Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mercedes-Benz GT5 Signature Edition Challenge

Mercedes-Benz is pulling Gran Turismo gurus out of the living room and onto the race track.

Owners of the $300 Gran Turismo 5 Signature Edition were able to register and play in a special B-spec mode where they acted as team directors for different series of 5-lap circuit races. What made the Signature Edition a true standout, however, is that those gamers were actually playing for a chance to transfer their driving skills into a high-stakes racing battle to win one of the crown-jewels of the Mercedes-Benz collection.

Gran Turismo 5 has compiled the top 15 regional competitors from across 22 countries who have proven their mettle, to put the pedal down on a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in a real-life race. The SLS, worth $200,000, will be awarded to the driver who gains the most points during a series of driving challenges at the event.

The competition will take place July 11-12 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, but while waiting for the results, you can check out the Mercedes-Benz GT5 Challenge Facebook app that allows you to check out the competitor bios and 'Like' your favorites.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="520" caption="15 competitors from 22 countries, all racing to win ONE Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG."]Mercedes-Benz GT5 Challenge[/caption]


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jeep Survivor Concept

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="581" caption="The recently released Jeep Survivor Concept is an aggressive, yet attractive take on classic off-road vehicle design."][/caption]

If this Jeep looks like it would be more at home on the set of "Jurassic Park" than in your garage, well, we wouldn't exactly blame you.

This Jeep is an off-road vehicle concept designed by Max Ostap for the Art Center College of Design.

This Survivor Concept most closely recalls the Jeep Bantam from World War II, but if we're being honest with ourselves, this Jeep concept is in a league all its own - a crucial marker for originality in the sometimes over-saturated world of automotive concepts.

The concept has a level of masculine ruggedness blended with a futuristic style that lends a certain classic beauty to this off-road vehicle. The Survivor's notable features include an integrated roof mounted spare, front bull bar and a pickup-like rear tray.

What do you think of the Jeep Survivor Concept? Is it too beautiful to be rugged? Too futuristic to be beautiful? Would you use this as an off-road vehicle?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Sketches of the Jeep Survivor Concept by Max Ostap for the Art Center College of Design."][/caption]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Volvo Develops Animal Detection Safety System

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="518" caption="The Volvo Animal Detection System will focus on bigger animals such as deer and moose."][/caption]

By 2020, Volvo wants you to live in a world where no car accidents happen.

Volvo has made progess toward achieving this lofty goal with the Volvo Pedestrian Detection and Full Auto Brake Systems that use radar technology. Now Volvo is taking the next natural step with the development of their animal detection system that utilizes similar radar-based science.

The animal detection technology uses radar to recognize animals and slows down the vehicle. This is made possible through the use of a special camera and infra-red monitoring system that are different from the previous technology used in the Volvo Pedestrian Detection System.

The project focuses on larger woodland animals such as deer, moose and reindeer. For Volvo the main challenge is programming the technology to recognize different animals and the way they act in their natural habitat. To alleviate this obstacle, the developers have been recording videos of the different animals in a safari park, hoping to capture their various behavioral patterns.

It will be a few more years before the animal detection system will be available in Volvo models, but like every other big vehicle-safety breakthrough, it'll be worth the wait.

Watch this video to see how Volvo engineers are designing the animal detection system:

More from GRAutoBlog on Volvo's technological efforts:
Cutting the Cord: Wireless Charging Brought to You by Volvo
Volvo Creating Car-Tailing Driverless Technology

Eco-Friendly News From Volvo

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Introducing the 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="574" caption="The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is the third generation of Mercedes-Benz SUVs."][/caption]

Mercedes-Benz is set to launch their M-Class in the United States this fall. The M-Class's fuel-efficiency is the biggest buzz surrounding the launch. The models will have an average of 25% less fuel-consumption across the range.


Mercedes-Benz M-Class at a glance:


  • 2.1-liter diesel

  • 4 cylinder

  • 204 horsepower

  • 369 torque

ML350 Bluetec:

  • 3.0-liter diesel V6

  • 258 horsepower

  • 475 torque

ML350 BlueEfficiency:

  • 3.5-liter V6

  • 306 horsepower

  • 273 torque

High-tech features:

  • Intelligent Light System

  • Night View Assist Plus with automatic person recognition

  • Speed Limit Assist

  • Lane Keeping Assist

  • Blind Spot Assist

  • Distronic Plus - adaptive cruise control

  • Active Park Assist

  • Reverse Camera

  • Autonomous braking

  • COMAND infotainment system with Internet access

More from GRAutoBlog on Mercedes-Benz:
"60 Years of Unimog" Mercedes-Benz Concept
Mercedes-Benz, Lego Celebrate 60 Years of Unimog
Taking Luxury to New Heights: Mercedes-Benz Helicopter
New Musical Homage to Mercedes-Benz Brand

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mopar's MoVenture: Race Across America

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="563" caption="Mopar's MoVenture is not your average road-trip. It involves challenges, social media interaction and all the latest models Chrysler has to offer!"][/caption]

20 lucky Mopar fans will soon embark on an epic seven day journey that is part road rally, part scavenger hunt - all Mopar-approved!

Travelling 1,900 miles from Detroit, Michigan to Golden, Colorado, 10 teams of 2 will use a blend of road warrior strategy and social media savvy to compete for $5,000 worth of Mopar parts and accessories.

Provided with a diverse mix of 2011 and 2012 Chrysler models, the contestants will travel through a wide variety of different terrains - all the better to show off the versatility of the brands that are involved: Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep and FIAT.

The Mopar diehards will average 5 hours of driving per day stopping for challenges in several cities along the way. To build anticipation for the event, Mopar is being secretive concerning the challenge details but the company promises adventures ranging from cow-roping to an accessory hide-and-seek. The event will wrap up at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

What makes this event particulary interesting is the high level of engagement the competitors will have with social networking sites. Teams will earn extra points by sharing their adventurous content on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, which makes this event that much more exciting for the Mopar enthusiasts, like us, who are relegated to the sidelines.

Follow the Mopar MoVenture as it happens in real time, July 15-22: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chrysler Announces SRT Brand Revival

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="625" caption="The Dodge Challenger SRT8 is currently the only SRT available by Chrysler."][/caption]

Chrysler has just moved into the fast lane with the announcement of the rejuvenation of their Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand.

Until now, the SRT portion of the Chrysler brand has been essentially an internal engineering program. It was originally launched in 2002 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) as a new line for producing "industry-leading performance vehicles and parts."

Now Chrysler is ready to re-imagine its SRT division as its own separate brand and they have handed the reins over to Ralph Gilles. The title of president and CEO of Chrysler's SRT brand will be added to his other labels: president and CEO of Dodge and senior vice president of product design for Chrysler.

The SRT brand will focus on low-volume, high-performance vehicles. Currently the only SRT available is the Dodge Challenger SRT8, but Chrysler fans will not have too long to wait for new models. Beginning this fall, 2012 SRT models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, Chrysler 300 SRT8 and the Dodge Charger SRT8 will all be released.

What do you think of Chrysler's new focus on a SRT brand? Which new SRT model are you looking forward to the most?

World's Highest Mileage Car : Volvo P1800

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="This is Irv's Volvo P1800, the world's highest mileage car that has driven over 2.9 million miles!"][/caption]

On Tuesday, the World's Highest Mileage Car visited Betten Imports! Irv Gordon, the owner of the famous Volvo P1800 let us capture the moment.

Back in 1966, the Volvo P1800 cost just $4,150. Irv says it was the best $4,150 he has ever spent and somehow we believe him since he's racked up over 2.9 million miles in his trusty Volvo. Since retiring in 1996, Irv has driven more than 100,000 miles per year!

Throughout its travels, this Volvo has been filled up with 8,600 tanks of gas; the 1966 Volvo P1800 gets 25 miles per gallon. 2.9 million miles also means this Volvo has received over 734 oil changes. Irv recommends changing your oil every 3,500 miles. The Volvo has received 104 tune-ups, which amounts to one every 25,000 miles. Read the captions below for more interesting facts on this Volvo's history.

To view more photographs you can visit the Betten Imports Facebook or Flickr.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="It still has its original engine, although the top portion of the engine was rebuilt after 675,000 miles."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Throughout its lifetime, this Volvo has had only 1 new starter, 3 new oil coolers and 2 ignition keys."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="This Volvo has traveled almost 104 times around the world."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="2.9 million miles adds up to nearly six round-trips to the moon!"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Its mileage is also equivalent to 82,934 swims across the English Channel."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="This P1800 has traveled the same amount of miles as more than 118 Great Races (New York to Paris)."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="After 45 years, Irv's trusty Volvo has had zero false starts!"][/caption]

More from GRAutoBlog on the Volvo P1800:
Volvo P1800 Celebrates 50th Birthday

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"60 Years of Unimog" Mercedes-Benz Concept

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="576" caption="Through its 60 years of existence, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog has been a true multi-purpose vehicle, being used for everything from snowplowing and fire-fighting to military missions and safari expeditions."][/caption]

Leave it up to Mercedes-Benz to re-visit a vehicle that was originally intended for agriculture and design a completely avant-garde, and dare we say it, beautiful vehicle that maintains its trademark level of all-purpose functionality. Mercedes-Benz says the concept, simply dubbed "60 Years of Unimog," will set the future tone of the automaker's design and development of commercial vehicles.

The concept was the combined brainchild of the Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks Unit (MBS) and an outside design team. The concept takes elements from the modern Unimog U 5000 chassis while maintaining style solidarity with the original Unimog.

The design evokes a certain amphibious quality, because the designers drew inspiration from none other than the poison dart frog. Like the frog, Unimogs can easily travel through land and water. Furthermore, the re-imagined Unimog shares the bright green of both a frog and its predecessor, the original 1951 Unimog.

The design elements of note are the open cabin, stage-show headlights, billet aluminum frame, red coil springs and its flashy five-star rimmed wheels. Mercedes-Benz insists that the concept is consistent with the multi-purpose characteristics of the original models despite its somewhat unconventional design traits. What do you think of the latest Unimog concept?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="574" caption="The Unimog's high ground clearance and flexible frame made it the perfect vehicle for use in agriculture."][/caption]

More from GRAutoBlog on "60 Years of Unimog"
Mercedes-Benz, Lego Celebrate 60 Years of Unimog

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jeep Celebrates 70 Years, Puts You in the Driver's Seat

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="544" caption="The Jeep test drive event is just one of the many celebrations that Jeep is offering to celebrate 70 years of the popular brand."][/caption]

As part of the ongoing celebration of Jeep's 70th anniversary, the beloved Chrysler brand is bringing Jeep to the masses with a mall test drive event.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Chrysler previously ran this promotion with their main Chrysler models.

This time around, the entire 2011 Jeep lineup will be available for test-drives, something that will be appreciated by loyal Jeep fans and curious crowds alike.

For Jeep loyalists, this promotion will serve as a true celebration of the brand and give them a rare chance to drive some of Jeep's iconic models.

For everyone else, the test drive event represents an opportunity to get a taste for what driving a Jeep is all about: After all, "It's a Jeep Thing." Product specialists will be on hand to answer questions, albeit in a no-pressure environment.

Jeeps available for test drives include:

The Jeep test drive event will begin this month and continue through October. All test drive participants will be given a $15 mall gift card, not to mention possibly a new appreciation for what the Jeep brand has to offer.

Dates and locations for Jeep test drive event

More from GRAutoBlog on Jeep's 70th Anniversary:
Jeep's 70th Anniversary Revs Up Chrysler Museum

Mercedes-Benz, Lego Celebrate 60 Years of Unimog

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="538" caption="The Mercedes-Benz Unimog, originally intended for use in agriculture, is often utilized in eco-tourism transport and safaris."][/caption]

Lego is releasing its most ambitious scale model ever, and naturally it's associated with the "Best or Nothing" automaker: Mercedes-Benz.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 'do it all' Unimog truck by Mercedes-Benz, Lego has created a 1:12:5 model that is a hybrid of highly accurate details and fun functioning features.

With 2,048 parts, this scale model is maybe not for the casual Lego fan, but the resulting mini-Mercedes is worth the hard work. The Lego Unimog U 400 has its very own functioning miniature suspension, rotating gripper arm and an engine with moving pistons. The truck's best feature is arguably its pneumatically operated crane that can move any pesky pebbles lying in your path.

The models will be available for purchase in toy stores and Mercedes-Benz dealers as early as this August.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="561" caption="Unimogs compete in truck trials and Dakar Rally competitions, but are usually put to more practical use as snowplows and construction equipment."][/caption]

Would you take on 2,048 Lego parts to build this impressive mini Mercedes-Benz?

More from GRAutoBlog on "60 Years of Unimog"
"60 Years of Unimog" Mercedes-Benz Concept

Mopar Introduces Ram Runner Off-Road Kit

Think off-roading is just for the Jeep crowd? Think again. Mopar has introduced a Ram Runner kit that can turn your truck into a full-throttle off-roading machine!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="581" caption="The Mopar Ram Runner kit is one of the concepts from the 2011 Moab Safari Event that has turned into a reality."][/caption]

Say goodbye to the road and hello to the sand dunes with this land-hungry conversion that was designed in part by Baja off-road racer Kent Kroeker.

The kit is all street-legal and each element can be bought separately, making it an extremely convenient conversion project.

The Ram Runner kit includes:

  • Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit

  • Off-Road front bumper

  • Off-Road front and rear fenders

  • Off-Road rear-tire carrier

  • Sport performance hood

  • Cat-back exhaust

For further kit details, visit Mopar.com.

See the Ram Runner in action.