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2013 MERCEDES BENZ SL

December 31, 2011
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Mercedes-Benz’s next SL update continues a model run that started in 1954. The first generation of the SL included the 300SL Gullwing, one of the most collectible Mercedes-Benz cars. For 2013 the sleek curves of the past have been replaced with boxier, more aggressive lines and a longer overall profile. While the basic concept of the SL will remain unchanged, there will be a lot of updates under the skin. Most important, the awesome 6.0-liter and a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-12 engines will get the bullet, and the naturally aspirated, 6.2-liter AMG V-8 will be gone as well.

The AMG version of the next SL will instead be powered by a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 which will likely produce 563 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, says Henner Lehne, analyst at CSM Worldwide in Frankfurt, Germany. Lehne expects Mercedes Benz to downsize the engine portfolio, with the three non AMG versions that will be powered by V-6 engines. Two naturally aspirated engines will make 241 hp and 311 hp, while a turbocharged V-6 is expected to turn out 382 hp—as much as the current SL550’s 5.5-liter V-8. Mercedes is working on engine stop/start systems as well, but a full hybrid is far off, if it comes at all. Under the skin, the next SL will share many components with the E-class; outside, the look will remain similar to the current model. For a while, Mercedes-Benz toyed with the idea of returning to a conventional softtop, somewhat more appropriate for a vehicle that is rarely used as a year-round daily driver outside of temperate climes. But in the end, Mercedes decided to keep the retractable hardtop, which has become somewhat of an SL trademark.


2012 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT V8

December 31, 2011
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The Bentley Continental GT and GTC V8 has been introduced and as a kinder, gentler bulldog that makes do with “just” 500 horsepower and 487 ft-lb from its 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8. That is down 20 horsepower and up just 8 ft-lb from the output of the Audi S8, with which it shares the innovatively-packaged, cylinder-deactivating V8. I’m gonna guess that’s to leave unquestionable space between it and the W12 631-hp Continental GT, and so Bentley could reach its 40 percent improvement goal with respect to emissions and gas mileage. Full and official figures will be released in early 2012.

This new Bentley V8 engine delivers maximum power of 500bhp at 6000 rev/min and an extraordinary peak torque of 487 ft-lbs which is available across virtually the entire rev range from 1700 to 5000 rpm, providing effortless power delivery in the Bentley tradition. Combined with a new close-ratio 8-speed automatic transmission, this translates into a less than 5 second acceleration time for the 0-60 mph sprint and a top speed of over 180mph. The new V8 engine features variable displacement with a sophisticated engine management system, ensuring a seamless and imperceptible transition from V8 to V4 mode under light throttle load. The high-technology V8 also features high pressure direct injection, low friction bearings, thermal management, energy recuperation via the charging system, and innovative turbo charger packaging for greater efficiency.

The new V8 engine will be available in two models; the Continental GT and the Continental GTC. These models are distinguished by a black gloss matrix grille with chrome frame and centre bar, a red enamel Bentley ‘B’ badge, and a black matrix three-segment lower front bumper divided by distinctive body-colored strakes. At the rear, chromed figure eight exhaust tailpipes, a dark lower valance and red enamel ‘B’ trunk lid badge emphasise the sporty, contemporary identity of the new V8s. Both models are specified with 20-inch wheels as standard with an optional 21-inch six-spoke design which is available in dramatic Diamond Black (exclusive to the Continental V8) or Diamond Silver finishes.

Inside the cabin, an Eliade cloth headlining, new contemporary “Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus” veneers, optional two-tone leather colour split and short centre console continue the new, sporting design theme. Both new models feature an , all-wheel drive system employing an advanced Torsen differential and a 40:60 rear biased power split. Since the launch of the original GT in 2003, the W12-engined Continental range has been continually evolving with over 50,000 sales worldwide, making Bentley’s factory in Crewe, England, the largest producer of 12 cylinder engines in the world. The W12 remains Bentley’s the ultimate expression of it’s engineering strength.

Commenting on the launch of the new V8 Continental models, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors said: “With the new 4.0 litre V8 engine we are widening the appeal of the latest generation of Continentals, introducing a completely new driving experience. The new engine will have all the exhilarating power, drama and performance you would expect from a V8 engine sporting the famous Bentley wings, effortlessly delivered with our characteristic ‘wave of torque’. This is complemented by innovative powertrain technology that delivers exceptional fuel efficiency and emissions.”


2013 BMW 6 SERIES GRAN COUPE

December 31, 2011
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As a response to models like Mercedes CLS-Class or Porsche Panamera, BMW has launched the 6-Series Gran Coupe. A production version of the Grand Coupe Concept unveiled at the beginning of 2010.

The first model to be offered on the US market is the 640i. It is powered by a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine equipped with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine delivers a total of 315 HP at 5,800 to 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 330 lb-ft between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm. The 640i can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy has been announced at 30.1 mpg.

Starting late in the summer of 2012 BMW will also be offering a 650i model equipped with 4.4-liter V-8 engine that next to the TwinTurbo technology will also be equipped with BMW’s VALVETRONIC variable valve timing. The V8delivers a total of 445 HP between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm and makes peak torque of 480 lb-ft between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm. This version will sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, while top speed is again limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy has been announced at 26.7-27.3 mpg. The 650i can also be combined with xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system that increases the 0 to 60 mph sprint time at 4.5 seconds. But no matter what engine you will opt for, your car will be equipped with a standard 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission combined with BMW EfficientDynamics, Brake Energy Regeneration, engine Auto Start-Stop, on-demand operation of ancillary components, intelligent lightweight construction and extensive aerodynamic refinement.

After making its official debut on 12/11/2011, BMW is now offering an online configurator for the new 6-Series Gran Coupe. This will give you the chance to play a bit with the car’s exterior colors, list of wheels, interior colors, but also to add the options from the M-Sport package.

 

 


2013 HENNESSEY VENOM GT

December 31, 2011
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The brutally powerful and beautiful Hennessey Venom GT became a successful model in a very short time and Hennessey is hoping to repeat that success with an open top version of the same sports car. The new Hennessey Venom GT Spyder will be offered with a removable top and will only be produced in a limited run of five units, two of which have already been spoken for. Deliveries will begin in Summer 2012 and prices will start from $1.1 million, about $150,000 more than the Coupe’s top version.

The Venom GT Spyder will be powered by the same Chevy V8 engine found in the Coupe with an output of 1,200 HP at 6,500 rpm and 1,155 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. Because of the chassis reinforcement required and subsequent added weight from the removable roof, performance numbers should be a tad bit slower than the Coupe, which sprints from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds and to 200 mph in 15.9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 275 mph. The engine will more than likely send its power to the rear wheels via a Ricardo 6-speed gearbox and handling will be facilitated by a KW variant three-adjustable coilover suspension.

The Venom GT Spyder will start off with the Lotus Elise base and will follow along the same extreme design lines as its Coupe sibling. I imagine it will also feature the same active aero system with adjustable rear wing that will deploy under varying conditions on both the road and racetrack. “With the hardtop in place, the Venom GT offers a very visceral, raw, driving experience,” said Hennessey CEO, Don Goldman. “With the hardtop removed, the wind and the growl of the twin turbo V8  will offer our clients an even greater driving sensation.” The 1,200 HP will make the Venom GT Spyder the most powerful convertible in the world. Will it also be the fastest? I believe it’s got a shot, but Hennessey will have to keep that 275 mph top speed intact.


2013 SUBARU BRZ

December 30, 2011
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One of many questions has plagued me for as long as I’ve known Subaru. With their championship rally history and their all wheel drive super fast line up, Why hasn’t this company ever made a low-slung, can’t see through traffic, rear wheel drive, drift around the corner, boy racer killing sports car?

I guess they must have questioned it themselves. So they have collaborated with Toyota to bring us the Subaru BRZ, rear wheel drive sports car. Subaru says that the NEW engine in its BRZ, a 2.0-liter flat-four will form the basis of its next turbo motor. For its part, Toyota says that their version of the car to be sold as the Toyota 86 in Japan, as the GT 86 in at least the U.K., and as the Scion FR-S here, makes sense as a first thrust in its plan to again build sporty, fun-to-drive vehicles.

In developing the BRZ, Subaru took an almost maniacal approach to weight and its management, keeping it low and evenly distributed between the car’s axles. The company claims that 54 percent of this car’s mass rides on the front wheels and 46 over the rear, and says that its center of gravity is right around 18 inches high. That latter figure rivals or beats the measurements for the Porsche Cayman and Mazda RX-8, among others.

Powering this sporty ride is the FA flat-four. Compared to the FB four found in other Subies, the FA’s intake is 2.6 inches lower and the oil pan clings closer to the crankcase, allowing it to be mounted with its crankshaft centerline 2.4 inches lower. Amazingly, the engine is mounted 9.4 inches farther back in the chassis than an Impreza’s four. A Subaru spokesman says the two engines share “maybe a few screws,” but are otherwise completely separate pieces. We’re told the weight difference between the two is negligibly in favor of the A. Placing the engine so far rearward of course helps balance the car, but it also precludes Subaru from fitting an all-wheel-drive system. The company says that it has no room for a turbocharger either, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out soon enough.

So ONE of my queries have now been rectified and I expect to see one of these irresponsibly flying in and out of traffic with a douche bag behind the wheel, real soon.

 


2012 AUDI A1 SPORTBACK

December 30, 2011
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Audi’s has given their most compact model a couple of new doors with the unveiling of the A1 Sportback. Hitting international showrooms in early 2012 (no plans for the our side of the pond..yet), the new five-door will be available with six four-cylinder engine models: three TFSI gas-powered options or three TDI diesel configurations both giving a range of power choices from 86 hp to 185 hp. Inside you’ll find the usual Audi accoutrements: Optional MMI, 14 Speaker Bose Sound System, and Audi’s new online service suite which includes navigation powered by Google.


2012 JAGUAR XKR-S CONVERTIBLE

December 30, 2011
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For those who feel the XKR-S Coupe wasn’t enough, Jaguar has just unveiled the drop top version. Fitted with a power-operated folding cloth roof, the two-door takes its passengers from shade to sun in just 18 seconds at the touch of a button and it is the most powerful and fastest open-topped GT Jaguar has ever built. The heart of the XKR-S is its supercharged 5.0-liter V8. This twin-cam, direct injected unit makes 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, performance numbers that surpass even those of Jaguar’s XJ220 supercar from the early 1990s. Remapping the engine’s fueling characteristics and increasing exhaust gas flow through the use of an active exhaust system helped extract the extra horses from the engine. Jaguar retooled the aerodynamics of the convertible to achieve the same performance of its hard-top stablemate: a top speed of 186 mph and a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. There are a host of aggressive functional aerodynamic bits including a carbon fiber front splitter, side sills and a carbon fiber rear valance. Inside, there are 16-way adjustable sport seats trimmed in leather.

The motor hooks up to a quick six-speed, paddle-shift, automatic transmission that offers up smooth, rev-matched downshifts and helps the car achieve 15/22 mpg. Helping to ensure that handling is up to the brutal straight-line quickness is a hardened suspension that features reworked aluminum front suspension knuckles and stiffer coils and shocks. Jaguar hooked up a torque-vectoring rear differential to produce more agile and connected driving dynamics. If your going to go fast, you better stop fast, Jaguar bestowed the XKR-S coupe and convertible with cast iron and part aluminum monobloc calipers along with internally ventilated brake discs that provide repeated, fade-free stopping power.

Each XKR-S Convertible carries a sticker price of $138,875 (including $875 destination), which represents a $6,000 premium over its closed-rood coupe sibling. Limited to just 25 units in the States, all have reportedly been sold in advance of the car’s debut.


2012 CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1

December 19, 2011
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The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is the fastest and most expensive Camaro ever, $54,995. While specifications on the ZL1 are preliminary, Chevrolet has confirmed its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with an automatic gearbox (4.0 seconds with a manual) and can reach a top speed of 184 mph. It posted a 7:14.27 lap time at the Nurburgring and other high-tech features include Magnetic Ride Control, a suspension feature usually found on Cadillacs and Corvettes, and what Chevrolet calls “an advanced track-capable braking system” developed with Brembo. ZL1 also marks the entry of a new electric power steering system to Camaro, said Chevrolet.

While early speculation said the range topping Camaro would be called the Z28 , Chevrolet instead chose the ZL1 name from the all-aluminum racing engine of the same name that was developed in the late 1960s. It was installed in a small number of production 1969 Camaros. Just 69 were built with the engine.

Exterior design includes a new front fascia and hood with air extractors. The hood gets a signature center section made of carbon fiber and rendered in satin black finish. The cockpit is only available in black and gets front seats with microfiber suede inserts, a redesigned steering wheel, alloy pedals, head-up display with performance readouts and a four pack auxiliary gauge system featuring a boost readout.


MY THOUGHTS ON THE 5TH GEN CAMARO

December 19, 2011
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The first car I fell for as a boy was the Camaro and today I own a second Gen RS. A fast, heavy, unsafe handling steel beast.

When I first heard about GM’s new Camaro concept I was excited but also suspicious. The company at the time was running on fumes, way too much borrowed money and too much borrowed time. So while GM was riding this perfect American recipe for financial disaster my questions were Many. Engineering? Parts? Design? R&d? These, and many other components to the developmental equation cost a FORTUNE for an auto manufacturer. So how does a financially irresponsible American motor company do it? Buy reaching into their international parts bins and piecing together a reasonable facsimile they can put the name CAMARO on. It’s built from a British Vauxhall and is based on GM’s Zeta platform, which underpins Australia’s Holden Commodore, the new Pontiac GTO as well as the Pontiac G8. A Frankenstein beast born in the fires of a global economic crash, we have today’s 5th generation, hmmm…. Camaro and it’s been received with mixed reviews and complaints of build, material and quality issues.

The LS and LT models are powered by a 3.6 L (220 cu in) V6 producing 304 hp (or 312hp for the 2011 model) mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic with manual shift.

The SS is powered by the 6.2 L (376 cu in) LS3 V8 producing 426 hp and is paired with a 6-speed manual. The automatic SS gets the L99 V8 with 400 hp.

The RS appearance package is available on both the LT and SS and features 20-inch wheels with a darker gray tone, halo rings around xenon headlamps, a unique spoiler, and red RS or SS badges.

For the 2012 model year, several changes have been made to the Camaro line. The “Jewel Red Tintocoat” color has been replaced by a color known as “Crystal Red Tintcoat” and the “Synergy Green” color option was removed. 2012 marks the 45th. anniversary of the Camaro. With this occasion, Chevrolet is producing a 45th edition model in a “Carbon Flash” color only. The V6 is updated to a 3.6L engine named “LFX” that has an output of 323 horsepower. The SS model has also received an upgrade to the suspension system, with an engine update in the makings. All Camaro models from 1LS to 2SS are now outfitted with standard RS spoiler, and Taillight details. Also, wheel-mounted volume and radio controls are standard, as well as Bluetooth connectivity controls. Some minor modifications, such as a revised steering wheel design and updated instrument panels keep the interior up to speed with the other updates. Chevrolet announced the new 2012 ZL1 Camaro, it will have a 6.2L LSA supercharged V8. The LSA motor is the same used in the Cadillac CTS-V and makes it the fastest production Camaro ever produced. Some other features include 2-stage exhaust, addition of suede to seats, steering wheel and shift knob, and LT1-exclusive 20″ aluminum wheels.

So then, it’s fast (not the fastest), it doesn’t handle very well, and its build quality is not so great. So it IS an AMERICAN MUSCLE CAR!! And I’ll accept it as a Camaro.


2013 FORD SHELBY GT 500

December 19, 2011
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If you own a super car and a pair of Versace shades, you might want to look in the rear-view mirror because there’s going to be a new car on your tail and it won’t be who you expect. Ford is entering supercar territory with their 2013 Shelby GT500. This vehicle could very possibly be the least-aerodynamic sports car on the face off the planet that’s capable of knocking off 200 mph. How does it do it? Lots and lots of power. That power comes from a 5.8 liter supercharged V8 delivering 650 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque and is matched with a six-speed manual transmission. Ford calls the 2013 Shelby GT500 the most powerful production V8… in the world.

Buyers looking for even more performance may opt for the GT500 Performance Pack, which throws in electronically-adjustable Bilstein dampers and a Torsen limited slip rear differential. Still not enough? A Track Package is also available that bolts on an external engine oil cooler, transmission cooler and rear-differential cooler.


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