Audi A7 Releases Ultrabright Blind Spot Alert

Blind-spot warning systems which use cameras or radar sensors to detect other vehicles in a driver’s “no-see-‘em” zone have become on a wider variety of vehicles. But the visual and audible alerts they give off — and that increase a growing cacophony of warning flashing and sounds lights from a proliferation of driver assistance systems — could become all too an easy task to ignore, which has become a symptom in and of itself.

Ignoring the visual alerts from Audi’s Side Assist blind-spot warning system shouldn’t be a problem since it’s bright enough to startle a driver, as I discovered recently while testing a 2014 Audi A7 TDI. In fact, it was actually too bright. Fortunately, the intensity of the warning (a series of yellow LEDs fixed to the side mirror housings) can be adjusted.

Both my partner and I on separate occasions flinched in the flash from the alert. The first time I initially thought that a police cruiser or other emergency vehicle which I hadn’t seen or heard was bearing down on me. So the Side Assist visual alert definitely gets your attention — if you would like it to.

While digging around from the driver assistance section of the A7 TDI’s in-dash, onscreen menu, I observed that the concentration of the Side Assist alert could be adjusted between dark to bright using the MMI rotary controller from the center console. I had it set to bright inside the video below, but this doesn’t carry out the brightness of your alert justice, especially when it’s dark out.

Interestingly, Audi’s Side Assist feature doesn’t also include an audible alert, like some blind-spot warning systems. Maybe that’s since the visual warning is so bright, but apparently Audi doesn’t agree that it is. On its media website, Audi says that “a yellow LED indicator lights up inside the side mirror housing without disturbing the driver, since the driver only sees it while looking directly with the mirror.”


Lexus RX450h And What We Ought To Know

As one of the earliest luxury crossovers (SUV) on the market, the Lexus RX has been particularly successful, especially in the United States, where it has been the best-selling luxury SUV since its introduction!



The 2012 RX is a facelift of the 2009 RX – the third generation RX (codename AL10). This update gives the RX a stronger and more dynamic personality. One of the most visible improvements is the front grill, which now follows the L-Finesse design of Lexus: it is more elaborate and recognizable than its predecessor. In F-Sport version, the RX distinguishes itself with an even more aggressive look. Actually, the RX now looks great from almost any angle, except – in our opinion – from the back, with a peculiar design inherited from the first generation.

Inside, the RX presents the inherent characteristics of a Lexus: quality, silence, refinement and comfort. The seats are comfortable, can be ergonomically adjusted and when equipped with air circulation, like on our test model, you can spend hours in them without showing any sign of fatigue. In the back, the seats can be reclined, extending the experience of a comfortable ride to your passengers. The layout of the commands is well thought of. All knobs and buttons are clearly labeled, logically placed and easily accessible… except for the A/C temperature control buttons, which are just too small and oddly placed.


The RX450h produces a combined 295 horsepower. It is the fastest of the RX series with a -60 time of 7.4 seconds. According to Lexus, its 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine with Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence (ECVT-i) is able to convert more of the energy generated during combustion into mechanical energy than conventional engines. The Exhaust Heat Recovery system captures, reuses and cools exhaust gas to warm up the engine, therefore shortening the time it takes to reach a temperature at which it can function on battery power alone. It also has an Intelligent Shift Control system that can estimate whether you are traveling uphill or automatically and downhill provide the optimal engine response. The RX450h AWD is not a true 4×4 in the sense that only when needed, the rear electric-drive motors are used. Only the non-hybrid versions come equipped with Active Torque Control all-wheel drive (AWD) with variable torque split and manual-locking center differential. Lexus describes this as part-time all-wheel drive. Might limit your off-road ambitions, something most drivers probably will not care at the RX should be able to carry you anywhere where it is legally possible to drive and by any weather, even though great for fuel handling and economy.


At low speed, you can certainly feel the 2,130 kg in the steering and how the car responds. But as soon as your velocity increases, say above 30km/h, the car feels surprisingly light, almost nimble. Thanks to its air suspension, body roll is virtually inexistent and as a result, the Lexus RX provides the driver with a pleasuring experience and frees the passengers from motion sickness, something most SUVs fail at. As a matter of fact, driving the RX450h on mountain roads easily make you forget the weight and size of the car. Same story on the highway where the only reminder that you are driving an SUV is the height of the cars you pass (or that pass you). During the course of a weekend, we took the RX on a 650km ride with 2 passengers and a trunk filled with luggage, mixing city traffic, mountain and highways roads (for about 1/3 each) and averaged 10.5 km/l (9.52 l/100km) ! This is a very good result for an SUV of this size and considering that we drove normally, not trying to save gas. As a driver, one gizmo that we especially liked was the HUD. No need to look down at the dashboard to know where the next left turn is or to check your speed, with an HUD, everything you need is right there in front of you.


if you need a car with enough space to comfortably carry a family of four and all their luggage, on any road, by any weather and without consuming too much gas whilst still providing an interesting driving experience, look no further, the Lexus RX450h is for you.

GM Concepts that Should Have Made It on the Road

General Motors has existed for a long time and, as you would expect, it provides made its fair share of excellent moves and bad moves. The good moves helped the business remain favored by the public for such a long time while the bad moves tarnished its reputation forever. Concurrently, there have been several decisions which, while not bad moves, represent lost opportunities. Never did, even though such is the case with several concept cars unveiled by GM that should go into production.

1. Cadillac Cien

This concept car was showed on the public back 2002. In the past Cadillac failed to exactly use a reputation for making reliable, performance vehicles. That is where the Cien could have are available in. A powerful V12 engine placed in the middle of a sports car with the right looks could have been just what Cadillac needed. The Cien could possibly have accomplished this years ahead of time, even though eventually, this was done with the help of the CTS-V.


2. Cadillac Sixteen

It was pretty clear in the first place that GM did not really intend to actually put this behemoth into production. However, if it did, it could go down because the best car GM available (or a catastrophic failure). The engine would have taken all the glory: a V16, 13.6 liter engine with 1,000 horsepower!


3. Oldsmobile Profile

The name alone was enough to make Oldsmobile an unwanted brand heading to the new millennium but the boring lineup of your company only made matters worse. However, the Profile had that modern design which could have changed this. Unfortunately, it never came to pass.


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2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMax Might Be The Car For You

It’s difficult to overstate what huge plans Toyota had for the its then-new Tundra pickup, circa 2007. The company spent a fortune developing their jumbo-sized 2007 Tundra, speaking to people who used trucks (though every truck manufacturer says they do that), shedding the “good but small” mantra of the first-generation Tundra and going with a truck that went toe-to-toe with the dominant American-brand pickups. Toyota even built an all-new factory for that Tundra in SanTexas and Antonio, in the heart of truck country. Strong initial sales tapered off, and also the Tundra remained an also-ran whileGM and Ford, and Ram sold hundreds of thousands of pickups. Toyota reckons it’s time to fire another salvo in the pickup wars, so we spent every week with the refreshed 2014 Tundra to see how the truck stacks up against some tough competition.

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMaxWith the refreshed (not all-new) Tundra for 2014, Toyota has ditched the doughy, soft curves from the 2007-2013 model and replaced them with a “chiseled” look. The result could well be a more attractive truck (though as they say, design taste is subjective), however it cuts a very similar silhouette compared to the old truck. That’s not a surprise considering the new and old Tundra share their hard points, including cab sheet metal. Aside from adding angles and creases to the truck’s design, Toyota’s California-based design team upped the ante in the Giant Truck Grille Race, holding its own against similarly cartoonish extra large, extra shiny grilles on Ford, Ram, and Chevrolet half ton pickups. With all the Tundra’s grille now nearly overlapping its headlights, it’s clear that eventually pickup designers will run out of front-end real estate (since the Silverado’s designers did) lastly grilles may start to recede as aerodynamics and fuel efficiency boost in importance across the next couple of years.

Oh yes, fuel efficiency. We won’t sugar coat here: the Tundra has terrible fuel economy. I remain shocked that the company that prides itself on its environmental leadership and in the fuel efficiency of its car lineup would struggle to field a full-size truck with competitive fuel consumption. The 5.7 liter V8 is a strong engine that sounds great, where there is much temptation to dip your foot into the fun part of the throttle,. That’s granted, part of the Tundra’s efficiency problem. Helped by burbling dual exhaust (which still exit out the sides of the truck, through chromed TRD-branded tips), you appear to be you’re driving a sports car, if Toyota made big-bore V8 sports cars. (Actually, Toyota did – they were called the Lexus IS-F – and they sounded great). But even on my small absolute best behavior, I couldn’t top 18 MPG in the Tundra for a mostly highway trip.


2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMax

Right after a week and nearly 400 miles using the truck, my average settled on 13.6 MPG. Compared to a 5.3 liter V8-equipped GMC Sierra we drove a couple of weeks ago, the Tundra wasn’t even in the same ballpark since the GMC’s 17.3 MPG average. The EPA rates the Tundra 4×4 5.7 liter at 13 MPG city/17 MPG highway while GM’s 5.3 liter 4×4 is rated at 16/22. When you purchase that over a GMC or Chevrolet, That’s a significant 20 percent better mileage than the Tundra offers, so we’re discussing real money flying out the TRD exhaust pipes in the Tundra. According to the EPA, driving a Tundra will cost you $2,750 more in fuel costs over five years than driving a 5.3 liter Silverado. According to me, I was pretty unhappy that I had to drop $52 worth of regular unleaded in to the Tundra’s gas tank after just 200 miles about the trip odometer.

Part of the Tundra’s fuel economy deficit arises from the fact that its engine is more and larger power than GM’s 5.3 (395 horsepower vs. 355). The 2014 Ram carries a 5.7 liter engine, and with Ram’s new 8-speed automatic, that truck is rated at 15 city/21 highway, easily topping the Tundra. GM’s larger 6.2 liter V8 for sale in higher trim levels beats the Tundra in economy and power, throwing down a 14/20 rating.

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMax

OK, therefore we hate the Tundra’s fuel economy. Though that’s a major one, there’s much more to your truck than how much fossil fuel it burns. Our tester was a CrewMax model, which means it gets the super-sized cab. Toyota also offers a consistent cab along with a Double Cab (the latter being more like a crew cab than a long cab, even with front-hinged doors and a reasonable seat that even taller people can fit into for shorter trips). It’s a cliché, but rear-seat legroom in the CrewMax is limousine-like. When I get the driver’s seat adjusted for my 6’4? 190 pound frame, I can jump to the back seat and cross my legs. Should you don’t need the back seat area for, you know, seating, the rear seat bottom folds up to produce a large, mostly-flat covered storage area.

Toyota has completely revamped the interior within the 2014 Tundra, with improved electronics along with a more squared-off, more symmetrical dashboard design. Only for the reason that truck was so darn wide, the previous Tundra had some interior problems with controls being hard to reach. This one has similar ones, with the radio in particular being high on the dash and fairly far from a lanky driver’s easy reach without leaning forward to get to the tuning knob. Everything appeared to be screwed together well, however, for a $48,000 pickup, I found myself disappointed by the quality of the materials. , and GM all have far better interior materials, with GM specifically having dramatically upped their interior game for 2014.Ford and Ram The Tundra SR5 tester, however, had cloth seats (which did feel durable), but armrest padding was minimal, and the entire dashboard as well as all door panels were hard plastic. The Tundra did, however, have switchgear which was of obvious high quality. Buttons feel solid and well-made and the radio’s volume and tuning knobs in particular are made from metal and then make it obvious that Toyota spent a little extra dough getting those touch points right.

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMaxThe 2014 Tundra gets new in-cabin electronics, including a large full-color TFT display within the gauge cluster between the speedometer and tachometer and a new, larger navigation screen with a new version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. The trip computer, while it looks nice, has only a small fraction of the functionality of the units in Ford and GM. For instance, there’s merely one fuel economy average; Ford and GM both include fuel economy tied to both the trip odometer and a separate measure (for example since last fill, or since last start). Maybe Toyota doesn’t want drivers knowing the not so good news about their truck’s fuel economy.

Toyota’s Entune system is improved in the Tundra, though it’s still not the easiest to work with (that title may well fall to the excellent GM MyLink system given that Ford has saddled the F-Series with MyFord Touch). Pairing my iPhone was easy and the system handled Bluetooth phone calls and music streaming without skipping a beat. I spent a lot of the week paying attention to podcasts using my iPhone’s podcast app and streaming them with the truck’s sound system, which worked very well, despite the fact that there is Pandora integration. The audio system from the SR5 trim level is mediocre; a rather less mediocre JBL system is available in higher trim levels for more money.

On the road, the Tundra has strong acceleration and good braking feel. The steering prevents you against really having any semblance of confidence in the truck’s handling, whatever its capabilities may be. In reading from the 2014 Tundra press kit, Toyota highlights that, “Steering feel and straight-line stability have been enriched due to steering-system-enhancements. These minimize the inputs from road imperfections and variations, causing improved straight line stability and less driver fatigue.”

In the event the truck doesn’t believe you really want to turn when you start swinging the wheel, 2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMaxThis “reduction in inputs” ensures that there is an alarming lack of response when turning the wheel – as. I hate to continue returning to the Sierra, but that truck’s electrical power steering had more weight and road feedback, yet was still an easy task to maneuver at low speeds, such as inside a parking lot. The Tundra isn’t the most convenient vehicle to park, but an industry-exclusive standard backup camera does turn it into a much easier task than it might be. I managed to parallel park it one Saturday morning, inside a city, between two cars, with minimal difficulty (you obviously require a large enough space, though! )

With regards to using the Tundra as a truck, I didn’t really have the opportunity to put its 5.5 foot cargo box to make use of. I did remember that, like the GM trucks, the tailgate was damped therefore it wouldn’t slam down whether it slipped your grasp when opening it. The cargo light does a great job of illuminating at the very least the rear three quarters of your box, and our tester was built with a plastic bedliner. The previously mentioned Sierra possessed a spray-in bedliner that would probably have better long-term durability without harming the truck bed’s actual finish.

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×4 CrewMaxThere are a couple of models inside the 2014 Tundra range, starting with the price-leader SR trim, then SR5 (which our tester represented, and which Toyota expects to comprise nearly all Tundra salesPlatinum, Limited and ) and 1794 Edition. A number of my interior criticisms from the SR5 (hard plastic, etc.) appear to be addressed by the considerably more expensive 1794 Edition, which features a wood steering wheel, leather inserts in the dash and door panels, and a name derived from the date from the founding of your ranch on which the Tundra’s San Antonio, Texas plant was built on top of.

Pricing begins at $26,915 for the Tundra SR regular cab (SR is additionally available being a Double Cab; no other Tundra models can be purchased with a regular cab). The SR5 ($30.890), Limited ($41,580), Platinum ($48,315), and 1794 Edition (also $48,315) can be purchased in CrewMax, or, in the case of the SR5, like a Double Cab as well. Step up to a CrewMax SR5 as well as the price leaps to $36,375 and the 5.7 liter V8 and four wheel drive comes along for your ride. Tack on Entune Premium Audio with Navigation (a reasonable $585), Deck rail system in the bed ($125), TRD Off Road Package ($2,030; includes special TRD wheels, Bilstein shocks, rear side privacy glass, engine and fuel tank skid plates, and a decal), SR5 Upgrade Package ($1,015; replaces front bench seat with buckets plus a console-mounted shift lever), Bedliner ($365), Chrome Tube Steps ($534- a must-have), Mini Tie Down w/Hook ($45), Alloy Wheel Locks ($81), Dual Exhaust ($1,100), and Carpet Floor Mats ($191). Add Destination ($995) and you get a final MSRP of $43,445.

Unfortunately, our pals at do not have pickup trucks in their pricing tool, so we have to go by feel. I have a tendency to prefer leather seats whatever the vehicle, however the price feels about right for what you’re getting. In accordance with the configurator on, that you can’t get leather in the SR5, so no go there, it appears. Through comparison, the GMC Sierra that I keep talking about had an MSRP of almost exactly $50,000. The GMC had lane departure warning, a heated steering wheel, leather seats, Z71 off-road package, and collision warning/prevention, so it’s hard to compare between the two trucks.

2014_Toyota_Tundra_SR5_001Is the Tundra a good truck? Definitely. Is it the best truck available? I don’t think it’s actually the best at anything that it will, at least from my perspective. It’s not the fastest, not the most efficient, not the best interior, not the best looking, not the least expensive. It’s a truck built on a spec sheet – big wheelbase, big width, big engine, big interior, big cargo/towing numbers – nevertheless the sum of the various components just will not equal a the best truck that you can get. Add all that to the fact that domestic brand have far more configurations available – and it’s easy to see why the Tundra has not been the strongest seller in a very competitive segment. If you decide to buy a Tundra, you’re not picking a bad truck. Simply not the best one.

Best Supercars Built by the Brits

Great Britain has made a lot of contributions for the automotive industry, perhaps even over any other country. Those contributions are spread across the board, ranging from luxury sedans for example the Bentley or maybe the Rolls Royce to sleek small cars such as the MINI Cooper. With regards to supercars, that is another area where the UK has earned bragging rights. Here is a quick look at the best supercars to ever emerge from Britain.

1. 2014 McLaren P1

McLaren is, arguably, the most distinguished British automaker when it comes to supercars. The company’s track record is full of notable inclusions and the latest one just might be the best yet. Certainly, in terms of performance, it eclipses all previous efforts which is on par with every other car out on the market today.

DTLA Nissan-2-1

2. Aston Martin One-77

It was obvious that the most famous British automotive brand had to make an appearance about this list. Aston Martin became a household name after the DB5 became the symbol of British excellence and elegance because of Agent 007, James Bond. To this day many consider the DB5 featured within the movie Goldfinger to be the signature Bond car. It will be the remarkable and highly-collectible One-77 which earns the title of best supercar produced by Aston Martin, though afterwards the company saw a resurgence after several decades with the exquisite DB9.

DTLA Nissan-2-2

3. McLaren F1

This is simply the best car in the ‘90s. The greatness from the F1 was much more than pure speed, although if it came out, it absolutely was the fastest production car ever and stayed that way for a long time. It was simply miles prior to its time and yes it was unrivaled by anything on the road.

DTLA Nissan-2-3

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2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS Is To Be Sold For $26,120

Last year Nissan decided to expand the reach and capabilities of their in-house tuning arm Nismo. So along with adding new models to the range, they introduced the brand to new markets. That’s how a car like the Juke Nismo RS ended up in the united states, where it might be yours for $26,120.


Nissan Juke Nismo RS brings with itself a breath of fresh air in the twenty to thirty grand segment, dominated by cars like the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Evo, among others. Not necessarily better, even though it is certainly different than everything else in there.

Sure, the Nismo treatment, consisting of fancy paint job, sport wheels, upgraded mechanicals, and a 215 horsepower engine, definitely makes the Juke far more appealing. There is however no getting away from the reality that the car looks utterly silly.

That’s a shame, because it comes packed filled with awesome features. You get Helical Limited-Slip Differential (manual transmission), genuine Recaro front seats, carbon fiber-look finishers, special red-and-black color theme with Alcantara, leather and suede appointments, along with a four-wheel-drive system. The latter is a $2,000 option, mind you.

There is an all-new Nissan Juke in the works, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show over the next few weeks. Hopefully, that’ll change things for your better.

Inspiring Southern California Adventures

Southern California is the best place in the country. I’m convinced of this, even though much of the rest of the United States thinks I’m bonkers. You know why they disagree? It’s cause they don’t live here. They don’t get to enjoy a 75 degree day in February or go to the beach in March. If they’re lucky they have a few beautiful places within driving distance but we have everything right here in our own backyard. Did you know that California has more diversity in ecosystem than any other part of the country? From towering and precipitous mountains to low, arid deserts, California truly is a land of plenty. It would be sinful to not enjoy it to its fullest! The first thing you need is the right car, and fortunately for you, I have a few perfect suggestions. Depending on your needs you’ll probably only lust after one of them, but if you’re a person with a variety of tastes, I think they’ll all inspire you.

Dodge has a mind-blowing fleet of new, 2014 cars and trucks. The new Dodge Journey is an amazing family SUV that will tickle the adventurous imagination in all you parents out there and fill your kids with excitement and curiosity. You’ll have a half dozen trip ideas fully planned out by the time you start doing the paperwork, but don’t fret, in a new versatile and beautifully engineered Dodge, you’ll be able to go on them all! It won’t be long until you’re planning a half dozen more.

Peek Dodge 2-1

The Dodge Durango offers the ultimate in road tripping accommodation. It is giant and powerful and can hold all the kids and all the toys with room to spare for the dogs. In most SUVs, packing for a family road trip is kind of like playing Tetris on one of the higher level, but in this behemoth Durango, it’s more like putting a few snacks in the fridge. This is the perfect SUV if you’re hauling a boat or a dirt bike. It offers unparalleled comfort and safety and deserves your attention and a test drive. Check out this and the other current Dodge models at Dodge Costa Mesa or and see them all!

Peek Dodge 2-2

Either one of these SUVs can go anywhere, the next thing you need to do is figure out where to go? If you’re traveling with the family, I’d recommend trucking up the winding and bucolic central coastline of California known as Big Sur. I can’t imagine a more beautiful place, and once you are immersed in the drive, you won’t be able to imagine a better or more beautiful place either. With diverse wildlife or elephant seals and far reaching redwood trees, this drive will make your kids go bananas. Don’t get too close to the elephant seals though. While they look lazy and adorable, they can move! Big Sur also features romantic inns and spectacular vista points that will send shivers down your spine and might even inspire a little romance while the kids are playing.

Peek Dodge 2-3

Bentley Officially Releases Bentley Birkin Mulsanne Special Edition

Bentley Engines unveils a new Limited Edition design exclusively for Western customers, the Birkin Mulsanne.

The Exclusive Edition of just 22 autos is available in 3 colour specs: a contemporary and fresh Ghost White, Damson for a far more vibrant contact, and a stylish contrast of Fountain Azure and Dim Sapphire, offering a modern day interpretation of the classic two-tone Bentley paint design.


Bentley Birkin Mulsanne

Taking ideas from Sir Henry ‘Tiger’ Tim Birkin – the legendary Bentley Boy who travelled and raced thoroughly around The european union in the 1930s and 1920s – this new model characteristics numerous special styling details and symbolizes the pinnacle of English luxury motoring in its most discerning develop.

Numbered door sill plaques, a unique 21? wheel design and style inspired by those about the original Mulsanne concept automobile, and a impressive 3D ‘Flying B’ company logo stitched to the vehicle headrests and inlaid into the hardwood of the front side fascia and rear picnic tables, establish the Birkin models. Furthermore, all three features feature a beautiful tailored suitcases set – each one fingers-crafted, individually matched and numbered with the interior of every car.

Bentley Birkin Mulsanne

Items are already selected for the Birkin Limited Edition from the Mulsanne’s extensive alternatives list to the well-travelled connoisseur and the Mulliner Driving Requirements delivers an engaging motoring experience due to a unique ‘Sport’ setting around the Drive Dynamics Control program. An intricate diamond quilting pattern for the seats and door panels, complemented by an indented leather headlining and ‘knurling’ information to the internal metalwork, produce a contemporary and tactile finish to the cabin.

For those venturing in the rear of the Birkin Mulsanne’s roomy cabin, the Entertainment Specification offers a luxurious and comfortable space to work or relax although on the move. Each and every car capabilities exquisitely-packaged dual 8? Digital screens in the rear of the seat headrests, a Digital video disc player, a Wi-Fi hotspot, the Naim for Bentley premium audio system and iPads integrated into the hand-crafted solid wood picnic desks.

A tribute to Tim Birkin

The muse for this Exclusive Edition Mulsanne, Sir Henry Ralph Stanley ‘Tim’ Birkin, was celebrated as both rushing legend and unassuming type icon within his time, epitomising the idea of the British gentleman racer.

The Birkin Mulsanne specifications are born from the idea of how Birkin would commission a Bentley nowadays. With its effortless performance and splendid hand-crafted cabin, the Bentley Mulsanne symbolizes the heart and soul of Birkin’s beliefs as motoring connoisseur. Now, with its unique design details and exquisite specifications, the Exclusive Edition Birkin Mulsanne is an automotive homage to just one of Bentley’s most influential visionaries.

Over time he started to be increasingly included in Bentley’s endeavours on the road and race keep track of, culminating with his key part in the development of the ‘Blower’ Bentley in 1928, though birkin’s initially Bentley was bought merely out of a love of good motoring. Birkin saw that to keep its aggressive racing edge, the company required to increase the strength of the 130 bhp Bentley 4 ½ litre, and so pushed to match the car with a supercharger, which increased power to an impressive 242 bhp.

In order to be eligible for a Le Mans, Birkin persuaded company operator Woolf Barnato and fiscal-backer Dorothy Paget to support a production run of 50 cars. It had been for this car – with his fantastic fearless type of driving it – that Birkin is perhaps best known.

Pre-Purchase: The Things You Need To Know With Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise is a two seat, rear-wheel drive, mid-engined roadster conceived in early 1994 and released in September 1996 by the English manufacturer Lotus Cars. The car has a hand-finished fibreglass body shell atop its bonded extruded aluminium chassis that provides a rigid platform for the suspension, while keeping weight and production costs to a minimum. The roadster is capable of speeds up to 240 km/h (150 mph).The Elise was named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Romano Artioli who was chairman of Lotus and Bugatti at the time of the car’s launch.


111R / Federal Elise

This Series 2 Elise model comes in European 111R version or a version sold in North America, called the Federal Elise. It is powered by the all-aluminium 189 horsepower (141 kW) 1.8L DOHC Toyota ZZ engine with a Yamaha designed twin-cam head offering variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valvetrain, and a 6 speed manual Lotus gearbox. The Series 2 model is acclaimed as the best version of the Elise to date, with tremendous performance numbers. Many tests show 0–60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in approximately 4.9 seconds, or 4.7 seconds with the Sport Package. The engine management computer is a Lotus programmed unit.

The 2005 Lotus Elise was the first to be sold commercially in the United States, in the summer of 2004. Approval for the Elise, however, required intervention by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) who provided a three-year exemption for the car, as it had failed to meet US bumper and headlight regulations. All Lotus Elise cars manufactured after January 1, 2007 include the new headlights and 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) bumpers, although they are hidden in the front.

This model has been followed up by the 2006 Model Year Elise 111R and SportRacer models. Lotus made a limited edition (50 in the US) version of the Lotus Elise as well, called the Lotus Sport Elise.

2006 models also differ from the 2005 models in a few aspects. 2006 models sport LED tail lights, drive by wire (an updated ECU), improved fuel consumption, and more comfortable ProBax seats.

For the 2007 model year Lotus there were several further minor changes made. The LOTUS decals on the rear of the vehicle, which was previously flat stickers, was changed to raised lettering. The headlamp units were sealed. Also, in order to comply with US Federally mandated bumper restrictions, the frontal crash structure was slightly changed and rear bumperettes were added next to the licence plate mount. Approximately 100 2007 model year launch cars were shipped to the US without these bumper changes. Also in 2007, the Elise S was released and the 111R renamed Elise R.

The Elise S is the new base model with a Toyota sourced 1.8 L engine replacing the previous models K series Rover engine. The 2ZZ-GE engine produces 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS) at 6,200 rpm (a considerable increase over the 120 bhp or 89 kW; 122 PS of the Rover engine). The inclusion of airbags, ABS brakes, electric windows, and carpet in addition to the new heavier engine has increased the base weight to 860 kg (1,896 lb) (approximately 85 kg or 187 lb higher than the previous S model).

The Elise’s successor, the third generation of Elise, first appeared at the 2010 Paris Motor Show as the Lotus Elise Concept in the autumn of that year, and is set to be launched within the next couple of years, heavier and with a considerably more powerful 2.0-litre engine.

2008 models

For 2008, there were several additions to the Lotus line-up. There are three versions of the Elise. Lotus continued to provide a naturally aspirated Elise producing 189 hp (141 kW). The second version is the Elise SC sporting a non-intercooled supercharger producing 218 hp (163 kW). 0-60 mph is reduced from 4.9 for the base Elise or 4.7 seconds for the Elise with Sport package to 4.3 seconds for the Elise SC. The NA Elise styling is similar to the prior model years. The Elise SC, however, is distinguishable from the NA version by a rear spoiler identical to the Type 72-D edition spoiler and new wheels. Weight remained a Lotus-claimed 1,987 lb (901 kg); just 3 pounds (1.4 kg) more than the previous year. Prior to the release of the 2008 Elise SC, the limited production California Edition arrived at dealerships. A total of fifty California Edition Elises were produced; 25 in Saffron Yellow and 25 in Ardent Red. The interiors of the Cali’s were produced in a light two-tone leather (Biscuit) and the exterior modifications included a silver front grille (a nod to vintage-Ferrari), body-colored shutter grills on the side inlets and engine cover, enhanced 16-spoke wheels, and a large spoiler that covers the upper-rear deck (72-D style). The Cali’s were intended to appeal to the lifestyle market. In Europe, there are three models available; the Elise S with a 134 bhp (100 kW; 136 PS), 1.8L Toyota 1ZZ-FE engine and 5 speed manual gearbox (0-60 mph in 5.8 s, top speed 127 mph (204 km/h)); the Elise R with a 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS), 1.8 L Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine and 6-speed manual gearbox (0-60 mph in 4.9s, top speed 148 mph (238 km/h)); and the Elise SC with a 218 bhp (163 kW; 221 PS), supercharged, 1.8L Toyota 2ZZ-GE, 6 speed manual gearbox and a spoiler (0-60 mph in 4.3s, top speed 150 mph (240 km/h)).Several new colour options for 2008 were brought to the marketplace. These include new metallic colours (additional $590) Persian Blue and Liquid Blue; new Lifestyle colour (additional $1200) Isotope Green; new Limited Colour Level (additional $3,300) Candy Red, Ice White, and Burnt Orange; and the new Exclusive Colour Level (additional $5,100) Prism Green and Moonstone Silver. The following colours were discontinued for 2008: Nightfall Blue, Aubergine Purple, Magnetic Blue, Polar Blue, Autumn Gold, Chili Red, and Krypton Green.

2011 models

Since April 2010, a facelifted version of the second generation Elise has been available. The new headlights are now single units; triangular in shape they are somewhat larger than the earlier lights. The cheapest version in Europe now has a 1.6 litre engine, with the same power output as the earlier 1.8 (136 PS or 100 kW; 134 hp).

Special editions

Sport 135R

Lotus Sport 111 (Track biased option for Australia, Hong Kong, Japan & Singapore)


The Series 2 Exige, comes with the same high revving Toyota 1.8L engine and six speed gearbox as the Elise 111R, replacing the Rover K-series engine of the previous Exige.

The Series 2 Exige has been followed up by the limited-edition Lotus Sport Exige 240R, incorporating a Lotus-developed supercharger atop the Lotus engine. The US Federalized version with the supercharger fitted is known as the Exige S 240.

Zytek Lotus Elise

The Zytek Lotus Elise is an electric sports car jointly produced by Lotus and Zytek, from 1998 and discontinued in 2003.

Its 70 kilograms (150 lb) extruded aluminium space frame and lightweight composite body shell are factors in its low curb weight of 875 kilograms (1,929 lb). 250 nickel-cadmium batteries provide 300 volts (at full charge) to two Zytek oil-cooled brushless DC motors, which deliver a total power of 150 kW (200 hp) and torque of 100 N·m (74 lb·ft). These motors are each mated to a single-speed, fixed ratio transmission with an aluminium gear. Its acceleration time from 30 to 70 miles per hour (48 to 110 km/h) is 5 seconds, and from 0 to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), 11.2 seconds. The car is governor-limited to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) to conserve charge. The range per charge is typically 100 to 120 miles (160 to 190 km) and the car can be re-charged within an hour.

“Muscle” Cars that Don’t Deserve the Name

The formula for a muscle car needs to be so obvious that nobody would be able to spoil it: require a car, have an aggressive styling and a lot of power underneath the hood to make it cheap. It sounds similar to a simple plan, one that has been proven to work time after time. Regardless of this, many muscle cars failed in a number of of the above departments and are now considered to be muscle cars in name only because they are completely unworthy of that moniker.

1. Ford Mustang King Cobra

Most people would expect only great things from the Mustang, but those in the know will already be familiar with the embarrassment that had been the Ford Mustang II which was severely wimpy in comparison to its predecessor. The Mustang King Cobra was even worse, as that had been not bad enough. Despite obtaining the most aggressive name for an auto ever plus decals to fit, the King Cobra would not be able to intimidate a granny behind its wheel due to its severe absence of power.

1978 Ford Mustang

2. Pontiac Trans Am

This is a car that has been successful despite it and itself has the TV show “Knight Rider” to thank for this because the iconic KITT is actually a Trans Am. It is the only thing that this has choosing it. Other than that, it came standard using a meager four-cylinder engine with the option of a V-8 which wasn’t much better at only 165 hp.


3. Delorean DMC-12

The Delorean was a bad car which became successful because it was prominently featured in the “Back to the Future” franchise, the same as the Trans Am. This made many people overlook the fact that it had a puny 130-hp engine but still cost a fortune for the time.


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