The new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe has not even made it to New Zealand yet and already German tuning house AC Schnitzer has given it a makeover, boosting power in the 640i petrol engine by 30kW and 35kW in the turbo-diesel 640d. The cars ride on Schnitzer's own spring kit and wheels with extra bits like skirting and exhaust tips. Eight-piston calipers up front will provide plenty of stopping power.

Dodgy British drivers duck out on fees
Drivers in Britain owe NZ$330 million in congestion charge fees, according to Transport for London. It says a "significant" amount of the owed money can be chalked up to diplomatic missions that refuse to pay up. Authorities in Britain have begun pursuing offending countries through the International Court of Justice. Then there are the private individuals who continue to hold out. Transport for London has sent out around 200,000 letters over the past three years warning delinquent drivers of the legal ramifications they could face for refusing to pay. The organisation has the power to send bailiffs to collect the funds.

Bond foregoes the Aston Martin for a spin on two wheels
James Bond doesn't often throw a leg over a motorcycle. But in the new 007 movie Skyfall he gets on two wheels. The producers have partnered with Honda and its CRF250R bikes, dressed up to look like local Turkish bikes. Former Bond bikes, the Honda Police and Street Merchant, are on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England as part of an exhibit of 50 years of James Bond's various rides.

Sleeker Spyder bares its fangs
Porsche might have something special planned for the forthcoming 918 Spyder: a Race Track package that strips unnecessary amenities in exchange for a lighter finished product.


It has been suggested that the pack may even do away with paint in an effort to trim the hybrid supercar's kerb weight by 30kg, and that up to 20 per cent of buyers may opt for the purist version.

The 918 Spyder will weigh in at about 1700kg and debut with a 4.6-litre V8 paired with two electric motors, good for around 570kW.

Nurburgring faces uncertain future
Germany's famous Nurburgring race circuit is officially broke, say reports in Europe. The only chance the owners of the 'Ring have to fend off bankruptcy is if the track gets a NZ$20 million injection. Neither the German State nor Federal governments are prepared to help, which could mean that the Nurburgring will go into administration and its future will be decided in court. Also up for debate, say reports, will be the legality of NZ$850m worth of funding that the state has already pumped into the track, creating an amusement park, hotels and a shopping mall that make up the local attraction.

Facebook fans configure special Aston
Aston Martin has racked up one million fans on Facebook, and the company has marked the occasion by building a DB9 configured by the masses. Every last option on the coupe was picked by the company's fans, including the interior options and the vinyl wrap outside. There's no word on what the carmaker will do with the DB9 1M. Aston isn't the only carmaker to crank out a special model for its Facebook fans. Nissan recently let the social network's members choose which modifications to use on a special tuner version of the 370Z, and Porsche has created unique Cayman and 911 models.

We are the world
* Kalvin Hulvey, 35, was charged with attempted car theft in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after jumping into Jeremy Penny's van and fleeing. Penny and his dad jumped into a pick-up truck and chased and caught Hulvey. When police arrived, Hulvey had been roped and hog-tied to a fence. Father and son were both rodeo riders. Said Penny jnr: "Lately, I've been having bad luck keeping calves tied (in rodeos), so Dad did the tying up."

* Oklahoma senator Ralph Shortey was one of the supporters of a state bill that makes it legal to carry guns openly. He told a committee hearing that a past incident convinced him of the need. "I was in oil and gas. I was out on a lease at one time, and I got attacked by a turkey. Wait until you get attacked by a turkey."

* Researchers at a Tokyo university have developed goggles that can enlarge the image of a bite of food so that the eater might think they have eaten more than they actually have. The software is so sophisticated, they said, that forks/chopsticks appear normal size. In tests, a 50 per cent increase in the imagined size of a biscuit reduced actual consumption by 9 per cent.