Villemont Arctic Explorer Watch

. Thursday, September 27, 2007

Recently the news was abuzz with pictures of Lewis Gordon Pugh swimming at the North Pole in temperatures of - 1.8°C. To celebrate this unique accomplishment, Villemont, which acted as timekeeper for the challenge, has produced a limited edition of watches to mark the occasion. The company will be donating a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of watches to support WWF's fight against global warming, and in particular, their mission to save these polar regions. The "Arctic Explorer Limited Edition Lewis Pugh is an automatic chronograph and was the model that accompanied Lewis Gordon Pugh throughout his voyage to the North Pole. Th watch is limited to only 50 pieces and has the Solar Navigator®navigation system that allows easy orientation based on the position of the sun and shade. All 50 watches traveled to the North Pole and function well after withstanding the extreme temperatures. The watch has British racing green straps and around the dial and cost $9,900.

Source : luxist

Luxurious Boots by Oscar de la Renta

Coyote Boots

Style seems to flow in the blood of Designer Oscar de la Renta. Delivering incredible designs that suit the taste of the designer divas is on priority. Ruling in Siberia or the city, the flat grey coyote Boots are covered with a layer of fur till knee-high. These chocolate suede boots offers a natural experience and comfort that is matchless.

Size: 6½-11
Price: $1,995

Metallic Python Boots

Kick his ass with metallic python boots designed by Oscar. Calf-embracing python in glossy metallic silver distorted with gold ton and tortoise along calf. These boots would definitely go with black mini-skirt. A tiny heel is enough to support your walk on ramp and to add twist to your waist. The boot has zip closure from inside.

Color: Oxidize/Silver
Sizes: 6½-11
Price: $1,695

Things Cooks Love 32-Piece Collection

This would be a great housewarming gift for someone with a large kitchen, a chef's collection of 32 kitchen tools. The collection from Sur La Table has beautiful wood handles so that your cheese slicer matches your melon baller matches your lemon zester. The collection all together sells for $550.

Source : luxist

$1.3 million handset: the world's priciest phone

Guinness World Records certifies this GoldVish phone as the most expensive in the world--1 million euros, or about $1.3 million. The odd-shaped device is made out of 18-carat white gold and features 1,800 diamonds totaling 120 carats. A Russian businessman bought Le Million for his wife last September at a luxury goods fair in Cannes, France. Don't have a spare million for this made-by-request gadget? Geneva-based GoldVish has plenty of expensive phones in its lineup, including models with gold plating and diamond-studded cases.

Last year, Vertu teamed up with French jeweler Boucheron to make the second-most-expensive phone on our list, a limited-edition series of eight $310,000 handsets sporting red, jewel-encrusted snakes. The Signature Cobra includes two diamonds, two emerald eyes and 439 rubies snaking around an 18-carat rose gold case.

Like most of the phones on our list, Vertu's devices are fairly standard, "unlocked" handsets compatible with any wireless carrier whose networks use a calling technology called GSM--in the U.S., that's AT&T, formerly Cingular Wireless, and T-Mobile, a division of Deutsche.

Wireless both use a competing technology that's not compatible.) Vertu phones also include a direct-dial button to a concierge service, which can help with travel information, restaurant tips and events.

While some manufacturers flaunt diamonds, others are showcasing phone cases made from rare, antique wood. The pitch is that the varying grain patterns make each handset truly unique. Russia's Gresso boasts that its Black Aura handsets are 200 years old--the age of the African Blackwood on each phone's case. Canada's Mobiado says it has sold through its 200-unit run of the $2,200 jet-black Professional EM, made from ebony wood and hard-anodized aluminum with titanium buttons.

Source : fine-diamond

Yalos Diamond TV- Worlds Most Expensive TV

Following on from the likes of the i.Beat Organix Gold MP3 player, costing a cool £13,600, and the £160,000 Black Diamond mobile phone, the latest highly desirable piece of technology to feature in Thoughts from the Sidelines’ TechnoLust category is the rather fetching Yalos “Diamonds” LCD TV.

Created by the Italian company Keymat Industrie with input from Japanese designer Takahide Sano, this seriously bling 40 inch LCD TV boasts no less than a full 20 carats worth of diamonds embedded in white gold on the screen’s tempered crystal surround as well as two tuners and is, of course, is fully HDTV compliant.

However, as you would expect, it carries a serious price tag.

Further interesting features of the Yalos “Diamonds” LCD TV are that there are no visible screws or joins which affords this TV is incredibly sleek and refined appearance. The official site even mentions that the TV’s logo has “been screen-printed backwards and changes colour depending on whether the set is on or off”.

The set has provision for 1080i and 720p high definition picture formats and utilises Pixelworks technology so as to further unsure that the television’s picture is as clean and sharp as the sets overall design.

Further features include one HDMI, VGA, DVI, 2 x YPbPr, 2 x Scart, 2 x S-Video, 2 x CVBS connections, a resolution of 1366 x 768, a double RF tuner and a picture contrast ratio of 1200:1.

The price? A staggering £67,500.00.

Source : gemscollection

Most Expensive Stereo System

As one of the world’s largest consumer electronics trade shows, the IFA show in Berlin has certainly been host to some startlingly expensive electronic marvels. IFA 2007, which opened its doors on the last day of August, was no disappointment. Among the 1,212 exhibitors present at this year’s show was the aptly-named Audio magazine, there to show off the world’s most expensive stereo system.

Clearaudio Statement Turntable

This expensive stereo system includes JBL speakers that cost nearly $70,000 per pair, four 18-inch Velodyne subwoofers ($52,000), five Krell power amplifiers ($163,000) and a Mark Levinson pre-amplifier ($54,500). Then, of course, there’s the eye catching Clearaudio Statement Turntable, which adds another $137,000 to the overall cost of Audio’s expensive system.

The world’s most expensive stereo system isn’t for audiophiles alone, though. It also includes Pioneer’s BDP-LX 70 blu ray player and Toshiba’s HD-EXI for HD-DVD’s. SIM2’s HAT-500 projector ($68,000) provides video output, making this system as desirable for home cinema buffs as it is for audiophiles.

Unfortunately, the listening room at IFA 2007 wasn’t quite up to the challenge provided by Audio’s expensive system. Background noise made the improvement in sound quality nearly imperceptible.

Source : mostexpensive

World’s First Anti-Sea-Sickness Yacht: The Ferretti

If you are also the victim of motion sickness or sea-sickness, then don’t be hesitant. It is the only obstacle that stops you from exploring hidden territories and enjoying the beauty of the magnificent places.

But now such problem doesn’t exist with the entry of the first anti sea-sickness yacht that functions on an “anti-Rolling Gyro” technology that restricts the sideways movement of the yacht. According the Luxist, the USP of the Ferretti 630’s system consist of a motorized 154 pound gyroscope carved out of steel and aluminum positioned at the foot of the hull.

Among the other facilities of the craft, a massage lounge is quite attractive. If your senses are driven to grab this yacht is to loose the weight of your check book by $3.2 million.

Source : luxurylaunches

Adam & Eve Flash Drives

Luxury phone company Gresso has strayed from the phones and into world of luxury USB flash drives. Their Adam & Eve flash drives are made of African Mahogany or African Blackwood and white diamonds and come in three different shapes, a bitten apple, a cross and a simple rectangle on a caoutchouc strap with a gold clasp. The prices for the jewelry collection of USB flash drives range from $300 to $1000 and will launch in October 2007.

Source : adam&eve

World's most expensive earrings

What is the most expensive earrings in the world?

Harry Winston is the 'jeweler to the stars' and you can find him, where else, at the House of Winston at 371 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California. Every year Harry Winston lends out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of jewelry to the stars so they can look good at the Oscars.

For 2006 the House of Winston created a pair of 'Extraordinary Diamond Drop Earrings' consisting of two pear-shaped diamonds in a platinum setting totaling 60.1 carats of wallet emptying glitter.

If you're interested in buying the world's most expensive earrings be prepared to shell out a cool $8.5 million USD.

Source : iceforever

Cannon camera covered with diamonds

Canon kicked off its IXUS 10 celebrations last night with a star-studded party at the Atlantis Gallery in London's Brick Lane. The event saw the unveiling of a diamond IXUS worth more than €40,000 as well as three new additions to one of the most iconic camera ranges of all time.

Two key figures behind the IXUS success story – camera designers Yasushi Shiotani and Seiichi Omino – joined international fashion icons, celebrities and more than 600 media representatives to mark the tenth anniversary of the first IXUS. Shiotani's 'Box and Circle' design for the original APS-based IXUS camera in 1996 spawned hundreds of imitations and remains the signature motif of the range. Omino reinterpreted the concept for the digital age with his striking design for the Digital IXUS in 2000.

The €40,000 Super Diamond IXUS is covered with 380 diamonds. Nine 'his and hers' diamond IXUS cameras have also been produced with an estimated value of €3,500 each.

Canon debuted the three newest additions to the IXUS range with a catwalk show on the night: the titanium-bodied Digital IXUS 900 Ti, Digital IXUS 850 IS, and Digital IXUS i7 zoom.

"The challenge facing any iconic brand is to remain faithful to its original values while staying fresh and innovative," said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "That IXUS has kept its number one position throughout the last 10 years is testament to both the strength of the original IXUS concept and Canon's commitment to innovation."

Source : gemscollection

Most Expensive Chess Set

Renowned French artist and master of jewelry, Bernard Maquin created the Royal Diamond Chess set in 2005 bringing the game of chess to a whole new level. Noted for its abililty to combine fine art, jewelry, and the classic game of chess, this is one of the most expensive chess sets in the world.

Thirty craftsmen, under the direction of Maquin spent over 4500 hours creating the expensive chess set. The work was done all by hand and when it was completed, the artists used 1168.75 grams of 14 carat white gold, and approximately 9900 black and white diamonds, bringing the total weight to 186.09 carats and the total cost to $500,000.

This posh chess set is part of the Charles Hollander Collection, one of the most respected names in the diamond industry. And you just know you are looking at a piece from the Hollander collection when you see a game doubling as a diamond studded work of art.

But if you thought the Hollander set would make your chess game bling-bling, then you haven’t seen the most expensive chess set in the world yet. This label goes to the Jewel Royale Chess Set from Britain. Boodles, a British custom jewelry company commissioned its production.

Valued at over £5 million ($9.8m USD), this single chess set is the most expensive and exquisite game set of any kind in the world. Constructed of gold and platinum, it contains diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls and sapphires. The king piece alone weighs 165.2 grams of 18 carat yellow gold and has a spiraling mid-section graced by 73 rubies and 146 diamonds.

Interestingly, there will be a limited number of replica sets selling for about £20,000 ($26,700 USD).

Book and film script adaptations featuring The Jewel Royale Chess Set, with the title of “Checkmate”, are being worked on by an un-known, award winning British writer. Whether it’s a comedy or a thriller, promotional and merchandising opportunities are sure to be huge!

The production of the Jewel Royale is nearly complete, and when suitable sponsors are confirmed, a celebrity chess tournament is slated to happen using the most expensive chess set in the world. Find out more about the expensive chess set at the Jewel Royale website.

Source : charleshollandercollection

Lanvin Jeanne Pouchette, Handbag of the Day

This is a sharp looking leather bag with lots of nice silver-tone detail. Why did they have to go and ruin it with that cotton web strap? I like the contrast, but black leather would have been a better choice, I think. Looking past the adjustable strap, the little pouchette is pretty with the details and at 10"x6.5"x3.5", it is a nice compact size. The bag is also available in black and dark khaki, presumably with the same icky strap. $1065.

source : barneys

Sculptural Japanese Chair for Sumo Wrestler

The potency and form of the cedar was a clear option and blind choice before the designer Isamu Kenmochi to materialize his wish of making a chair suiting the personality of a Sumo wrestler. Identified as Kashiwado chair, it emerged as a style icon in 1961.

Kenmochi designed this chair especially for Kashiwado, the famous Sumo athlete. Apparently, the designer must have had different dimensions in his mind that helped him produced this masterpiece that fits his body and vice-versa. Lolz-:)

Designer took weeks to produce this chair. Designing starts with cutting numerous blocks of the bottom roots from a Japanese cedar. After a careful selection of high-quality wood with the most tree-rings, the blocks are coated on each-other forming layers. Then a shiny polish followed by a coating.

And the chair is ready waiting for the wrestler to unveil its peerless designing. Three cheers for Kenmochi for his designer creation.

Measurement: 24.80” (H) X 33.46” (W) X 30.31” (D)
Designer: Isamu Kenmochi
Price: $9,950

Source : purecontemporary

Lamborghini kind of confirms new super expensive supercar

. Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jalopnik has busted the lid off the super-secret Lambo supercar that has been little more than a whisper campaign until now. Looks like Lambo leader Stephan Winkelmann has finally admitted what we've know for a little while. Up in Monterey we heard people talking in hushed voices about a new $1.5 million supercar based off the LP640, but with styling "inspired by jets." Winkelmann confirmed those rumors while announcing that we'd be seeing something special from Sant'Agata Bolognese at the Frankfurt Auto Show next week. We've heard that although the exterior is rather exceptional, it's what's on the inside that really matters the most. Something about a truly innovative dash that has folks abuzz. It better be good to command 5 times a normal LP's price tag.

[Source: Jalopnik]

Frankfurt Preview: AC Schnitzer GP3.10 Concept

One of AC Schnitzer's Frankfurt debuts mixes very high performance with a little bit of a greenish tint. Behold the GP3.10, a 3-Series coupe that has been completely transformed with a full interior and exterior overhaul (which you will either love or hate). The car's name tells you the rest of what you need to know:

GP: Gas-powered, as in Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)
3: For 3-Series
10: For 10 cylinders
Yes, that's correct. The GP3.10 sheds its stock I6 for a worked-over V10 sourced from an M5/M6, and AC Schnitzer has fitted the motor with an LPG system that turns the car into a dual-fuel monster dishing out 552 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. The driver can switch between fuel sources (gasoline or LPG) at any time, and LPG is readily available in Germany (2,700 filling stations, according to AC Schnitzer). There is the added benefit that CO2 emissions when running on the LPG are 15% lower than when on gasoline. But let's be honest, potential buyers of something like this aren't looking for green-ness. They're probably more interested in the gaudy 4.5 second 0-62 time and 198 mph top speed. As for the equally gaudy multicolor, multi-textured interior and the fully-Schnitzered exterior, we'll leave the judgments to you. We will say that the center-outlet exhaust is pretty nifty, but we are so not crazy about that little F1-style mini roof wing.

Full details on the car are available at AC Schnitzer's website (follow the "Read" link), and we have a gallery full of hi-res images for you below.

[Source: AC Schnitzer]

Gallery: AC Schnitzer GP3.10 Concept

New Pagani Zonda R renderings released

It might look very similar to the Zonda F it's replacing, but in truth, there's only about 10% carryover from Horacio Pagani's previous creation to his latest. No matter. Awesome is awesome, regardless of everything else, and the Zonda R belongs next to the term in the dictionary. As these latest computer renderings show, the carbon fiber-bodied Zonda R looks like some kind of formidable stealth weapon. Unfortunately for drivers, it most certainly is NOT invisible to radar, and this 7.3-liter, 750 horsepower, 523 lb-ft beast is more than capable of lighting up police-issue units with ridiculous numbers. Power is directed to the wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox. Autogespot puts the price at around €2 Million (in the Netherlands, including taxes), which means it will be garage ornamentation for a very select few.

This thing looks like it could go out and compete at Le Mans out of the box., and for €2,000,000, maybe Pagani should throw in a pit crew, too. Enjoy the five new renderings like the one above that we've added to the gallery.

[Source: Autogespot]

Frankfurt 2007: 2008 Porsche GT2 caught behind closed doors

We're a little eager for this year's 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show to start, so while attending the official soiree of media professionals at the Frankfurt Messe, we poked around until something caught our attention. That would be the 2008 Porsche GT2, the most fierce piece of hardware that Stuttgart has to offer. We already know its specs: 530 horsepower from a twin-turbo version of the automaker's famous flat-six, 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, a 204-mph top speed, and 18.8 mpg makes a nice cherry on top. Numbers on a page didn't prepare us, however, for the awesome presence of Porsche's new GT2. Take a look at the rear rolling stock, for instance, which look Viper thick at 325mm across. Actually, Vipers wear 345 in the rear, but the Porsche's rear rubber is tucked inside a much smaller derriere. Or how about those ginormous disc brakes, which we guess are carbon ceramics based on the fact the calipers were painted yellow. The seats, as well, are bolstered like a big bear hug, while being as thin as your favorite lawn chair to save weight.

We poked around the empty room in which Porsche will officially unveil the GT2 in public tomorrow, but were eventually tossed out like a used set of the GT2's rear tires. Check out the entire group of pics we managed to nab in our gallery below, before getting the big boot, that is.

[Source: Porsche]

Frankfurt Motor Show: Lamborghini Reventon revealed!

The Volkswagen Group threw a major shindig in Frankfurt earlier tonight at which it showed off all the new wares its introducing to the public at the Frankfurt show beginning tomorrow. The car that has assuredly generated the most heavy breathing this evening is the holy-crap-that-thing's-effing-badass Lamborghini Reventon. Named for the bull that killed toreador Felix Guzman in 1943, the Reventon is basically the ultimate Murcielago in all respects, including price. The super-limited (only twenty cars are being built) supercar costs a cool $1,000,000, and all of them are already sold. Power from its V12 is up around 20 horses over the regular Murcielago LP640, so you get a little extra juice for the added dough.

Follow the jump for more.

[Source: Lamborghini via Motor Authority, Jalopnik, Straightline]

Frankfurt 2007: Dodge Journey drops in Germany

Chrysler fired its biggest salvo yet in the CUV wars by officially unveiling the Dodge Journey in front of a throng of mildly interested in journalists. Truly, if you've seen one CUV, you've seen them all, and the Dodge Journey is all kinds of derivative. Coming from the automaker that brought us the Viper, Charger, Magnum and Challenger Concept in recent years, the Journey's design comes off as eminently safe. Perhaps Dodge is playing to the middle with this one, hoping to boost sales by appealing to the masses. What will sell the Journey are some of its clever interior storage solutions, including two bins in the floor directly behind the front seats, and more storage underneath the front passenger seat cushion. While the Journey could seat seven in a pinch thanks to its optional third row, it's obvious after having seen it in person that those venturing aft must be small and limber. What won't help the Journey is its powertrain lineup, which includes a 2.4L World Engine four-cylinder with unimpressive fuel economy, a 2.7L flex-fuel V6, and a 3.5L V6 that produces a meager 235 HP. The latter mill is mated to a six-speed automatic, but is still noticeably underpowered compared to other 3.5L V6 engines offered by its competitors while not delivering an appreciable gain in fuel economy to make up for it.

Europeans, however, can also choose 2.0L turbo diesel producing 140 HP and 229 ft-lbs. of torque, which is then mated to a trick dual-clutch six-speed automatic. Sigh... the grass sure is greener over here in Frankfurt, at least for Dodge Journey customers.

Frankfurt 2007: Mitsubishi Concept cX

Our man on the floor, Jonathan, snapped a set of live shots of Mitsubishi's Concept cX after the automaker took the wraps off its dual-purpose crossover. The AWD concept draws cues from the recently redesigned Lancer, with a mildly raked front clip, tautly drawn headlamps, a gaping maw and a duo of heavily accented swage lines that flank the hood and sides. Power comes via a 134 HP 1.9-liter variable turbine geometry-equipped turbo diesel making 206 lb.-ft. of torque. Grunt is sent to all four wheels via a dual-clutch SST automated manual transmission, while the exterior is made of more eco-friendly elements, including organic resin from bamboo.


Mitsubishi Concept-cX

Dual peace of mind

Building upon seventy years of 4-Wheel-Drive expertise, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is in a privileged position to appreciate the customer benefits of this technology, both in terms of on-road active safety and off-road ability, from Lancer Evolution to Pajero.
In parallel, MMC is acutely aware of the pressing issues brought by climate change and is implementing a holistic environmental global strategy, through its "Environment Initiative Program 2010" (EiP 2010) umbrella program.
Combining these two "piece-of-mind" approaches, Mitsubishi Motors introduces Concept-cX at the occasion of the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show: a vibrant demonstration that driving pleasure and corporate responsibility are not mutually exclusive and the showcase for the CO_ friendly all-new Euro 5 Clean Diesel family of engines, co-developed by MMC and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and to be launched in 2009.

Ingrained guiding principles
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation's corporate citizenship and its concern over environmental issues is neither a recent phenomenon nor a quick marketing trick.
Indeed, they are deep-rooted in Mitsubishi's corporate culture, as formalized in several guiding principles edicted in the 1930's by Koyata Iwazaki (of the founding Iwazaki family) the fourth and last President of the old Mitsubishi organization:
- Enrich society – both materially and spiritually – and safeguard the global environment.
- Conduct business in the spirit of integrity and fairness and on a foundation of transparency and openness.
- Adopt a global perspective in developing and expanding business.
A few decades later, these principles are very much alive and respected throughout the Mitsubishi group of companies.
The first of these principles was the trigger for MMC's continued efforts in the area of environmentally-friendly technology, from the MCA (Mitsubishi Clean Air) engine technology of the 1970's to today's wide spectrum of solutions.
Since the 1993 Mitsubishi Motors Environmental Council, MMC has formalized its commitment to use its engineering expertise to contribute to a cleaner environment.
As a reminder, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has adopted an all-embracing approach in addressing global environmental issues. Under its "EIP 2010" ("Environment Initiative Program 2010") umbrella project, the Company is actively engaged in the development of a wide range of such technologies, covering:
- Powertrains (see below)
- Materials (plant-based "Green Plastic",...),
- Processes ("Design for Environment" guiding principles,...),
- Manufacturing (pollution-prevention and recycling measures).
- Conservation ("Pajero Forest & Local Mountain Restoration Initiative" aiming to conserve and cultivate Japan's forests and woodlands,...).

Europe = Next Generation Clean Diesel
Whilst pursuing long-term fundamental research & development, Mitsubishi Motors has taken a very down-to-earth view on marketable "green" technologies to make a bigger impact short term.
In particular, MMC has decided to go regional with powertrain solutions matching the everyday reality of very different regional needs, driving patterns & infrastructures:
- Clean Diesel Euro 5 family of engines for Europe,
- Next-generation electric vehicle for Japan,
- Flexible fuel vehicle for Brazil,

Considering the overwhelming importance of Diesel in Europe (50+% of sales in average), the most effective short-term was to elect Diesel as the low CO_ solution for this region, as opposed to fancier technologies, ultimately limited in impact by cost, sheer volume or recyclability.
There lies the strategic importance of MMC's next generation of Euro 5 Clean Diesel engines. Developed jointly with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., this new family of powerplants is a key element in Mitsubishi Motors' efforts to lower CO_ and other greenhouse gas emissions.
Features contributing to the new engine's class-topping power output and Euro 5 emissions performance include a new high-efficiency turbocharger and high-efficiency combustion characteristics that stem from the application of own analytic technology of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Motors.
Consistent with its no-frills approach, MMC has taken the decision to bring forward to early 2009 the start of production of this family of engines to Europe, one full year earlier than scheduled (following the European introduction, these powerplants will also be phased into other markets). This advancement will allow MMC to meet the needs of the growing number of environment-conscious customers quicker and make de facto a more substantial and short(er)-term impact.

Real World
In this context, Concept-cX represents a proposal for an accessible, affordable, sustainable and realistic solution to today's pressing issues, whilst preserving authentic driving pleasure.
Case in point, Concept-cX follows the popular compact SUV route to carry this message right at the heart of the market, where SUVs are one of the fastest growing segments.
Sharp in design and in dynamics, Mitsubishi's Concept-cX boasts an excellent environmental performance to be seen in the (targeted) low fuel consumption and emission levels achieved by its 100 kW (136 ps) @ 4,000 rpm / 280 Nm @ 2,000 rpm next generation 1.8-liter Clean Diesel DOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder engine. Amongst other technologies, it features a variable geometry (VG) turbocharger – to generate optimum boost pressure for all engine loads – as well as a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and a DOC (Diesel Oxidation Catalyst).
For this concept car application, the 1.8 l Clean Diesel engine is mated to Mitsubishi Motors' Twin Clutch SST technology. Recently announced, this automated manual transmission combines the economy and dynamic driving of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic gearbox. In essence:
- High power transmission efficiency and low fuel consumption, on par with a conventional manual unit.
- Slick, sporty gear changing with no clutch pedal.
- Quick response and smooth shifting.

Concept-cX's further green credentials include eco-friendly "Green Plastics", MMC's proprietary plant-based resin technology - made from bamboo and other plant-based resins - effectively used for interior trim materials, such as floor mats, door trim, tail gate trim and seat back panels.

On-road demand
Surfing on the popular compact SUV wave by strategy (up 54% from 325,000 in 2001 to 500,000 in 2006 and with further 35% growth expected between 2006 and 2009) and by heritage (from the 1936 PX33 to the 2007 Outlander, L200 and Pajero), Concept-cX does acknowledge the essentially on-road usage of these vehicles.
Trendy substitutes to more conventional formats such as MPVs, compact SUVs add a bit of shine to utility whilst fulfilling all the duties expected from compact family cars. Hence the split tailgate used by Outlander but also Concept-cX for instance.
Compact (410 cm), low (155 cm), wide (175 cm), sitting on a long wheelbase (252,5 cm) & wide tracks (151 cm/151 cm) and planted on its 225/45R19 tires, Concept-cX offers passenger car-like stance and dynamics, as suggested by its gaping Lancer "Jet Fighter" grille.
Its on-road abilities are further enhanced by the use of Mitsubishi's sophisticated AWC (All Wheel Control) technology, similar in essence to the device successfully introduced with the new Outlander.
This electronically controlled 4WD system offers the driver a choice of three modes (2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Lock) to match traction control to his preferences or driving conditions. The center differential features an electronically controlled coupling that uses feed-forward control to determine the optimum front/rear torque split from sensor data on throttle opening, vehicle speed, road conditions and driver inputs.

Jet fighter
Featuring the "Jet Fighter" grille introduced with the all-new Lancer family and using a derivative of Outlander's 4-Wheel-Drive drivetrain, Concept-cX does create an interesting link between Mitsubishi's passenger cars and SUVs, an intention clearly visible in its exterior design.
Indeed, that SUV / hatchback crossover positioning is stressed through design features shared by both formats. However, Concept-cX incorporates a sports car flavour stronger than usually applied to this genre and very much consistent with Mitsubishi's impeccable sporting heritage.

The intention is evident when considering Concept-cX's overall format: a tight and powerful wedge, sloted within 4 bulging wheel-arches, fronted by the vast expanse of a clam-shell hood and finishing with deep-set headlamps either sides of the reverse slant of an over-sized version of Mitsubishi's trademark "Jet Fighter" grille.
The flanks themselves are all motion, with beltline, Lancer-like character line and even the position of the door handles following airflows.
At the back, all lines converge and merge into the wrap-around "fast hatch" tucked in between the powerful rear fenders, with the eyebrows of the (front) headlamps echoed by the (rear) roof spoiler and the lower vent / central exhaust reminding jets' thrust nozzles.
Concept-cX also ticks the convenience box with its deep panoramic backlight, twin-stage split tailgate and high mounted rear combination lamps.
Finishing touch, Concept-cX sports a sharp & pure metallic medium blue hue that evokes the image of a crystal-clear lake, while the use of fine aluminum flecks throughout creates a nearly transparent metallic finish.

Using MMC's proprietary Green Plastic (floor mats, door trim, tail gate trim and seat back panels) and upholstered in earthy tones of brown (leather) and off-white, the interior bridges the gap between sporty and comfy, mixing driver-oriented round meters with bench seats and soft padding to create an interior space that cocoons the occupants, but remind them that they are in a car. Still...
Thinly padded but welcoming nonetheless, the organically-shaped front backrests are mated to a bench seat integrating the transmission lever (Twin Clutch SST and 2WD/4WD functions) as well as the starter and some of the warning lights (bonnet open, "fast hatch" open, low fuel).
The dashboard itself points to the underlying strength of the car's frame and invite all occupants to share the voyage through a mega-sized information center touch screen.

Hottest Sports Cars for 2007 - BMW Z4 Coupe

. Sunday, September 2, 2007

BMW Z4 Coupe

Based on the Z4 Roadster, the new Z4 Coupe appeals to sports- car purists who shun frou-frou convertibles yet value distinctive styling and practicality. The latter is thanks to a decent trunk, comfortable seats and good gas mileage from the car's 255-hp 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic with shift paddles on the steering wheel are both available.

The classic roadster format — engine up front, two seats in the middle, drive wheels in back, soft folding top — is BMW in its purest form. From the 18-hp Wartburg Sport introduced only two years after this company entered the business in 1928 to the 2007 Z4 M Roadster, BMW’s roadster lineage runs straight and pure. While others chase hideaway hardtops, V8s and mid-engine layouts, BMW holds fast to its heritage.

Religious adherence to tradition sounds stodgy, but you won’t find a hint of arthritis in the Z4 M Roadster’s moves. This car is fire under the hood, legs underneath and a soul nurtured by those who know and care about driving.

Make that driving fast and hard whenever, wherever possible. With 330 high-revving horses hauling only 3,200 pounds, the “Motorsports” part of this car’s nameplate (that’s what the “M” stands for) says it all.

by Don Sherman

Hottest Sports Cars for 2007 - Bentley Continental GTC


Bentley Continental GTC

A sexy, new convertible version of Bentley's Continental GT features a soft fabric top that stows neatly under a leather-lined cover for a sleek top-down look. Bentley's usual impeccable interior treatment makes the Continental GTC's cabin a feast for the senses. And with a 552-hp W12 engine and all-wheel drive, it's sure to set the heart racing.

The topless profile of the new Bentley Continental GTC convertible is drastically more attractive than that of the pudgy Continental GT coupe upon which it's based.

Lacking the elegant look of classic Bentleys, with their expansive hoods that seem to stretch for blocks, the Continental GT and GTC have modern, economy-car proportions: a short hood, bluff nose and rounded rump. The innovative and compact 552-hp twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine these baby Bentleys share (basically two V6 engines attached side by side) preempts the kind of long hood required by older Bentleys to accommodate the massive V8 and V12 engines of their day.

Find Bentley Continental GTC specs

Chopping the roof off of the Continental GT coupe somehow improves the aesthetic, making the GTC look longer and more elegant than its hardtop twin, even though it's the same length and width as the coupe.

Other than the multilayer, powered convertible fabric top, the Bentley Continental GTC is pretty much identical to the Continental GT, which is to say it should offer supercar performance with limousine-like comfort when it goes on sale late this year. It will have the same six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with manual-shift capability via paddles behind the steering wheel and will also feature all-wheel drive like the Continental GT.

Bentley Continental GTC Comparison

Bentley uses AWD in these vehicles instead of the traditional rear-wheel-drive setup of past models because it transfers the engine's monstrous power more safely and effectively to the road. Sophisticated stability control, traction control and braking systems further enhance safety.

See Bentley Continental GTC Pictures

The interior of the Bentley Continental GTC will be identical to that of the Continental GT coupe — except, judging from initial photos of the Continental GTC, it appears as if the rear seats are closer together to accommodate the retractable roof. The top stows completely out of view underneath a leather-lined cover and features a glass rear window with heating element.

Bentley Continental GTC Vehicle Summary

Bentley makes only one other convertible model, the ultra-rare and much more expensive full-size Azure, which is based on the Arnage sedan.

by Jim Gorzelany and Matthew de Paula

Top 10 Luxury Vehicles with the Worst Resale Value (1st - 5th)


1. Lincoln Town Car

MSRP: $42,985
Residual Value After Five Years: 17 percent*

The Lincoln Town Car is archaic by today's automotive standards, much like the Mercury Grand Marquis that shares its platform. "It doesn't reflect the needs and wants of a modern consumer anymore — it's a niche vehicle," says Auto Appraisal Group's Batton. Not only that, but at nearly $45,000 to start and well over $50,000 with options, "it has dangerously entered the same price territory as significantly more sophisticated import luxury sedans," he says.

The average age of Town Car buyers is 69 — an indicator of the dwindling group of potential buyers for this vehicle. And like the Mercury Grand Marquis, the Lincoln Town Car is sold in large numbers to limo and other fleet services, which boosts the supply way past the demand once these vehicles hit the used-car market.

2. Mercury Grand Marquis LS

MSRP: $30,320
Residual Value After Five Years: 23 percent*

The Mercury Grand Marquis is "a big, bulky vehicle that simply doesn't reflect trends in the current market," says Auto Appraisal Group's Larry Batton. Buyers of the Grand Marquis owners are 67 years old on average. "The market for this huge car is small and getting smaller," Batton says.

Even though the Grand Marquis is a good value for its sheer size and features, the fact that so many are sold to fleet operations such as cab services hurts resale values. "When cars are used heavily in fleets, supply goes up, and demand — and prices — go down," Batton says.

3. Jaguar X-Type Sedan and Wagon

MSRP: 34,995
Residual Value After Five Years: 25 percent*

The X-Type has struggled since its 2002 debut. It never quite mustered the appeal and performance of more-capable competitors such as the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G35, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Jaguar plans to quietly phase out the lame duck X-Type. Poor reliability, as rated by Consumer Reports, is only one knock among many. Auto industry insiders fault the X-Type for being little more than a dressed up Ford Mondeo.

4. Jaguar S-Type V6

MSRP: $49,000
Residual Value After Five Years: 25 percent*

The current-generation S-Type debuted as a 2000 model and is near the end of its life cycle and will be replaced by an all-new sedan called the XF. Auto Appraisal Group's Batton says that residual values almost always suffer when vehicles are at the end of their life cycle as consumers gravitate to the latest and greatest offerings.

Besides being long in the tooth, the midsize Jaguar S-Type also suffers from poor reliability, according to Consumer Reports, a double-whammy for residual values. And its retro styling, though elegant, no longer stands out against jauntier competitors.

5. Mercedes-Benz E550

MSRP: $59,775
Residual Value After Five Years: 26 percent*

Reliability of Mercedes-Benz vehicles has plummeted, says Larry Batton of Auto Appraisal Group. Poor reliability erodes resale value. Mercedes execs have unofficially admitted to us that adding too much new technology without enough time to fully test it was a downfall with the E-Class and caused many of the model's widely documented problems in recent years.

Compared to the V8-powered E550, the six-cylinder-powered E-Class sedans and wagons — E350 and E320 diesel — retain more value: 37 percent after five years, according to KBB. Likewise, the low-production, high-performance E63 AMG, with 41 percent of its value retained after five years. The E550 cranks out 114 hp more than the E350 but costs a whopping $8,500 more.

Top 10 Luxury Vehicles with the Worst Resale Value (6th - 10th)


6. Lincoln MKZ AWD

MSRP: $31,765
Residual Value After Five Years: 26 percent*

The Lincoln MKZ (formerly the Zephyr) is based on the Mazda 6 platform. The Mazda 6 is an excellent car and so is the MKZ, but the $5,000 to $10,000 price premium for the Lincoln makes it less appealing, despite its luxury features and respectable performance. In its favor, the MKZ gets an "Excellent" predicted-reliability rating from Consumer Reports.

Like with most luxury cars, the MKZ offers what auto analyst Ricky Beggs of Black Book Auto Research calls "fluff features." Some of these options, such as pricey navigation systems, quickly become obsolete and can drag down residual values.

7. Cadillac STS V6

MSRP: $42,765
Residual Value After Five Years: 26 percent*

Like the larger DTS, the Cadillac STS is a solid performer and appealing in many ways. But, “American cars are having a tough moment,” says Auto Appraisal Group’s Larry Batton. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are struggling to regain a competitive edge long lost to foreign manufacturers.

Just as the DTS competes in a heady field, so does the STS. It goes up against the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Infiniti M, Lexus ES and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, all of which have higher residual values; the Infiniti M even made our top 10 list for highest residual values. For the STS, power pays: the V8-powered model has a five-year residual value of 30 percent and the hot rod STS-V 39 percent.

8. Cadillac DTS V8

MSRP: $41,990
Residual Value After Five Years: 26 percent*

The Cadillac DTS is another solid performer marred by low residual values. Part of the problem is that, like the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis on this list, the DTS is sold to fleets for use as a limo, livery cab and the like. Lots of them get pumped into the used-car market once they're retired from fleets and throw off the supply-demand ratio.

Also working against the DTS is the fact that it competes with full-size sedans from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. Those brands have more clout than Cadillac and are currently regarded as leading innovators. In the upper echelons of the luxury-sedan market, where "mine is better than yours" is a mantra, clout and innovation are key.

9. Ford Expedition V8 4WD

MSRP: $32,895
Residual Value After Five Years: 27 percent

As we wrote in the Top 10 Luxury Vehicles with the Highest Resale Value feature, performance is a primary driver of used car values. The Ford Expedition makes this list largely because of sluggish performance compared to other big SUVs. It has a 300-hp V8, which sounds powerful, but really isn't for a vehicle that weighs well over three tons.
On top of being rather under-powered, the Expedition guzzles fuel. "It's just not at all ideal for what's going on right now in the world — namely, rising gas prices and increasing interest in 'green' vehicles," says Auto Appraisal Group's Larry Batton.

10. Cadillac SRX V8

MSRP: $43,870
Residual Value After Five Years: 27 percent*

A "Poor" reliability rating from Consumer Reports sheds a negative light on this midsize SUV. In this extremely crowded and competitive segment, that can really hurt a vehicle's success.

The current-generation SRX is nearing the end of its life cycle and soon will be replaced by an all-new version. Despite Consumer Reports' poor reliability rating, we think the SRX's sporty performance and versatility are appealing.

The 10 Least Expensive Vehicles to Own (1st - 5th)


1. Toyota Yaris

Average starting MSRP: $12,625
Five-year cost of ownership: $31,785

You can buy a stripped-down Chevrolet Aveo, Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio for less than the $11,150 starting price of Toyota's tiny Yaris. And the ultra-low-priced Aveo even depreciates less, claiming an average of $8,008 over five years. But the five-year projected cumulative cost of owning and operating a Yaris easily beats its rivals because the subcompact commands so much less in maintenance and repairs. With a parsimonious EPA fuel-economy rating of 34 mpg city/40 mpg highway with a manual transmission, the Yaris also requires noticeably less gas money.

Average starting MSRP: $12,625
Five-year cost of ownership: $31,785

Depreciation: $8,781 (69 percent)
Interest and opportunity cost: $5,651
Fuel: $6,804
Maintenance and repairs: $2,844
Insurance: $6,684
Taxes and fees: $1,021

2. Honda Fit

Average starting MSRP: $14,910
Five-year cost of ownership: $32,547

Consistent with Honda's reputation for unflagging quality, the Fit costs the least to maintain and repair among these 10 cars with the lowest ownership costs. However, Honda prices the feature-laden Fit somewhat higher than some of its rivals. The base model, at $13,850 before extras, is $2,700 more than the Average starting MSRP of the Toyota Yaris. Add some performance accessories and an automatic transmission, and the Fit Sport starts at nearly $16,000. With a higher sticker price, the Fit claims more depreciation dollars, more interest and opportunity expenses, and higher taxes and fees.

Average starting MSRP: $14,910
Five-year cost of ownership: $32,547

Depreciation: $8,969 (60 percent)
Interest and opportunity cost: $6,152
Fuel: $7,167
Maintenance and repairs: $2,227
Insurance: $6,869
Taxes and fees: $1,163

3. Toyota Corolla

Average starting MSRP: $15,449
Five-year cost of ownership: $33,053

The fabled Toyota Corolla, introduced in America 39 years ago, remains one of the best car values around. Although its MSRP is relatively high — averaging $15,449 for the six versions Toyota offers — Corolla's high resale value (read: low deprecation rate) helps hold down total ownership costs. The dependable Corolla also repays its owners with low maintenance and repair costs. Its fuel economy is also better than some smaller cars. Wagon derivatives of the sedan, called the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe, cost a bit more than the Corolla, but they also make this least expensive to own list.

Average starting MSRP: $15,449
Five-year cost of ownership: $33,053

Depreciation: $8,855 (57 percent)
Interest and opportunity cost: $6,132
Fuel: $7,197
Maintenance and repairs: $2,424
Insurance: $7,315
Taxes and fees: $1,130

4. Nissan Versa

Average starting MSRP: $13,950
Five-year cost of ownership: $33,275

The versatile Versa is one of a trio of small, thrifty runabouts recently introduced by Japan's three big car companies. And like the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit, it ranks in the top half of the 10 cars with lowest ownership costs. But with enough interior space to win a midsize classification in the EPA Fuel Economy Guide, the Versa is the roomiest of the three. In fact, among these 10 lowest-cost cars, only the Matrix and Vibe — listed as small station wagons in EPA's guide — provide a larger cabin.

Average starting MSRP: $13,950
Five-year cost of ownership: $33,275

Depreciation: $8,659 (62 percent)
Interest and opportunity cost: $6,190
Fuel: $7,802
Maintenance and repairs: $2,676
Insurance: $6,830
Taxes and fees: $1,118

5. Chevrolet Aveo

Average starting MSRP: $11,844
Five-year cost of ownership: $34,048

Chevrolet's Aveo has low overall ownership costs simply because its purchase price is low. Sold in hatchback (called the Aveo5) and sedan configurations, the model has the lowest average sticker price among the 10 least expensive to own autos. In fact, at $9,995, the base Aveo5 has the lowest MSRP in America. A low purchase price holds down depreciation and minimizes interest and opportunity costs. But the Aveo stumbles at the pumps and in the shop, earning the highest five-year fuel, maintenance and repair expenses of the group.

Average starting MSRP: $11,844
Five-year cost of ownership: $34,048

Depreciation: $8,008 (68 percent)
Interest and opportunity cost: $5,754
Fuel: $8,199
Maintenance and repairs: $4,115
Insurance: $7,040
Taxes and fees: $932