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Daimler, Nissan Talk about Trading Engines and EV Platforms
Mar23

Daimler, Nissan Talk about Trading Engines and EV Platforms

By Brendan Moore

The Nikkei business newspaper of Japan is reporting that Nissan Motor Co. is in discussions with Daimler AG to get large V8 and diesel engines from the German vehicle manufacturer. The quid pro quo in the deal would be electric cars and batteries from Nissan, says the Japanese daily.

Daimler could make good use of the EV technology concerning EV versions of their A-Class cars and the Smart car.

Renault, Nissan’s partner in their automotive alliance, is already engaged in talks with Daimler over an equity exchange, so it appears that those discussions regarding cooperation may become three-way talks now. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is also the CEO of Renault, has commented that he is open to the discussions regarding an equity swap , but has not made any public statements regarding sharing of product.

Ghosn will brief Nissan executives this week on the status of Renault’s comprehensive talks with Daimler, the Nikkei said.

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First Driving Impressions: RS4 Cabriolet
Mar22

First Driving Impressions: RS4 Cabriolet

By James Wong

Despite having only driven the RS4 Cabriolet for a little less than 30 minutes, memories of the exquisite car still linger in my mind – three months later. Although it did not fully satiate my expectations of an RS, it did however excel at what it is made for.

Let’s put the cards on the table first. If you buy a cabriolet, you are making a lifestyle choice. Of the 3 variants of the RS4 available ñ the Sedan, Avant and Cabriolet ñ the Cabriolet is the one you will choose not because it is a fantastic sports car, but because it is the most evocative and stirring Audi open-top around (after the R8 V10 Spyder, at least). It is also arguably the least sporty RS4 you can buy because of its extra weight and compromised chassis rigidity (removing the roof makes the car prone to scuttle shake).

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2010 Volkswagen GTI Review
Mar22

2010 Volkswagen GTI Review

By Kevin Miller

In the autumn of 1982, I fell in love with the Volkswagen GTI. I was at a downtown Seattle Volkswagen dealership where my parents were buying a brand new Vanagon for use as our family hauler. While our folks languished in the F&I office, my brother and I climbed in and out of all the new VWs in the showroom, including the then-exotic-looking GTI. As an impressionable eight-year-old, the black hatch with sporty red accent stripes colorful seats made quite an impression; one that has lasted decades.

In the 28 years since, much has changed. The store where the Vanagon was purchased so long ago is now a Toyota-Scion dealership, where I helped my sister-in-law buy her new xD last year. Just as the Vanagonis long gone from both VW’s lineup and my parents’ driveway, the GTI is now in its 6th generation; but it continues to catch my eye and linger in my mind.

Model Year 2010 marks the first year of sales of the sixth-generation GTI in North America. Although the new model’s styling falls squarely in the “evolutionary” category, designers at Volkswagen have kept visual cues from the first-generation car which keep the GTI true to its roots. The exterior has a distinctly German look, with uncluttered, stylish-yet-simple shapes. The standard 17-inch alloy wheels look a bit small but are quite stylish.

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Notes From A Track Day at Sepang
Mar22

Notes From A Track Day at Sepang

By James Wong

I was looking forward to the day when I could finally bring my car to the track. I eventually did just recently, and the setting could not have been any better – a whole 3 hours on Malaysia’s F1 circuit at Sepang, just me and my car and the scorching tarmac.

I couldn’t have learnt any more about my car anywhere else but on the track. Driving fast on a public road is fine, but to really test the limits of your vehicle, it only makes sense to bring it to a dedicated race circuit. It is just irresponsible to be practising your skills on the road, because there are also people who are using the road purely for commuting, and, of course, you would be endangering their lives if you were driving flat-out. On the track, there are procedures to follow and guidelines to make sure you wouldn’t crash into your fellow track buddies, and best of all there are no speed limits, no police stops or speed guns. Here, it’s all about going as fast as possible on the circuit specially planned to test your skills. Which is just about bliss for any car lover.

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The Realities Of Driving In Singapore
Mar21

The Realities Of Driving In Singapore

By James Wong

Night-time is the only good time to drive.

If you do not live in the city, you might not agree with me or wonder what the fuss is all about.

After all, with beautiful sweeping roads lacing acres after acres of greenery and stooping giant trees, what’s there not to like in a morning drive to get some coffee at the local bakery? Things are not so rosy of course, where I live.

Where I live, there are cars everywhere. Whether it’s 4pm in the heat of the afternoon or 4am at night, there is bound to be a car in any major thoroughfare. That’s okay if there are enough roads to contain them. But on an island like ours, with just 699 square kilometres to play with, that’s going to be a problem. There are 4.99 million people currently residing in Singapore, but even with the prohibitive taxes on cars there are more than half a million cars plying the roads here. That’s a lot of people and a lot of cars squeezed into a small island that is one of the smallest countries in the world.

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China Set to Steer London Taxi’s Future
Mar19

China Set to Steer London Taxi’s Future

By Andy Bannister

In another blow to British national pride, LTI (London Taxis International) is to cease full manufacturing of its much-loved TX4 taxicab in the UK.

The news points to an increasingly rocky road ahead for workers in Coventry, the English city which is home to the iconic London Taxi.

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Third Time Lucky for Audi’s Small Car Ambitions?
Mar18

Third Time Lucky for Audi’s Small Car Ambitions?

By Andy Bannister

Audi A1

Audi has high hopes for its new A1 “supermini” which optimists say could become the best-selling model in the company’s history.

It will take the German prestige brand into a new sector of the market, and is aimed at the jugular of BMW’s ultra-successful Mini, as well as some more recent European competitors including the Alfa Romeo Mito and Citroën’s unusual new DS3.

The Belgian-built vehicle is set to be the most luxurious car in its class, and has been carefully styled to reflect cues from the company’s bigger models. Initially a three-door, it will be followed by a five-door Sportback and a cabriolet, as well as a hot S1 model.

Despite the hype about a bold new beginning, this isn’t the first time Audi has attempted a small car. On both previous occasions the company ended up with egg on its face and beat a retreat, so it must be hoping for third time lucky.

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BMW Plans Front Wheel Drive Car
Mar18

BMW Plans Front Wheel Drive Car

Say it ain’t so!

By Chris Haak

BMW’s Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management at the German automaker, has confirmed that his company will sell front wheel drive BMWs in the smaller size classes in the future. His quote:

[The small car] segment is expected to grow further. And we will take advantage of this opportunity. We are exploring the possibility of developing a joint architecture for the front and four-wheel drive systems of these cars. In other words: There will be front-wheel drive BMWs in the smaller vehicle classes in the future.

Dr. Reithofer also quickly went on to add that “BMW will continue to be a sport-inspired brand. We at the BMW Group continue to deliver maximum performance, tackle new challenges and sharpen our competitive edge.

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