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New Lamborghini yours for just $33,000

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Put mildly, the Lamborghini Veneno, unveiled at last week's Geneva Motor Show, is an absurd dream. Considering its $4.7-million price tag, three-vehicle production run and performance specifications similar to the Aventador, it's also unreasonably expensive.

Fear not, however, as Lamborghini has released another model to commemorate its 50th anniversary. It's lightweight, quick and as affordable as a Volkswagen GTI. The only caveat is that it has two wheels.

Known as the Impec, the lightweight bicycle is a collaboration between Lamborghini and Swiss bicycle manufacturer BMC Switzerland. Following the success of the previous Lamborghini-based Impec, this year's model aims to blend Italian craftsmanship with modern technology, according to BMC.

Hence, the carbon-fibre body used on the Impec is manufactured using the same methods as Lamborghini. In addition, the Impec's handlebars and seat are wrapped in the same leather used inside the Aventador.

This year's Lamborghini-and-BMC Impec production run has been bumped up to 50 bicycles, and each rings in around 25,000 euros, or $33,000 -- a fraction of the price of the Veneno, easy to exercise with and less rare to boot.

Mazda RX-7 successor to be RX-9?

Like the Toyota Supra and Honda NSX, the Mazda RX-7 was one of the greatest Japanese sports of the 1990s. And a new report from Autocar says Mazda hasn't given up on the idea of a follow-up to the RX-7, last seen in 2002.

Unlike the four-seat RX-8, which was put to rest last year, the new Mazda sports car -- which may be called the RX-9 -- would only have seats for two, and have its engine up front with power being sent to the rear wheels only.

Oh, and that engine will definitely be a Wankel-type rotary.

"The rotary is clearly part of Mazda's soul," says Jeff Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Europe.

Volt named top-selling EV

In a global automotive market that saw more than 60 million vehicles sold in 2012, electric vehicles remain a relatively niche market.

Regardless, with 30,090 cars sold in 2012, General Motors' Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampere twins beat out the Toyota Prius plug-in (27,181) and Nissan Leaf (25,435) -- the top-selling EV in 2011 -- according to a Bloomberg report.

The report says global sales of pure electric and plug-in vehicles are expected to grow by 89 per cent in 2013 to 225,000 units worldwide. However, that's about one-third the number automakers had projected.

Is Kia GT heading to production?

With the new Rondo and Forte compacts arriving this year, Korea's Kia is closing in on what was a five-year plan to refurbish its entire lineup.

Next up are some fun cars. And a report from Autocar says the automaker is nearing a decision to send into production either its full-sized GT sedan concept, the compact Provo concept unveiled at last week's Geneva Motor Show, or both.

"We now have (Kia's design chief) Peter Schreyer looking at a halo sports car -- he's keen on a GT," Kia Europe's chief operating officer Michael Cole says.

The Kia GT concept was first seen at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show.

If it does get the nod to be produced, speculation sees the large sedan using the rear-wheel-drive platform of the forthcoming Kia Quoris four-door.

Audi A4 diesel to be offered here

For the first time in North America, when the next generation of Audi's A4 arrives in 2014, expect the availability of a diesel power plant. That's according to a report from Automotive News.

Along with the regular gas engine offerings, a 2.0-litre TDI engine will be on the A4's menu, Audi of America president Scott Keogh says.

The German automaker currently offers diesel engines in its compact A3 Sportback and Q7 full-sized crossover. Last fall, Audi announced that a 3.0L diesel would become available in the mid-size A6 and A7 and full-sized A8 sedans starting this spring.

BMW 1-Series M successor secured

For those who missed out on the 2011 M version of BMW's compact 1-Series coupe, a report from BMWBlog says the German automaker is working on a follow-up.

Only about 200 of the 335-horsepower rear-wheel-drive 1-Series M Coupe were sold in Canada in 2011, leaving the 300-hp 135i as the top-rung model.

In Europe, BMW offers the M135i as part of BMW's new M Performance sub-brand. But the M brand's CEO, Friedrich Nitschke, says that model is "not a pure M car".

With a new 1-Series (possibly renamed 2-Series) expected within the next 12 months, Nitschke says, "We haven't made a decision yet, but the 1 M coupe was so successful that in my opinion I am absolutely sure we will build a successor."

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2013 E8

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