Tag Archives: 1-series

Calling All Enthusiasts: 2013 BMW 135is Coupe and Convertible

15 May

2013 BMW 135is Coupe: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

If you’re one of the many who missed out on the one-year, limited production 1M coupe you’re might just be in luck. The 2013 BMW 135is will be making its way stateside later this year and will offer customers a beefed-up, more powerful and performance oriented version of the regular 135i. It’s not the 1M coupe, but it’s the next best thing.

On the exterior the 135is stands out with 18-inch wheels, high-gloss black kidney grill and mirror caps along with special exterior badges and the standard M Sport Package components. Interior highlights include stainless steel pedals, special interior badges and optional black leather sport seats with blue stitching.

All of that eye-catching exterior work is just fine if you’re looking to pick up a date, but that’s not what the BMW “is” line was made for. After all, this is an enthusiast car, made to be driven hard both on the road and race track, and because of this BMW has made sure to provide adequate performance upgrades and modifications.

Under the hood the 135is is powered by the latest version of BMW’s 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo Technology, designated the “N55” internally. Unlike the previous “N54” turbocharged unit the 135is gets a single twin-scroll turbocharger, as opposed to the two found in the 1M coupe. Despite a missing hairdryer, horsepower and torque figures have been increase over the 135i leaving the 135is a close second to its Motorsport-derived sibling. The 135is produces 320 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 20 hp and 17 lb-ft respectively and not far behind the 1M’s 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. Besides the engine improvements the 135is also features a performance exhaust system and a more robust cooling system with a larger and more powerful radiator fan and an auxiliary radiator.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional seven-speed double clutch transmission. Helping all 320 horses get to the ground is a new differential with new optimized final drives and an electronic rear brake management system that is used to simulate a differential lock for stronger acceleration in turns and low-traction conditions.

Finishing off the performance goodies is a sport aluminum double-pivot front suspension and a lightweight five-link fully independent rear suspension. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that includes Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) will help the driver maintain control of the vehicle, but it does so at a higher threshold than the regular 135i and thus adding to the driving experience offered with the 135is. Of course, if you don’t want to worry about these safety systems interfering with your spirited driving you can turn them off completely.

The 135is coupe and convertible are scheduled to appear in U.S. showrooms beginning this fall with a base MSRP of $44,145 and $48,845 respectively (including $895 destination and handling).

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

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

Video: Onboard 1991 E30 M3 with 270 horsepower

3 May

Here’s a video of a very agile and powerful E30 M3. This vehicle has at least 78 more horsepower than a stock North American spec E30 M3, which has 192 hp.  This E30 M3 is a replica of the Sport Evolution (Evo III) version of the E30 M3. The Sport Evo was limited to 600 units and featured an enlarged 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It produced 238 horsepower and is considered to be the epitome of the legendary E3o model line.

Photos and story will follow soon.

© 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

Review: 2011 New York International Auto Show

24 Apr

By Matt McCarron

Press days at major automotive events such as the New York International Auto Show have plenty of perks for media and company personnel alike. From the free water, espressos, lattes, sandwiches, and smoothies to the hordes of industry professionals to network and talk with, you might think one can easily lose sight of one’s primary mission. However, despite these added creature comforts, the world and North American premieres, newly redesigned vehicles and concept cars still took center stage.

The four major high-end German automotive manufacturers all had plenty to admire and ask questions about. Mercedes-Benz had by far the most impressive and expansive display of new and face lifted vehicles. From the world premiere of the Concept A-Class, the North American debuts of the C63 AMG coupe and MY2012 SLK350 and the MY2012 E63 AMG with a new 5.5-liter twin turbocharged engine, Mercedes seemed to have all the bases covered at this years show. Now before I go any further, don’t get the idea that Mercedes was the only German manufacturer to have exciting and intriguing automotive eye candy.

Porsche also had premieres including the world premiere of its top-of-the-line four-door super sedan, the Panamera Turbo S. Along with the Turbo S Porsche also had the North American debut of the Turbo S’ green, eco-friendly sister, the Panamera S Hybrid. Porsche also a good sized display area that featured everything from a Cayman with a bike rack and bicycle on the roof, to a recreation of the world’s first hybrid car, the “Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus”, which was developed 111 years ago by Prof. Ferdinand Porsche.

BMW had two significant vehicles that it showed off for the first time on U.S. soil. The MY2012 650i and the Z4 with the all-new inline four-cylinder engine featuring TwinPower turbo technology. In addition to being fitted with BMW’s newest engine, this particular Z4 was also equipped with the optional citrus yellow package. This package make the vehicle as bright as the sun and definitely will attract attention from your local police department. Finished in Atacama Yellow, the citrus yellow package also adds the M Sport package, giving the Z4 an aggressive stance and special wheels, shifter, steering wheel and foot rest, all of which have the BMW M logo on them.

Last but definitely not least in the four major German manufacturers was Audi. Audi unveiled its A7 Sportback for the first time in the United States and had the most expansive display area of the four manufacturers. This gave Audi the opportunity to spread its lineup out across the showroom floor and to exhibit many of its vehicles. Included in this mass of Audi’s finest was the ultra exclusive and mind-blowing Audi R8 GT. The special edition of the R8 V10 was drenched in carbon fiber from head to toe. Along with the weight-saving carbon fiber the R8 GT had an interior that was nothing short of a masterpiece.

The 2011 New York International Auto Show was GermanAutoNews’ first time at the press days of a major automotive show. However, after being around the finest engineering Germany has to offer, you can be assured it will not be the last.

© 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

New York Auto Show 2011: E63 AMG gets new engine, forced induction

24 Apr

By Matt McCarron

The days of the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated engine are gradually coming to a close in many of the current AMG models. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the refreshed MY2012 E63 AMG at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on April 20 with a new power plant under the hood. The new engine, a 5.5-liter twin turbocharged V8 replaces the outgoing 6.2-liter naturally aspirated unit. The 5.5-liter blown beast produces 518 hp and 516 lb-ft, and can be increased to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package. Regardless of the impressive performance numbers Mercedes claims the new engine results in a 22 percent decrease in fuel consumption, in accordance the European Driving Cycle (EDC).

The new engine achieves increased fuel economy with the help of new technological gadgets. The MY2012 E63 AMG features an Eco stop/start system, which when placed in the Controlled Efficiency “C” mode shuts off the eight-cylinder engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. When in “C” mode, the vehicle as starts in second gear and shifts earlier, reducing the amount of fuel needed to power the vehicle. Another new feature adding to the increase fuel efficiency is an all-new electromechanical AMG steering system. The system doesn’t use any fuel when traveling in a straight line, rather only when the vehicle is being steered.

However, if you’re getting concerned the new E63 AMG might have lost some of its potency, fear not. In addition to the fuel sipping “C” mode, the seven-speed AMG Speedshift transmission also has the familiar “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport plus) and “M” (Manual) modes which consume plenty of fuel.

The MY2012 E63 AMG also comes with an upgraded interior, complete with all of the leather-trimmed luxuries AMG customers have come to expect. Characteristic AMG exterior styling rounds out the package with new lightweight alloy wheels, wider front fenders and AMG rocker panels and a sports exhaust with chrome plated tips.

The new MY2012 E63 AMG will go on sale in the U.S. starting in the fall.

© 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

Audi Q3 unveiled one week before the Shanghai auto show

13 Apr

By Matt McCarron

Audi has unveiled its Q3 compact SUV in anticipation of next week’s Shanghai auto show. This is Audi’s first time venturing into the premium compact SUV market, with the Q3 being in direct competition with the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK350.

The Q3 is offered with four different engine choices. All four engine are turbocharged four-cylinders and feature direct injection, energy recovery system and start-stop system. The basic power plant for the Q3 is a front-wheel drive 2.0-liter TDI, producing 140 hp. This particular engine also gets remarkable fuel economy, 45.2 mpg. The second engine option is also a 2.0-liter TFSI quattro that produces 170 hp. The first and second engine options are mated to a six-speed manual transmission, while the other two power plants, producing 177 hp and 211 hp respectively, feature quattro all-wheel drive and are mated to Audi’s seven-speed S Tronic transmission, allowing the driver to choose from four different driving modes.

Audi Q3 Compact SUV: Courtesy Audi USA

Another aspect to the Q3 that contributes to its overall efficiency is its lightweight design. The engine hood and wraparound tailgate are made of aluminum, resulting in the basic version of the Q3 weighing in at only 3,307 lbs. The passenger compartment is composed of ultra high-strength steel and the vehicle’s low drag ratio of 0.32 adds to the Q3’s excellent fuel economy.

With interior and technological options that are available on the Q3, the sky’s the limit. Audi is offering the Q3 is a choice of 12 exterior paint colors with five customized combinations with add-on parts. These add-on options include the standard black add-on parts, or if the customer chooses, add-on parts with full paint finish or color-contrasting anthracite gray.

Standard technological features include but are not limited to, an on-board computer, ambient lighting package, panoramic glass roof, storage package, sports seats, electrically adjustable and heated seats, two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning, tinted rear windows, and a three-spoke leather steering wheel.

The Audi Q3 will make its world debut at the Shanghai International Auto Show on April 19. The Q3 will go on sale in Germany starting in June at a base MSRP of 29,900 Euros ($43,151.90 USD)

© 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