Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience.
The new Porsche 911 is almost here, with its public debut scheduled for September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The new car will grow moderately, but the use of aluminum and magnesium components will make the new car lighter than its predecessor. The base Carrera engine gains 5 hp for a total of 350 hp, while the Carrera S scores an extra 15 ponies for an even 400 hp. Either can be mated to a seven-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Revised suspension geometry and available adaptive dampers will ensure the new 911 sticks to the road just as enthusiastically as its forbears. Color us excited.
There’s a new Transformers film in theaters, and that gave Chevrolet the idea to build a movie-inspired Camaro. The 2012 Transformers Edition Camaro looks just like the transforming character Bumblebee, with twin black stripes laid over its Rally Yellow paint. Autobot logos, yellow stitching, and special black leather dress up the Camaro’s interior. The package costs just $3000 and can be applied to Camaro coupe 2LT or 2SS trim levels. Just watch out for Decepticons on the way to work.
Investment bankers and dot-com billionaires likely shed a tear earlier this week when Bugatti sold the last Veyron coupe — ever. As promised, Bugatti made just 300 copies of the stunning Veyron, including all its various special-edition versions and 267-mph Super Sport model. The Veyron made its debut back in 2005, wowing the world with 1001 hp and a top speed of 253 mph. Fortunately for those with excessive amounts of disposable income, Bugatti is still building the Veyron Grand Sport convertible.
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that two-thirds of drivers who live in cities with red-light cameras support the automated systems. Moreover, of those who had received tickets from red-light cameras, about half of survey respondents said they deserved the ticket. The evidence runs contrary to voting trends, in which many cities have rejected cameras. Survey respondents, however, overwhelmingly responded that running red lights threatened public safety, that they favored installation of red-light cameras, and that such cameras made them feel safer while driving.
Audi snagged its tenth win at the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, so to celebrate the company will launch a limited-run commemorative car. The Audi R8 V-8 Limited Edition is restricted to 100 units and all are heading to the U.K. market. Distinguishing features encompass titanium silver paint, special 19-inch wheels, red brake calipers, black Nappa interior upholstery with crimson stitching, red interior door handles, and a smattering of R8 logos for the cabin. Equipment upgrades also include magnetic ride control, a Bang and Olufsen stereo, and Bluetooth connectivity.
If you have enough money, Rolls-Royce will design any type of car you desire. The Masterpiece London 2011 Drophead Coupe demonstrates the potential, with high-end trimmings showing off Rolls’s personalization chops. This car is painted Mazarine Blue, a color inspired by a unique butterfly, and has special mother-of-pearl finishes for the instrument cluster. It also comes with a set of custom leather luggage, and a unique Asprey jewelry box that slots into the glovebox. Price? Rolls-Royce isn’t saying, meaning we surely cannot afford it.
Nissan unveiled Power 88, an ambitious new business strategy that will see the company improving its global market share to — and increase operating profit by — eight percent by 2016. To do so, Nissan will have to launch a new vehicle every six months, and expand its dealership network to cover 92 percent of all new-car markets. Technological improvements will pave the way, with an average of 15 technologies set to debut each year and a continued focus on electric vehicles. Nissan also hopes to grab a 10-percent share of the Chinese auto market, and to sell commercial vehicles and light trucks in emerging markets. Luxury brand Infiniti, meanwhile, is slated to get four new models, including an electric car and the previously announced JX crossover.
The 2011 BMW X3 has grown slightly, allowing space for the future X1 to slot into BMW’s lineup. Buyers can pick between a 240-hp normally aspirated engine or a turbocharged version with 300 hp; each comes attached to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The new X3 is far more refined than its predecessor, and especially has better ride quality, but its price tag is creeping close to that of the larger X5. The 2011 Subaru Forester receives a new base engine design, but top 2.5XT models get a 224-hp, 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer-four engine. The engine provides plenty of power, but it is thirsty. The Forester overall, though, remains a spacious, practical, and affordable all-wheel-drive crossover.
– NASCAR Nationwide Series, Subway Jalapeno 250, Daytona International Speedway, Friday July 1 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
– NASCAR Sprint Cup, Coke Zero 400, Daytona International Speedway, Saturday July 2 at 7:30 p.m. on TNT