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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.


2012 MERCEDES BENZ ML63 AMG

December 19, 2011
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This is not your grocery getter or soccer mom mover. For the 2012 ML63 AMG, Merc has dropped a 5.5L V8 bi-turbo under the hood which produces 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Throw in the AMG Performance Package and you’re looking at an increase to 550 horses and 560 lb-ft of torque. All that power takes the ML63 from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds on its way to top speed 155 mph. With the Performance Package you’ll hit 0-60 in 4.6 and get up to a top speed 174 mph.

Nuff said.


2013 CADILLAC XTS

December 19, 2011
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Cadillac has resisted the trend towards producing “retro” models as other manufacturers have. It has instead pressed ahead with a new design philosophy for the 21st century called “art and science”which it says “incorporates sharp, sheer forms and strong lines a form vocabulary that expresses bold design and invokes the technology used to generate it.” This new design language reaches from the original CTS across the line all the way up to the XLR roadster.

Cadillac’s latest interpretation of its ‘Art & Science’ design language. The XTS is highlighted by its bold egg-crate grille and vertical taillights. Inside the XTS places a heavy emphasis on technology and design, including the luxury division’s new Cadillac User Experience, or CUE for short. The CUE system includes an eight-inch screen in the center stack, a 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster and a unique touchscreen interface that mimics today’s tablets. Other technologies available on the XTS include Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and a color Head-up display. Power for the XTS is provided by a direct-injection 3.6L V6 delivering 300 horsepower. Shifting duties are handled by a six-speed automatic, which routes power to all four wheels via a Haldex all-wheel-drive system with electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

Although the previous DTS was known strictly as a boulevard cruiser, the XTS should be able to hold its own in the corners thanks to GM’s Magnetic Ride Control, a rear air suspension, HiPer Strut front suspension and Brembo brakes. Standard wheels measure 19-inches but 20s are also on offer. The XTS will go up against cars like the BMW 5 series, MercedesE-Class and Audi A6, but the Caddy holds a size advantage over its German rivals — about four inches in the cases of the 5-Series and E-Class and two-inches over the Audi. The 2013 Cadillac XTS will begin production at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario production plant in spring 2012.

 


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