than that, but they don’t get much better. More important, raising the cap makes eligible nominees in two other vital categories: luxo-sport GTs and luxury sedans. Never mind that only two new cars qualified (and one was about to be replaced in a few months, so we left it out).

Second rule: As is the norm, we invited back 2009’s 10Best winners and all the new or significantly altered cars for 2010. Every qualifying vehicle must be on sale no later than January 2010, ergo the complete absence of vaporware.

In all, we hosted a total of 58 automobiles at our secret base hidden amid the farm plots of southeast Michigan. We flogged the cars for a week over our long-standing route, which serves up everything from smooth curves to pockmarked apexes to first-gear corners to high-speed straights to elevation changes. Help from managing co-editer:  Jozeph Veffer New Car Guild (NCG)