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 auto shows to visit and racing action you may want to tune into during your weekend.
The saga is finally over. A Porsche 911 Carrera S has beaten a Mini Cooper S — but not as originally planned. After Porsche refused Mini’s challenge to race at Road Atlanta, and Korean competitor Hyundai briefly stepped in with a Genesis Coupe, Mini bought a Carrera for the matchup. The end result? The Carrera beat the Cooper by nearly 2 seconds on a tighter, twistier track designed by Mini for the event. It was a clever marketing stunt, but in the end, Mini lost at its own game.
Toyota test driver Hiromu Naruse was tragically killed outside the Nürburgring circuit when his Lexus LFA prototype crashed into a BMW. Naruse was credited as one of the LFA’s strongest supporters, and had worked with Toyota since 1963.
Ford, confident in the 2011 Mustang’s new 3.7-liter V-6 engine, set a challenge to squeeze over 500 miles out of one tank of fuel running laps at Bristol Motor Speedway. The catch? The Mustang’s EPA ratings estimated the tank would run dry somewhere around 496. The Mustang, however, beat estimates and ran for just over 776 miles on the .533-mile track, recording 48.5 overall mpg.
German automakers are ramping up production of luxury cars to meet a stronger worldwide demand, as we reported earlier, and BMW announced two notable sales highlights this week. First, the entire limited run of 2011 Frozen Gray M3s sold out in under a mere 12 minutes. Second, BMW announced that it has sold out of 2011 5 Series models due to high demand, with orders backed up nearly four months. Luckily, you can follow updates of Automobile Magazine‘s Four Seasons 535i while you wait for yours.
A teased picture led us to believe that Porsche may be developing a two-door variant of its popular Panamera. If the coupe enters production, it might use the 928 name, signaling a revival of the coupe out of production since 1995. A rumor that Bentley may be developing a four-door hatchback confirms the Panamera’s success, in addition to its sales numbers.
What’s your flavor — Corvette or Thunderbird? If you’re a fan of classic convertibles, this weekend’s Corvette gathering, and the Dearborn, Mich., congregation of Thunderbirds, are sure bets for enthusiasts. Check out each show’s individual coverage for details on times and locations.
If you’d rather get your fill of all things automotive from an air-conditioned living room, we don’t blame you. This weekend, the Speed Channel is broadcasting Nascar qualifying races and sprint car practice (Saturday), and Formula One qualifying races for early birds (Sunday).
Stay with Automobilemag.com next week for more features, rumors, and news as it breaks.