Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chrysler's upcoming 6.4L V8 only for SRT, not for Ram?

2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Back in November, during Chrysler's seemingly endless business plan presentation, Ram trucks chief Fred Diaz told the captive media audience that the new 6.4-liter Hemi gasoline V8 would likely appear in Ram's heavy duty trucks. Fast forward to today, however, and it would appear that the big Hemi is now off the table. reports that the 6.4 Hemi will instead be exclusive to Chrysler's potent SRT vehicles. Chrysler VP of product development, Joe Veltri, says that the 6.4 is designed for performance, not the grunt work truck buyers demand of their vehicles. notes also that Veltri sees a need for Ram to get gas engine that delivers more power and torque than the currently-available 5.7-liter Hemi, but that the likely course of action will involve building off that engine, rather than looking to adapt the SRT lump for truck duty. Why the drive to add more gas offerings in the diesel-dominated heavy-duty truck category? Emissions regulations, natch. Increasingly strict rules mean that diesels are becoming commensurately more costly to produce and sell, and Chrysler sees the ratio of diesel to gas engines offered becoming much closer in future years than it is today. Head over to for the full skinny.

New York 2010 Preview: All-new 2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima

The next stage of Kia's transformation from design also-ran to serious contender will kick off at the New York Auto Show in few weeks. After launching the Forte sedan and Koup, the new Sorento and, most recently, the Sportage, Kia's new design language is being applied to the Optima. The all-new 2011 Kia Optima is longer, wider and lower than the car it replaces although we don't know by how much. While it's not as aggressive as the sketches released a few weeks ago, this Optima is certainly a huge step forward.

We don't have any mechanical details yet, but we'd guess that the Optima shares a lot under the skin with the new Hyundai Sonata. Nor would we be at all surprised to learn that the Optima won't have a V6 engine option this time around. Instead, it'll probably use the same direct-injected 2.4-liter inline-four found in the Sonata. The turbocharged and hybrid variants may follow as well.

Officially Official: Lotus, Cosworth back in the IndyCar series

Lotus-Cosworth/KV Racing  IndyCar

Lotus is officially returning to the IndyCar series in 2010 in partnership with engine builder Cosworth and KV Racing. Lotus, as you well know, has a long history with Indy-style open-wheel racing, dating back to the early 1960s. Its exploits include a victory by Jim Clark in 1965 and the all-wheel-drive, turbine-powered cars that arrived a few years later.

Pics Aplenty: TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster hits the road

TAH Heuer Tesla Roadster

Following the unveiling of the TAG Heuer Roadster Sport at the Geneva Motor Show last week, Tesla has released a large batch of new photos of the one-off electric sports car. The new shots show the car, which was prepared to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Swiss watchmaker, out on the road.

Officially Official: 2011 BMW 5 Series Touring

2011 BMW 5 Series Touring

Just as the new sixth-generation BMW 5 Series sedan goes on sale in Europe, a new station wagon variant has been unveiled. Like past editions of the 5 Series Touring, this one is essentially the same as the sedan, only with the roof extending straight back to enclose a substantially larger cargo area.

All of the fancy new technology that we've already seen in the 5 Series Gran Turismo and sedan is carried over into the Touring. That includes the driver assistance systems like the surround-view cameras and parking assist. Underhood, BMW's twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 won't be available at launch, but a selection of gas and diesel four- and six cylinder engines will be offered. The range-topping 535i is powered by the new 300-horsepower 3.0-liter N55 twin-scroll turbo direct-injected inline-six.

Single-turbo versions of the 2.0-liter inline-four and 3.0-liter inline-six diesels are also available with 184 hp and 245 hp respectively. The four-cylinder 520d Touring gets an EU combined fuel economy rating of 45.2 miles per gallon (U.S.) with the 530d also scoring an impressive 36.8 mpg.

Unfortunately, it seems extremely unlikely that we will ever get to see any of these handsome new wagons given Americans' ongoing aversion to this body style. We'll just be forced to make do with the homelier-looking 5 Series Gran Turismo. Click past the jump to check out new video footage of the 5 series Touring.

Challenge Muscles Its Way In

Michigan-based Classic Design Concepts has come up with a, well, classic auto in the Group 2 Widebody Challenge. The auto was shown to the public during the Las Vegas SEMA Motor Show last year and it came with all the modifications and enhancements introduced by the company.

As the name suggests, the Group 2 Widebody Challenge has a widened front and rear wheel arches. It has Pirelli tires matched with 20 x 10 inches front wheels. If you’re a fan of the older Dodge Challenger then you’ll notice that the Widebody has front aerodynamic canards, lightweight aluminum hood, sequential taillights and stylish stainless steel mesh grille.

The Group 2 Widebody Challenge is powered by a 6.1-Liter HEMI V8 engine producing 560 horsepower. The enhancements made by Design Concept to the Challenger including the retro styling and the added horsepower have indeed made the Widebody a worthy Challenger.

Citroen Hypnos Hybri

The Citroen Hypnos Hybrid concept, which debuted during the 2008 Paris Motor Show, may look plain on the outside but prepare for the mind and eye-boggling psychedelic interiors. This is one quirky auto with jewel-like seats and a double-helix center station styled like a DNA adorning the interior.

The Citroen Hypnos Hybrid concept is powered by a 50-mpg hybrid powertrain producing 200 horsepower. The psychedelic concept car should not come as a surprise considering that it carries a name identified in the Hellenic mythology as Hypnos the god of sleep. But as to whether or not this is a foreboding that the car will be a sleeper once it reaches production version has not been confirmed. The manufacturer or maybe the one who named this Citroen would have done better naming the car with a little more research since he would discover that Hypnos had four sons one of whom is named Morpheus or the god of dreams—this would have been more appropriate.

While the design and the name remain highly debatable the Citroen Hypnos Hybrid is a certified fuel-efficient auto with a low fuel consumption of 4.5 liter per 100 kilometer. It is also environment-friendly with just 120 g/km of CO2 emissions.