The hot hatchback market is getting hotter. A new five-door based on the A-Class Mercedes-Benz has been spied testing in Germany - wearing a go-faster AMG badge. Spy agency Automedia says the car's turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 238kW, or 320bhp. That's about 43 more kilowatts than the upcoming seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTi, expected to be unveiled at the Paris motor show in September. Reports in Europe say the Golf's 2-litre turbocharged engine will make 195kW, around 40kW more than the current hot hatch. The GTi will use aluminum in the floor pan and roof to shed some weight. The lighter material will also go into the top-range all-wheel-drive Golf R.

We are the world
Icelandic Member of Parliament Arni Johnsen told the daily Morgunbladid newspaper that the reason he wasn't injured in a car wreck in 2010 was because the family of elves who live in a boulder near the crash site protected him. An "elf specialist" supported Johnsen, saying there were in fact "three generations" of elves in the boulder - grandparents on the upper floor and son and daughter-in-law with three children on the lower floor. Johnsen has had the 30-tonne boulder moved to his own property, where it sits on a tilt to afford the elves a better view. The grandparents were especially pleased - the tilt helps them sleep better, they told the specialist. The elves are called "Fylgjur", ancient Icelandic guardian spirits.

Cops in New Haven, Connecticut, have been competing against each other to see who can issue the most traffic tickets. An internal memo signed by a police chief and obtained by a TV station refers to the need "to issue at least 60 infractions/misdemeanors each shift". It goes on: "One day Troop F issued 301 tickets. Troop G responded by issuing 345 ... We can do better. I am asking that everyone, myself included, contribute to this effort." A footnote says: "If we happen to issue 350 tickets in one day that would be stellar." The Connecticut state police chief denied that quotas are part of police practice.

Florida woman Maureen Raymond, 49, has complained to authorities about her "unfair" drink-drive test. She said she told the policeman who pulled her over that she couldn't walk the straight line sobriety test because her "big boobies make balancing difficult". The cop said that Raymond offered to show him the evidence but that he stopped her.


A kick from a horse generates huge force, say those who measure such things. So does the driver of a Ferrari 458 Italia who came upon horses and riders in congested Beijing traffic. He impatiently blew his horn, spooking one horse into kicking out at the Italian supercar. The Ferrari took the wallop without suffering too much damage, although the driver had a few choice words. It's all on YouTube.

BMW stakes their name in name game
BMW has reportedly trademarked a number of new vehicle names, including 2Series, X2, M7 and M10 among others. But just because a carmaker lays claim to a name doesn't mean there's a production model around the bend. But the monikers at least show what's being thrown around conference tables in Munich. While names like 2 Series, X2 and M7 are no real shock, given recent rumours, an M10 sounds interesting. BMW has also planted its flag on awkward names like Compactive, Compactive Tourer and Urbanic. All of those badges could conceivably find a home on the new line of front-wheel drive BMW models. Check out the full list of trademarked names at

Ferrari goes golfing with Cobra
Ferrari has teamed up with Cobra to add its prancing horse logo to a line of golfing equipment including bags, shoes and a Ferrari-red driver. The bag and shoes are handmade in Italy from the same leather used in Ferrari interiors. There are also shirts, pants, and a leather jacket. The Ferrari driver is a work of art, says Cobra's development head Tom Preece. "We worked with Ferrari engineers to create a truly impressive driver that reduces drag and delivers fast club head speed,'' he said.

Romney has plans for Govt's GM stock
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney reckons President Obama is holding on to the Government's stake in General Motors to avoid an embarrassing financial loss before the November election. Romney says he'd sell the stock quickly if he wins the White House and review pending rules that will require carmakers to almost double fuel efficiency requirements by 2025. As part of the Government's GM bailout, the US Treasury still holds a 26 per cent stake in the Detroit carmaker. At GM's current stock price, the Government would lose about US$16 billion by selling its 500 million shares.

Meanwhile, GM president Mark Reuss has ended the longstanding practice of each GM fiefdom having its own internal goals. All of GM's 29,000 salaried North American employees will be covered by the new policy, which rewards employees with year-end bonuses only if goals for quality and customer retention are met.