Lexus LF-A

lexus-lf-aCars like this usually stay at the concept stage indefinitely. But the Lexus LF-A ($375,000) will be built in 2010 and can be parked in your garage this time next year. Powered by a lightweight (aluminum alloy, magnesium alloy and titanium alloy) 4.8-liter V10 engine, this rear-drive, two-seat supercar pushes over 550 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 202 mph. Only 500 will be produced worldwide.

Oct 30, 2009

Video Gamers Race for REAL

Gamers could be joining in a real televised sporting event from their homes early in 2010. Real Time Race has been developing a system that places players side-by-side with the drivers in real races.

More here

Oct 24, 2009

335i vs. S4

Given all the praise heaped on the BMW 3 Series over the years, we can’t blame you for thinking there’s more to the story. We’ve heard all the conspiracy theories, most of them involving checks in large denominations from Munich.

This might seem believable to a certain segment of the population, but there’s a far less interesting truth behind all those wins: The BMW was the best car. Sure, certain rivals often upped their game in one area or another, but the 3 Series always put it all together in a way that made it better.

So now the 2010 Audi S4 is here to take another shot. It’s all-new this year and the old V8 is gone. There’s now a supercharged V6 in its place, along with a lower price designed to better align the S4 with the BMW 335i.

The BMW 3 Series received a face-lift of its own last year. It was mostly minor trim changes and the like, but we’re told that iDrive thing was tweaked again, too (oh, lovely).

Sounds like a fair fight, no?

Oct 19, 2009

Affordable Racing

Written by Benjamin Hunting

Not everyone is happy to just use their automobiles to go from point A to point B and then back again. An entire industry has sprung up around servicing those who ask their vehicles to serve as chariots of fun as well as workhorses and daily commuters. Motorsports in general have developed a reputation as being the type of activity that requires a fat wallet in order to participate, and for some forms of racing this is certainly true. However, there are a number of grassroots ways to get involved in competitive and just plain fun automotive activities that won’t drain your savings account or risk putting undue strain on your car.

One of the easiest and inexpensive motorsports to get involved with is autocross. Autocross takes place in large parking lots, local airport runways or old industrial yards across the country – essentially anywhere that offers a large and clear paved space. A track is laid out with pylons, creating a very technical drive that involves slaloms, gates, and other specific types of obstacles and maneuvers. The courses are generally low speed, with most vehicles rarely shifting out of second gear, but they are very challenging to navigate in a clean and quick fashion. In combination with a well-balanced system of vehicle classes, this enables people with completely stock automobiles to compete against those driving other stock cars of similar power and handling characteristics. In addition to having a good time out amongst the pylons, autocross events usually provide all participants with access to instructors who can help them not only improve their driving times but also teach them to be safer and more skilled drivers – skills that transfer out into the real world at the end of the day.

While any car can be fun in autocross, the tight corners and low course speeds tend to favor smaller and lighter cars. Compact cars and roadsters are especially well suited to competing in autocross. One of the most popular autocross vehicles is the Mazda Miata, thanks to its combination of a low curb weight and excellent handling characteristics. Following close behind the Miata are the BMW 3 Series, the Honda Civic, Acura RSX, and the MINI Cooper. Each of these automobiles combines a mixture of sporty driving with excellent road holding and a generally small form factor, making them very tossable out amongst the cones.

For those worried about possibly damaging their car during an autocross event, there isn’t much cause for alarm. All autocross courses are laid out in very open areas so as to minimize or completely eliminate the chances of hitting something accidentally – even in the event of a spin. The low speeds involved in autocross also make it very difficult to tip a vehicle over, no matter whether control is lost when rounding a corner. The only real items on a car that could wear out as a result of constant autocross participation are tires and brake pads, but this is largely a factor of how heavy your car might be.

Autocross remains the least expensive and arguably the most fun way of learning more about your car and your own driving skills in a controlled setting that encourages interaction with both instructors and other like minded drivers.

Jason Calicanis’ Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Roadster is an all-electric sports car produced by the electric car firm Tesla Motors. Tesla has shipped more than 500 Roadsters to customers in the United States and Europe, and Canadian deliveries are expected to begin in late 2009.[2] The Roadster can travel 244 miles (393 km) on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack, and can accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.9 seconds. The Roadster is the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production EV to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge.[3] The vehicle set a new distance record when it completed the 241-mile (388 km) Rallye Monte Carlo d’Energies Alternatives with 36 miles (58 km) left on the charge.[4] The base price is US$109,000.

Tesla began delivering the higher performance Sport version of the Roadster in July 2009. The Roadster Sport has adjustable dampers and a new hand-wound motor, capable of 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds.[5] Scotty Pollacheck, a high-performance driver for Killacycle, drove a 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport at the Wayland Invitational Drag Race in Portland, Ore., in July 2009. He did a quarter-mile (~400 m) in dry conditions in 12.643 seconds, setting a new record in the National Electric Drag Racing Association among the SP/A3 class of vehicles.[6]
The Roadster’s efficiency, as of September 2008, was reported as 120 mpgge (2.0 L/100 km). It uses 135 W·h/km (490 kJ/km or 4.60 mi/kW·h) battery-to-wheel, and has an efficiency of 92% on average.

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