Tag Archives: 1-series M

Mercedes’ large, yet compact gamble

13 Sep

By Matt McCarron

Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class at the 2011 NYIAS

On the same day of its world debut The New York Times Wheels page has reported Mercedes-Benz plans to bring their all-new B-Class to the United States in the coming years. This isn’t the first time Mercedes’ has toyed with bringing a compact vehicle to U.S. shores. The Concept A-Class made its world premiere at the 2011 New York International Auto Show in April.

The reasoning behind the move might seem simple enough. In the past four or five years Mercedes-Benz has fallen behind arch rivals BMW and Audi in an ongoing battle to control the compact luxury vehicle market in the U.S. BMW has the 128i, 135i and more recently, the 1M Coupe. Audi has countered BMW with their five-door A3 Sportback.

Although Mercedes’ has sold small, compact luxury vehicles in other markets for years the prospect of making them a success in the SUV-obsessed U.S. is a risky proposition. Not only does Mercedes have to contend with opposition from BMW and Audi, but they must also take into account the U.S. market as a whole. Typically U.S. drivers have been reluctant to put a premium of a small luxury vehicle. Instead of opting for the B-Class those with young families look to something family friendly like a minivan, or mid-sized SUV, while younger, performance-orientated drivers are drawn to lightning quick four-doors such as the Subaru WRX STI.

According to Mercedes the European model of the new B-Class features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection. Transmission choices include a high-tech dual clutch transmission as well as a traditional manual transmission. While many of the specifics might vary between the European and U.S. models major models aspects and options should remain relatively the same.

Only time will tell if Mercedes’ wager on bring the B-Class to America pays off. The B-Class is scheduled to arrive in European showrooms beginning in November. No arrival date for the U.S. has been set, but the Times’ article reports it should be sometime in 2013.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

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New BMW 1-Series Revealed

6 Jun

By Matt McCarron

With the first generation of the 1-series in the rear view mirror BMW has unveiled the second generation of their smallest and most fuel efficient vehicles. The second generation (F20) promises to deliver a strong combination of efficiency, luxury, performance and aggressive styling.

BMW has chosen to stay consistent with the push to bring turbo technology to a growing number of their vehicles.  For the first time all models of the 1-series, including both gasoline and diesel engines feature BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology package, with twin-scroll turbocharger, high precision injection, Valvetronic and Double-Vanos variable valve control.. Five new 1-series models, two gas-powered and three diesels have been unveiled so far.

BMW 1-series 116i and 120d: Courtesy BMW North America

The 116i and 118i are the two gasoline-powered versions, with the diesel 116d, 118d and 120d rounding out the lineup. The 116i and 118i both feature a 1.6-liter four-cylinder in-line engine, producing 136 hp and 170 hp respectively.

The remaining three diesel variants all share the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder in-line engine. These also have the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology package and variable-geometry turbocharger with common-rail, magnetic-valve direct injection. Horsepower output varies from 116 hp in the entry level 116d to 184 hp in the 120d.

Not only do these engines feature the very latest in technology, but they’re also extremely fuel efficient. The 116d gets a  estimated 65.6 mph combined, significantly better than a Toyota Prius which gets 50 mph under the same conditions.

BMW 116i: Courtesy BMW North America

Although the new 1-series is loaded with Star Trek-like technology under the hood it’s not limited to just that area of the vehicle. The fuel-efficient engine can be mated to an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. It also has an Automatic Start/Stop function in both manual and automatic transmissions and ECO PRO mode which is activated using the driving experience switch.

To round out the new 1-series BMW has changed the dimensions to allow for more comfort and sportier styling.  The body has been expanded by 85 millimetres, wheelbase is 30 mm longer,  front track is 51 mm wider and rear track 72 mm wider. The interior height is unchanged, but the width has been expanded by 17 mm to give it a more spacious appearance. The result of all of these changes is 21 mm more rear legroom and a luggage compartment expanded from 11 to 23 cubic feet.

BMW did not opt to bring diesel or entry-level versions of the first generation 1-series to the U.S. It is still unclear whether or not BMW will change its marketing strategy and bring these new fun and fuel efficient BMW’s to the U.S. market. Hopefully they do, because 65 mpg, a manual transmission and turbocharged engine sound like the essence of getting the most bang for your buck.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: New Details and Photos Released

28 May

By Matt McCarron

MY2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster in Sepang Bronze: Courtesy MB North America

On Thursday, May 5, Mercedes-Benz released its first details on their upcoming SLS AMG Roadster. Now Mercedes has released more information on the specifics of the vehicles as well as new photos. The car, which is the soft top version of the SLS AMG, is scheduled to make its world premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show in September.

Powered by a 6.2-liter front-mid engine producing 563 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque enables the SLS AMG Roadster to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transaxle transmission and the new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension with aluminum double wishbones.

The body and chassis of the SLS AMG Roadster is primarily comprised of aluminum. Fifty percent of the weight-optimized aluminum spaceframe is made of aluminum sections, 26 percent of sheet aluminum, 18 percent of cast aluminum and 6 percent of steel. The aluminum frame only weighs 536 pounds, 4.5 pounds more than the Gullwing, and results in the roadster weighing in an estimated 3,661 pounds, just 88 more than the Gullwing Coupe.

A new piece of technology to be featured on the SLS AMG Roadster is the AMG Drive Unit. Located in the center console The AMG Drive Unit is the central control for the vehicle and allows the driver to choose personal driving setups, including three suspension modes: “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport plus.”

The SLS AMG Roadster also employs the new “AMG Performance Media,” a motorsport-inspired multimedia system that offers  numerous telemetric displays such as lateral and linear acceleration, various engine data and lap times on a racetrack. AMG Performance Media is activated by pressing the AMG key in the AMG Drive Unit. It also allows the driver to keep track on vital engine and transmission temperatures, output, torque and acceleration data and individual tire pressures.

This high-tech blend technology and raw power give the SLS AMG Roadster characteristics that will please even the most discerning enthusiasts.

Designo Leather Interior: Courtesy MB North America

The interior of the SLS AMG roadster is just as inspired and technologically as the exterior. Taking many cues from the aviation industry, the interior features a dashboard in the shape of a wing, the air vents resembling jet engines and the new E-SELECT lever is in the shape of an aircraft’s thrust control. Some of the standard options for the interior are heated AMG sports seats, COMAND with Navigation and DVD player, anti-theft alarm system with tow-away protection and interior monitoring and dual-zone automatic climate control. The interior is available in eight colors with the standard being black designo leather. Single-tone or two-tone designo leather in espresso brown is available as a new interior color too. To accompany the designo leather interior, various trim finishes including leather, matte-finished solid metal or carbon-fiber are available.

After hearing about all of these new details the anticipation continues to mount. If the SLS AMG Roadster is anything like the Gullwing Coupe then it will surely be something worth waiting for. September can not come soon enough.

MY2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Courtesy MB North America

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

M3 Coupe or 1-Series M Coupe – Which one would you choose, and why?

26 May

By Matt McCarron

Insideline.com has dynoed the BMW 1M, and the results are impressive. According to insideline’s test, their 1M put down 331 hp 5,150 rpm and 362 lb-ft of torque from 2,500-4,500 rpm (at the wheels). In contrast to insideline’s test, BMW factory rated the 1M as having 335 hp at 5,800 rpm and 332 lb-ft from 1,500-4,500 rpm.

Now, before you go off the deep end and claim the dyno numbers are impossible because no car loses just 4 hp and 7 lb-ft from the crank to the wheels, just wait a second. There is an obvious explanation to these numbers. BMW has taken a page from the Porsche handbook and has significantly underrated the horsepower and torque numbers of the 1M.

But does it really make a compelling enough argument to warrant buying one over a M3. Well, when compared to E92 M3, which has a factory rated 414 hp at 8,300 rpm and 295 lb-ft at 3,900 rpm, the 1M might be down on horsepower. However, it makes up for it in other areas. Based on factory numbers, the 1M has an additional 37 lb-ft than the M3 and it has the advantage of weighing 342 lbs less than the top-of-the-line 3-series.

The M3 and 1M are two completely different animals. One has a traditional M-derived 4.0-liter high-revving, naturally-aspirated v8 that needs to see high rpms to achieve its peak horsepower output. On the other hand the 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine in the 1M is a totally different power plant altogether, varying from the S65 in almost every way.

So which one would you rather have in your garage?

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

A barn full of Bavaria’s best

9 May

By Matt McCarron

As we made a right hand turn onto MA-122 the anticipation began to build. This increase of enthusiasm also caused a body part to become overly active, namely the right foot, as the car made its way down the gradual, long-sweeping turns of MA-122. Any car enthusiast would obviously get excited to see a great gathering of fine automobiles. However, this was no museum, it was a private car collection, the first one we had the opportunity to experience.

At 2 p.m. we rolled up the perfectly paved driveway and looked for a place to park, expecting to see a large number of garage stalls attached to, or beside the house. But it was surprising to see there was only two stalls in sight. All of a sudden thoughts began to flood the brain. Is this the right house? Did we make a wrong turn? Thankfully all apprehension was quickly replaced by the excitement that had been there minutes before when we caught a glimpse of what we had come here for.

Most people would have noticed the large wooden barn before picking out something smaller. But no, instead of admiring the barn our eyes were transfixed on the black E28 M5 race car that lay parked to the right side of the large barn door. After meeting the owner we began to make our way toward the “Auto Bahn”.

As the side entrance opened the anticipation level reached its climax. As the door swung open the refreshing aroma of freshly cut pine filled the air and six objects came into view, all of which were accompanied by a neat, snug-fitting car cover that sat atop each vehicle.

1989 BMW E30 M3 with 54,139 original miles

As the owner removed each protective cover from the vehicle the true scope of his collection was finally displayed. Within this unassuming barn sat some of the finest and most iconic cars ever produced by BMW.

There were two E30 M3‘s, one Diamond Black, the other Cinnabar Red. The red example was an ’89 with just a hair over 54,000 original miles on the clock. The bright red exterior paint was complimented by Natur (light beige) bison leather interior which was original and largely unchanged from the day it left the Munich-Milbertshofe factory. His second M3, a 1991 example has roughly 90,000 miles. However, unlike the ’89, this M3 is as far from factory stock as a E30 M3 could possibly be. All aspects, from the 2.5-liter engine which produces 275 horsepower, to the Sport Evolution interior have been professionally upgraded and improved.

After viewing his one-of-a-kind 1972 BMW 2002 M2 conversion and his pristine example of an E28 M5, we moved onto what might be considered by many to be the crowd jewel of the collection, a 1985 Alpina B7 Turbo. Not only is this particular Alpina in wonderful condition, it’s also incredibly rare. Only 236 units of the B7 Turbo were produced between 1984 and 1987, and this particular example is one of four in North America. And if being one of four just isn’t good enough, it’s also the only example to ever be imported new to the United States.

1985 Alpina B7 Turbo: 1 of 4 in North America

The Alpina B7 Turbo is powered by a BMW 3.5-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine, producing between 300 and 300 horsepower and 331 lb-ft. This significant amount of horsepower and torque is the result of engine modifications Alpina performed on all E28 B7 Turbos. These include lightweight Mahle pistons, modified cylinder head, 264 degree camshaft, tuned exhaust manifold and headers and a KKK K27 turbocharger.

After viewing all the vehicles, and chatting with the owner for a bit it was time to leave. We’ve seen plenty of beautiful automobiles, most of which have been at car shows, special exhibits and museums. However, these exhibitions often prohibit the general public from sitting in, or getting too close to the vehicles. Being able to see a car collection up close and personal is something that should be experienced by all serious and appreciating car enthusiasts. So, if you happen to know or run into someone who has a car collection ask them if they would be willing to show it. If they agree you can rest-assured you won’t regret it.

More photos can be seen at Germanautonews’ Flickr page.

More videos of these vehicles and more can be seen at our YouTube channel.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

SLS AMG Roadster revealed, finally.

5 May

By Matt McCarron

After many rumors that the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster was among one of the three vehicles Mercedes-Benz was scheduled to debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, it turned out to be a no-show. So, if it wasn’t debuted at the New York show, then when would Mercedes finally lift the veil of secrecy and show the SLS AMG Roadster to the world. Well, the automotive world got their answer on Thursday when Mercedes revealed the drop-top version of their SLS AMG supercar will make its world premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show in September.

The final details of the SLS AMG Roadster are still being hammered out by AMG engineers, but numerous things have been set in stone. One of the most unusual and intriguing aspects to the roadster is its soft-top. Mercedes claims the soft-top can be deployed or retracted in just 11 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph, with just the touch of a button.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster testing in Papenburg, Germany: Courtesy MB USA

The soft-top, which is comprised of three layers of fabric has been engineered with a weight-optimized magnesium,steel and aluminum construction, capable of with withstanding the vehicle’s top speed of 197 mph, regardless of whether or not the soft-top is covering the interior cabin, or neatly hidden behind the passenger seats. To ensure this structural integrity the SLS AMG Roadster has undergone high speed testing at three different high-speed tracks, in Papenburg, Germany, Nardo, Italy and Idiada, Spain.

In addition to the high-speed testing, the SLS AMG Roadster and its high-tech soft-top has endured a plethora of other testing including a high-intensity rain test and climate change tests where the vehicle was exposed to a variety of extreme climates around the world.

Mercedes says the SLS AMG Roadster still needs to undergo a number of quality test on other parts of the vehicle before it makes its world premiere on September 13 in Frankfurt. However, if the soft-top has survived such extensive and extreme testing, chances are the rest of the vehicle will also stack up to Mercedes’ and customer’s demands. But only time will tell if this version of the SLS AMG holds up to the reviews and acclaim of its hard-top sibling.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

First ride E30 M3: Superb handling, engine and classic BMW styling

3 May

By Matt McCarron

What do you get when you take an E30 M3 in pristine condition, add a list of modifications as long as the Great Wall of China, some windy back roads and an experienced driver? A memorable experience, that’s what.

When GermanAutoNews was offered the chance to take a ride in an E30 M3, it didn’t take much time to come up with a decision. After all, this is the E30 M3 we’re taking about, a car synonymous with the S14, a high-revving inline four-cylinder that loves to be pushed above 3,000 rpm, and impeccable handling thanks in part to the vehicle’s 52 to 48 weight distribution. However, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill E30 M3. In fact it’s about as far from the stock North American spec E30 M3 as it could possibly get.

1991 BMW E30 M3

This special E30 M3 was built by Turner Motorsport of Amesbury, Mass. To make this M3 stand out from the pack Turner went all-in with just about every option or upgrade available including a 2.5-liter stroker kit, stage 3 ported/polished head, Evo 3 throttle bodies, Evo 2 camshaft, B&B Triflow muffler, heavy duty clutch, lightweight flywheel, coilover suspension and a whole host of other improvements.

All of these improvements were evident as the M3 rounded the corner of Haigis Mall at UMass Amherst. The vehicle’s exhaust gave off a subtle yet undeniable drone as it made its way toward our camera, and the suspension could be seen trying to keep up with the never-ending bumps and dips that are much too prevalent around the UMass campus. The final component to be experienced before even entering the vehicle was the award-winning sound system, featuring two Focal 27VX 11″ subwoofers,  165EX 3-way and 136EX 2-way speakers and Precision Power 4400 and 2600 amplifiers.

As the ride began we hoped the owner and driver of the M3 would drive the car like it was supposed to be driven. And it didn’t take long to figured out the owner wasn’t intent on leisurely driving around town, all the while being careful to stay under 3,000 rpms and stay at the recommended speed limit.

Actually, from the moment we left the first stoplight it was apparent this was going to be a fun ride. So we fastened our seat belt and away we went. The 2.5-liter S14 screamed with ever-growing intensity as it roared towards redline, while the heavy duty clutch gave the ride a sudden and attention-grabbing snap as it ripped into the next gear. Both upshifts and downshifts came quickly, maybe even somewhat harshly, courtesy of the five-speed Dogleg transmission and upgraded drivetrain.

2.5-liter S14 with Evo II valve and intake cover paint design

The stiff and tight suspension, featuring coilovers along with upgraded camber plates, control arms, strut braces and sway bars made taking corners at high speeds a thing of beauty. There was practically no bending and no nose-diving whatsoever when carving through a corner. The 52 to 48 front to rear weight distribution really showed its worth on the back roads, allowing little to no understeer or oversteer.

As we made our way back toward the campus we really showed the under-appreciated power of the 2.5-liter S14. In today’s high-end, high-performance car industry, where more and more vehicles are approaching or eclipsing 500 horsepower, the 270 provided in this M3 might seem like a pathetic amount. I mean really, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 hp, but that doesn’t matter. The Sonata might have more horsepower, but the S14 delivers all 270 horses to the driver in an unforgettable crescendo of noise and emotion. The S14 screams and howls in ways modern engines just can’t match. In a world where naturally aspirated engines are increasingly being discontinued in favor of forced induction units, the S14 stands alone as one of the truly great naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines of all time.

Our ride in the E30 M3 showed us something. It isn’t the most powerful, quickest or most eye-catching vehicle we have been in. However, when push comes to shove it just might be the best. It combines a raw, un-computerized experience, something that is becoming harder and harder to find in today modern vehicles, and something we will not soon forget.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com