Stepped away from your Blackberry, PC, or iPad for the week? Here are a few of the top news stories for the past week, along with some racing action you may want to tune into during your weekend.
Chrysler Previews Updated and New Offerings
The folks in Auburn Hills kept us on our toes this past week with a host of future products. Details about the new 2011 Town & Country, 200 (ex-Sebring), Patriot, Ram and Dakota pickups, and the U.S.-spec Fiat 500 broke as Chrysler revealed its new portfolio to dealers. Unofficially, we hear a Jeep Wrangler-based pickup and a Viper successor were also teased, albeit Chrysler's reps remain mum on the matter.
Who knew adding a door to an A6 could result in such a gorgeous automobile. Audi unwrapped its new A7 five-door earlier this year, but we recently sampled the new sedan/wagon/fastback on the roads of Italy. How's it drive? Wonderfuly, thanks in part to Audi's supercharged 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, a smooth ZF 8-speed automatic, and balanced handling. Passengers have it good, too -- despite the rakish roof, rear-seat occupants still have plenty of headroom. Click here to read our first drive review.
It's no RS, but Ford unwrapped the performance-tuned Focus ST earlier this week in advance of a debut at the 2011 Paris Motor Show. Ford calls this a global model, and says it'll be sold in every global market -- including here in North America. ST models will receive a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, rated at 247 horsepower. That's enough to rocket the hot hatch from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Sign us up.
Automotive X Prize Winners Announced
Progressive Insurance's Automotive X Prize finally came to an end this week. Winner of the mainstream class was Edison2's Very Light Car, which met the criteria of seating four passengers, using four wheels, and most importantly attaining a fuel economy of 100 mpg, while Li-Ion Motors and Peraves took home $2.5-million prizes from winning two different segments of the alternative class. Congratulations to all -- but remember not to spend your prize money in one place.
Rally Star Action: Ken Block Shows Gymkhana Three Part Two, Travis Pastrana Climbs Mt. Washington
Ken Block finally dropped Gymkhana 3: Part Two earlier this week, and those seeking tire-shredding action won't be disappointed. While Block was busy fooling around in France, rival rally driver Travis Pastrana was hard at work breaking records racing his way up Mt. Washington. Pastrana blitzed up the mountain in a shocking 6:20:47.
PARIS MOTOR SHOW PREVIEWS
What's in a new nose, anyway? When it comes to the 2011 Chevrolet Captiva, that revised snout actually wraps around a number of new powertrains, including a revised V-6 offering.
Mini Scooter E Concept
We first caught wind Mini was bringing an electric scooter concept to the Paris show a few weeks ago, but the news was unofficial until this week. We'll get a closer look at what Mini calls "future of urban mobility" later this month.
Fiat's in house tuner Abarth revealed this week it will bring a pair of its newly revamped models to the Paris Motor Show this week. The 500C Abarth Esseesse features mixes some big power numbers with a sliding cloth roof, while the Abarth Punto Evo receives a few new cosmetic revisions, including new 18-inch aluminum wheels with a grey finish.
First Factory-Built Fisker Karma
We've seen several Fisker Karma prototypes at several auto shows over the past few years, but the first factory-built model, coupled with actual marketing and sales plans, will be touted at the Parisian show.
-IndyCar Indy Japan 300 Twin Ring Motegi, Japan Saturday September 18 at 10 p.m. on Versus
-NASCAR Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday September 19 at 1 p.m. on ESPN