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Tesla sues BBC's Top Gear for falsifying scenes during its Roadster review

Tesla is suing BBC’s Top Gear for libel and malicious falsehood. Tesla claims that in December 2008, the show aired a review of the Tesla Roadster and faked a scene where the Roadster was pushed into an airport hangar, making it appear as though its battery had run out of juice. Tesla claims that the Roadster pushed into the hangar was not out of power. According to a transcript of the show also filed, one of the show’s hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, is quoted as saying that “although Tesla says it (the Tesla Roadster) will do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles.” Tesla says those comments grossly misled potential purchasers of the Roadster. BBC says it stands by the program.

The court case reveals a thin line between entertainment and factual accounts. Top Gear (like most television programs) is designed to entertain. Top Gear uses over-the-top examples to provide a better understanding of the nuances it finds in the cars it drives. The Tesla Roadster may have never actually run out of battery power and, while pushing the car, Top Gear could have disclosed that this was just a dramatization. But doing that would not make the show nearly as entertaining.

Top Gear has a U.K. audience of around six million viewers and an international audience of 350 million.

[via Bloomberg]

Top Gear U.K. Hosts

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/31/2011 at 4:28 AM
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Categories: Tesla
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Hot or Not: Official BMW M3 Pickup

BMW M3 Pickup

Resembling the owner-constructed 3-Series pickup, BMW has released official photos of an M3 Pickup concept. The M3 Pickup was recently photographed lapping the Nürburgring, spurring ideas that BMW maybe working on an El Camino-esque 3-Series. BMW insists the car is an after-hours project and there are currently no plans to bring the car to the marketplace.

[via Car]

BMW M3 Pickup

BMW M3 Pickup

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/31/2011 at 3:46 AM
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Categories: BMW
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Ferrari-authorized history book to cost as much as a Ferrari, chance to win a F2005 replica

Official Ferrari Opus Enzo Diamante Edition

A Ferrari-authorized book detailing the automaker’s complete vehicle, race, and driver history will be available in an exclusive Enzo Diamante edition and costing $275,000. The diamond-covered prancing horse on the cover of the Enzo Diamante edition is comprised of 1,500 stones weighing in at 32.3 carats. The diamonds are of the finest quality and clarity and are of the color “F” (rare white). The rest of the book is bound in the finest leather of choice and is packaged in a carbon fiber shell. The book is limited to one unit per country with only 20 units every to see the light of day. The book also contains the signatures of Ferrari drivers, past and present.

Official Ferrari Opus Enzo Diamante Edition

People who purchase the Official Ferrari Opus Enzo Diamante edition will be automatically entered to win one of only five F2005 replica single seaters ever built by Ferrari. Driven by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the F2005 was Ferrari's 51st single seater, specifically designed and built by Scuderia Ferrari for the 2005 race season.

Ferrari hired Opus Media Group and gave its writers access to the company’s archives in order to re-create the car manufacturer’s 80-year history. The Official Ferrari Opus consists of 852 pages, with more than 150,000 words and 2,000 photographs, and weighing 88 pounds, the book offers an in-depth look at the company and race teams behind the Prancing Horse. The book offers in-depth interviews with key personalities, new photo shoots, and rare archive images to bring life to the past, present, and future of Ferrari.

[via Kraken Opus]

Ferrari F2005

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/30/2011 at 6:01 AM
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Categories: Ferrari
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Lamborghini Espada explodes in man's former home, nearly burns down new owner's home

A 1974 Lamborghini Espada “exploded” in a home in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, resulting in a massive fire that engulfed the home’s downstairs garage and first floor living area. The Lamborghini belonged to the former owner, who had recently closed on the home but was still attempting to move out at the time of the explosion. Lesson: never close on a home until the former owner has moved out.

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/28/2011 at 4:44 AM
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Categories: Lamborghini
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Car magazine curbs the Ferrari FF

Car magazine got its hands on the 2011 Ferrari FF like the rest of the motoring public and managed to “curb” the car’s expensive rims (and spout out nearly ten expletives in a short period of time). As explained by the Ferrari FF test driver: “there was no curb to begin with and then one suddenly appeared halfway round this tight corner.”

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/28/2011 at 4:25 AM
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Categories: Ferrari
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Watch this Cayenne's tire explode

Trying to free his Porsche Cayenne from a muddy riverside, this (presumably Russian) owner pushes the Porsche SUV to the limits in a desperate attempt to gain traction (does that ever work?) and free it from the muddy waters. The result is an exploding tire with enough force to mangle the sheetmetal surrounding the tire and to set off the in-cabin airbags.

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/28/2011 at 4:06 AM
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Categories: Porsche
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First drive of the Ferrari FF

Ferrari rounded up the usual suspects for some drive time with the new Ferrari FF in the mountains of Italy. Here are their impressions:

Exterior looks were respected but not loved by most. Automobile said the Ferrari FF “isn't exactly beautiful to our eyes, but it is, however, bad-ass awesome looking” and AutoWeek said the car is “not exactly beautiful, but this Pininfarina-penned coupe is charming.” InsideLine seemed the most impressed with the car’s metal, saying the “two-box GT styling looks fantastic.”

Everyone loved the Enzo-based 6.3-liter 651-hp V-12 engine for its output and exhaust note. All agreed that the FF will easily consume 0–60 mph in Ferrari’s estimated 3.7 seconds. However, Motor Trend was not fond of the FF’s engine noise below the 6,000 rpm threshold, specifically comparing it to a “UPS truck or a Viper.”

Ferrari FF

The Ferrari FF’s power will be routed through two transmissions, one for the rear wheels and one for the front wheels. The front transmission sits ahead of the front-mid engine, connects to the crankshaft through a conical gear, and offers two forward gears and a reverse gear. Power will only be diverted to the front wheels when the car is about to lose traction at the rear wheels. Also, due to the gear ratios of the two forward gears in that front transmission, the four-wheel-drive system does not work above the fourth cog. Motor Trend and Automobile both called “BS” to Ferrari’s claims that the new 4RM system was put in place only for better traction in bad weather. Both believed it was to downplay the adoption of four-wheel drive like its rival Lamborghini has in all its cars. All the magazines said the 4RM system was transparent but added a level of assurance in corners and while accelerating that you cannot find in the other Ferrari cars.

Like its forbearer the 612, the FF’s grip on the road was surprising considering the car’s physical presence. InsideLine said the FF “responds like a much lighter car.” Automobile said the car “flat-out refuses to understeer, clinging to the road at vomit-inducing cornering loads.” Car and Driver said the FF didn’t exhibit the reluctance to hit a corner like the 599 or 612 and its steering was direct though a little numb. Automobile concurred, calling the FF’s steering a “bit overassisted and slightly numb, but perfectly accurate.” Motor Trend was the most disparaging, stating that it was “too light and doesn't communicate half the road-surface detail you get from a 458 or Porsche 911 helm.”

It was unanimous that the Ferrari FF was the most capable cold-weather Ferrari ever. Motor Trend said “the car clawed its way around the intimidatingly icy-bermed course with aplomb,” Car and Driver said “the FF uses its four-wheel-drive to reduce understeer in the snow, but also keep the handling predictable in the dry,” and InsideLine said that in the snow “anyone could drive this.”

Ferrari FF

Inside, both Car and Driver and InsideLine found issue with the car’s Chrysler-based navigation. InsideLine called it the “least impressive aspect of the car” and Car and Driver called it “not only disgracefully downmarket but also not very good.” Another source of disappointment was the car’s automatic mode for the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Automobile said that “the automatic mode is a bit of a misnomer: it's really only semi-automatic, as it won't perform multiple full-throttle downshifts.” Motor Trend noticed the same thing, saying “it resists kicking down from cruising speeds to the gear that will produce max acceleration for passing in automatic mode.” All the magazine agreed that backseats were comfortable for adults. AutoWeek stated specifically that “adults up to nearly six feet tall can fit comfortably in the rear buckets.”

Overall, Motor Trend called the car a disappointment compared to the 458 Italia and was just too “automated and idiot-proofed.” Car and Driver said the FF was worth the year-plus wait but that there was no specific reason for someone to pick up the FF over its rivals, summing it up by saying that the FF is “not…as sporty as the Porsche Panamera…it doesn’t have the all-conquering comfort of cars like the Mercedes-Benz CL-class, and it’s not a wholly emotional car that transcends all subjective measures.” AutoWeek was more fond of the 458 Italia, stating that the 458 is “certainly more nimble and probably more fun from the driver's perspective. The Italia is also about half the price.” InsideLine pointed to why the FF works best: it addresses a major flaw in Ferrari’s other “three-season cars” by providing a Ferrari for “every day, every condition.”

[via Automobile, AutoWeek, Car and Driver, InsideLine, and Motor Trend]

Ferrari FF

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/23/2011 at 3:27 PM
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Categories: Ferrari
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Lamborghini Gallardo Bicolore for sale in our classifieds

It was just two months ago that Lamborghini announced the 2011 Gallardo LP560-4 BiColore for the European and Asian-Pacific markets and the LP550-2 Bicolore for the United States, so you can imagine our surprise to find one hiding in our classified ads.

Offered from Ferrari and Maserati of Washington, the Giallo Midas (yellow), one of five colors offered, Gallardo LP550-2 Bicolore for sale features a black top that stretches from A pillar to the roof, down to the engine hood, and ends at the rear spoiler. The Gallardo Bicolore offers the e-gear transmission, a lifting system for the front axle, and a tempered glass engine hood as standard equipment.

Lamborghini Gallardo Bicolore for Sale

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/23/2011 at 6:40 AM
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Categories: Lamborghini
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Purchase a Ferrari FXX upgraded to Evolution trim for $2,195,000

A 2006 Ferrari FXX upgraded in 2007 to full Evolution trim is up for sale for a cool $2,195,000. One of only 38 FXX cars built, the car is still with the original owner and has been entered into every single Clienti Corsa (a racing division started by Ferrari for Ferrari owners) event to date. Finished in Rosso Scuderia with a black Alcantara interior and white racing stripe, the car has been meticulously serviced.

As the description states:

“With the introduction of the Enzo at the Paris Auto Show in 2002, Ferrari saw the need and market potential for a limited series of Enzo-based race cars which would be track supported by Ferrari’s Clienti Corsa. As an evolution of the Enzo, the FXX shares most major components, but displacement increased from 5,988 cc to 6,262 cc and power jumped from 686 hp to an impressive 789 hp at 8,500 rpm. The gearbox was updated, with input from Ferrari’s F1 program, to an ultra-quick shift time of under 100 ms while braking is through Carbon Fiber composite discs and massive calipers. Wheels and tires are 19 inch slicks with full suspension data-monitoring and telemetry that allow the owner to improve his on-track performance while providing Ferrari technicians with valuable data to improve the FXX and future road-going Ferraris.

In late 2007 FXX s/n 146359 was updated to full FXX Evo specs at a cost of $300,000. Power was upped to 860hp at 9,500 and shift time reduced to a mere 60 ms while downforce was increased by 25%. Fitted with two seats to give your passenger the ride of their life.

The Clienti Corsa FXX program gives Ferrari’s top customers exclusive access to its most up-to-date technology and to utilize their input in personal driver development. As part of the purchase the buyer is instantly eligible for all Clienti Corsa supported FXX events. The next available FXX event is at Infineon raceway in May and the current owner will fly in, meet with the new owner and treat the new owner to an introduction to serious high speed track time in their new FXX."

Ferrari FXX Evoltuion for Sale

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/23/2011 at 6:10 AM
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We accidentally prove the Chevy Volt won't die if left running overnight, worry owners may not be as lucky

We stumbled upon a couple interesting facts about the 2011 Chevrolet Volt its last night in our care. The Volt showed approximately eight miles worth of battery juice the day before it was scheduled to leave when a group of employees took a mid-afternoon break to inspect the car a little further. The vehicle was left running as the group of five got into and out of the vehicle to peruse its many different features. We all left and the Volt stayed parked overnight. One staff member came in early the next morning and noticed that the car’s exterior lights were on. Believing that the car was just being picked up early, she did not think anything more of it. It was not until later that afternoon that another staff member realized the Volt had been “on” the entire night after he was greeted with a sudden blast of air from the climate control system when he opened the passenger door to return the owner’s manual.

Because the car is nearly silent when it is running off its batteries (as highlighted in our review of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt), we left the car locked but unaware that it was still technically running. Although we are a little worried that some owners may accidentally leave their Volt on during the chaos of bringing multiple children or groceries or both into the house and thus the opportunity arises that the car will leave them stranded, we have to admit our pride that the Volt’s battery never died.

We can only gather that the car's lights kicked on after sunset and stayed on all night because they were left in the “Auto” position. Since the staff member that was greeted with a blast from the A/C system said it felt like it kicked on as soon as he entered the car, and because the key fob was not with the car, we initially did not believe the A/C system was on all night. However, a few quick tests did show that the car and its A/C system will stay on even if the key fob is not with the car.

We had approximately eight miles worth of battery and 250 miles of extended range remaining when we left the car that afternoon. Upon our return, four hours shy of 24 hours later, the car still had 150 miles of extended range left over. After depleting the remaining juice from the battery, the gasoline motor must have kicked on and off throughout the night to keep up with the car’s electric demands.

We are of the understanding that our actions may be in violation of Florida State Statue 316.1975:

“A person driving or in charge of any motor vehicle may not permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the key.”

Our only defense is that the engine was not on (when we left it) and there was no ignition to lock or key to remove. We will let you know if we are served any non-moving violations due to our lack of judgment.

2012 Chevrolet Volt Battery

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 3/22/2011 at 7:33 AM
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Categories: Chevrolet
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