Detroit 2008: Chrysler 300C Hollywood limo
click above for more high-res images of the Chrysler 300C Hollywood limo

Despite no longer being owned by Daimler, Chrysler LLC's display area at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is still right across the aisle from its former parent company. That means the Chrysler 300C Hollywood limousine comes face to face with the oddly similar Maybach Landaulet with every revolution of its turnstile. Like the Landaulet, the 300C Hollywood also features a partially exposed cabin, but this time over the front seats rather than the rears. The fully-enclosed rear passenger cabin is accessed by two large suicide doors and features plenty of leg room thanks to its chassis stretch. There's also a repository for three bottles of Cristal (or whatever bottled spirits you prefer to imbibe) and two flutes in between the seats. Meanwhile, the driver is left to convene with Mother Nature and her elements up front where the interior luxe is decidedly lesser.

In fact, the 300C Hollywood limo becomes much more interesting when you look at it through a socio-polical lens. It's clear where the Haves and the Have Nots are supposed to sit, with a nice partition in between them to keep the classes separated. OK, perhaps we should just pop open a bottle of Cristal and stop reading into it too much.

There's no press release from Chrysler for this one, just a gallery of high-res pics below to browse.

Gallery: Chrysler 300C Hollywood limo

(Via Autoblog.)

Detroit 2008: Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTec is only sort of 50-state legal

Back in October, Mercedes-Benz made something of a splash in California when they re-introduced the E320 to the California market. It was the first new diesel available in the state in over two years. However, it now appears that the E320 BlueTec is not actually technically legal in California or four other states that use the same emissions regulations. The current E320 BlueTec is not equipped with the urea injection system meaning it does not meet California regs. Mercedes received a waiver from CARB that would allow them to lease the cars in the state for two years. At the end of the lease, the cars cannot be re-sold in California or the other four states. When the ML, GL and R class BlueTec models go on sale late this year, they will have urea injection and be truly fifty-state legal and can be sold in California. The E-Class won't get urea injection until the next-generation model debuts in the next couple of years.

(Via AutoblogGreen.)

Detroit 2008: Lamborghini bringing personalization with Ad Personam program
Click the image above for more high-res pics of the Lamborghini Ad Personam program.

What's more exclusive than a Lamborghini? A Lambo individualized through the raging bull's Ad Personam program. The concept behind the program, due to be unveiled in Detroit in a few days, is to allow customers to create their own rolling masterpieces through exclusive colors and interior appointments.

The Gallardo Spyder will be available in Marrone Apus and the same matte brown finish originally debuted on the Reventon, which has apparently been requested by several owners. Blu Cepeus will be another hue available on both the Murcielago LP640 coupe and roadster, which also sports the same matte finish. The interior of the Gallardo and Murcie can be fitted with Marrone Gaia, along with a few other equally pompous lofty-titled leathers, plus Alcantara.

If you've got the means, then check Lamborghini's press release after the jump.

Gallery: Lamborghini Personalization

Continue reading Detroit 2008: Lamborghini bringing personalization with Ad Personam program

(Via Autoblog.)

Detroit 2008: Getting intimate with the Glass Roof Mustang
click above for high-res images of the Ford Mustang Glass Top

Probably the last thing the world needs is another Mustang variant, but Ford's got to keep its retro pony mobile relevant. So after offering the coupe, releasing a convertible and then making eleventeen bazillion different versions to suit every conceivable taste, it's fitted the 'Stang with a glass roof that blends the lines of the coupe with a little bit of open air lighting.

Granted, the Glass Roof Mustang is not particularly innovative, but we like the effect both inside and out. There's a clean line of darkness that begins at the top of the windshield and sweeps up and over the roof into the hatch. Inside, it's essentially an over-sized moonroof, but when facing ahead, you can't tell that it terminates right behind your head. If the blaring sun threatens to burn your bald spot, a retractable cloth sunscreen is fitted right over the rear seat passengers that's closed with a quick tug.

Gallery: Detroit 2008: Glass Roof Mustang - Live

Gallery: Ford Mustang Glass Roof

Continue reading Detroit 2008: Getting intimate with the Glass Roof Mustang

(Via Autoblog.)

Detroit 2008: Geely FC makes an argument for Chinese cars
click above to view more images of the Geely FC

Of all the Chinese automakers in attendance this year at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, Geely is the only one with cars we believe could actually be sold in the U.S. We have no idea if its new FC sedan, which debuted in China just five months ago, would pass strict U.S. safety and emissions standards, but its design, features and build quality seemed just up to snuff for an American consumer shopping for an inexpensive four-door sedan.

The FC was developed in-house by Geely and features a 1.8L four-cylinder with variable valve timing producing 137 horsepower and mated to a five-speed manual. A 13-second trip to 62 mph isn't a world record, but it's just enough to keep up with traffic and return good fuel economy at the same time. There's also an available in-dash navigation system, dual airbags, and ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution. The interior, as well, didn't look or feel like it was made from recycled Tonka toys.

Mind you, we're not saying the FC would set the sales charts on fire in the U.S., but it could be competitive with the bottom dwellers in its class. For a Chinese automaker hoping to sell cars in the world's largest market, that's progress.

Gallery: Detroit 2008: Geely FC

(Via Autoblog.)

Detroit Auto Show: Audi R8 V12 TDI unveiled

Audi R8 V12 TDI

As we’ve announced a few days ago (see the post here), Audi unveiled today, at Detroit, the Audi R8 V12 TDI, a diesel powered version of their high performance R8. Though we love it, so far, the car is just a concept and we’re not sure if Audi will decide to roll it into production. Powered by the V12 TDI with a displacement of six liters, which produces 500 hp and 1,000 Nm (737.56 lb-ft) of torque, the R8 V12 TDI sprints from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of over 186 mph (300 km/h). The engine is based on the V12 TDI race engine from the R10 race car, which produces over 650 hp from a displacement of 5.5 liters, giving it the potential for a top speed as high as 330 km/h (205.05 mph) depending on the gear ratios.

The Audi R8 V12 TDI concept with matt ‘Grace Silver’ bodywork looks even wider and more resolute than the core model. It shows its potential through its muscular proportions, accentuated wheel arches and even larger air apertures. The rhombus-pattern cover on the air inlets and outlets is the hallmark of Audi’s sporty top models and a familiar feature of the current RS generation.

Check out more photos and read the huge press release, after the jump.


(Via Auto Unleashed.)

Detroit Auto Show: Amphibious Tang Hua Detroit Fish [Detroit Auto Show]

Tang%20hua%20Detroit%20Fish%201.JPGWe practiced our love with the Tang Hua Book of Songs earlier, and now for the less phallic, more idiosyncratic Tang Hua Detroit Fish. 'Detroit Fish' would be an odd name for a car if it weren't for the fact that this fish can evidently swim. Yes indeed, this is the only amphibious crossover at the Detroit Auto Show. While this might not be the most popular segment at the moment, Tang Hua's marketing team has an ingenious strategy - sell one to President George W. Bush for use on his Texas ranch. Tang Hua wants the renowned environmentalist to help kick start its US product blitz with some top notch product placement.

(Via Jalopnik.)

Detroit Auto Show: 2009 Ford F-150

2009 Ford F-150

Besides the 2009 Dodge Ram, another American ‘giant’ was presented at the Detroit auto show, the 2009 Ford F-150. With over 33 million F Series trucks sold since 1943, the new F-150 was a big challenge for Ford, so more than 1,000 Ford engineers, designers, researchers and others worked together to develop the new 2009 Ford F-150.

‘Before we started working on the new truck, we continued the conversation with people who use these trucks every day for work and play,’ said Matt O’Leary, chief engineer of the 2009 F-150. ‘We went to their ranches, their job sites and their homes, making sure we crafted features that would improve their ownership experiences and, really, their lives’. And it seems they did that, because the new F-150 comes in 35 different configurations and customers will be able to choose from the no-fuss XL workhorse, to the sporty STX and off-road capable FX4, to the mid-range XLT. For those looking for tough luxury, Ford offers the high-end Lariat and King Ranch F-150 models.

Under the hood, the new F-150 will be offered with three V8 engine choices, mated to either a 4-speed or a new fuel-efficient 6-speed automatic transmission. The engines includea 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton V-8, capable of running on E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline), regular unleaded gasoline or any blend in between, a 4.6-liter, 3-valve V8, which is new for F-150 and a 4.6-liter, 2-valve V8. The first two engines will utilize Ford’s open valve injection system.

More photos and the full press release after the jump.


(Via Auto Unleashed.)

Detroit 2008: Velozzi teams up with IDC of South Africa to build hybrid cars

When our own Sebastian Blanco talked to Roberto Jerez last year about the hybrid vehicle Velozzi is developing, he explained that they were focusing on creating new technology. Velozzi was looking for companies to partner with to manufacture vehicles based on the powertrains they were working on. Today they announced a partnership with International Development Corporation of South Africa to build a manufacturing plant in that country. IDC is involved in variety of different businesses and business development in South Africa and the rest of the continent. Velozzi is still pursuing their goal of building a viable 100+mpg, 200mph sports car to win the Automotive X-Prize.

(Via AutoblogGreen.)

Detroit 2008: Saturn Vue Two-Mode, with and without a plug
Click the Plug-in Hybrid Vue for a high-res gallery

Saturn publicly showed two versions of the new Two-Mode hybrid Vue cross-over today using different battery technologies. One is the standard model that will go on sale toward the end of the this year with a nickel metal hydride battery pack. The second uses a lithium ion pack and has the ability to be plugged in for 4-5 hours giving it a ten mile electric range. Let me here correct an error I made in my original post on the regular two-mode Vue. Contrary to what I had heard earlier, the fuel economy improvement is actually 50 percent in combined driving rather in the city cycle. According to GM Powertrain VP Tom Stephens, GM is actually hoping to get even more improvement before production launch later this year. The company also wants to get the PHEV Vue to market by late next year, making it the first commercially available plug-in hybrid.

Gallery: Detroit 2008: Saturn Vue Two-Modes

(Via AutoblogGreen.)

Detroit 2008: Mitsubishi brings the retro to D-town
Click the image above for a gallery of high-res shots.

During Mitsubishi's press conference on Sunday, it paid particular attention to the marque's motorsport heritage with a video montage/quiz game on how Ralliart has fared in the last quarter century of rallying and road racing. That's no surprise, considering the introduction of the Lancer Ralliart, but Mitsu also brought a few of the vehicles that shaped its racing legacy and proudly displayed them on the show floor.

The first vehicle that caught our eye was the Group A Starion Turbo (above) that barely got a wash before being put away wet after its last race in 1988. The Starion racked up over a dozen wins in Japan and throughout the world during its four-year campaign, but beyond its on-track successes, the weights still taped onto the wheels and the rear-mounted radiator had us geeking out between photos.

The 1981 rally-prepped Lancer (2nd generation, above left) was particularly impressive, but the Galant GTO R73-X (above right) was what floored us. This Galant is a one-of-a-kind concept from 1972 that had its stock 1.6-liter inline-four swapped out for Mitsubishi's Formula Two-derived, 200-hp two-liter DOHC four. We've assembled all the cars in a gallery for your viewing enjoyment and Mitsubishi had the foresight to include a number of pics of the R73, which we've put in a separate gallery here.

Gallery: Mitsubishi Ralliart in Detroit

Gallery: Mitsubishi Galant GTO R73-X

(Via Autoblog.)