Tag Archives: Audi A3

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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503 hp Audi A1 clubsport quattro revealed

31 May

By Matt McCarron

It’s often said big things come in small packages, and in this case it’s very true. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Wörtherseetour, an annual even that attracts Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen enthusiasts Audi has created a no-holds-barred version of their A1.

Audi A1 clubsport quattro: Courtesy Audi USA

The one-off Audi A1 clubsport quattro is sure to be the envy of Audi drivers everywhere.

The 503 hp and 486.79 lb-ft of torque emanating from under the hood come courtesy of a highly-modified version of Audi’s 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine, with turbocharging and direct injection. All of this horsepower and torque is made more evident because of the car’s reduced weight. Weighing only 3,064 lbs, the A1 clubsport quattro can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, from 0-125 mph in 10.9 seconds, and 50-75 mph in fourth gear in only 2.4 seconds.

All of this horsepower and torque is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Speaking of wheels and tires the special A1 rolls down the road on 255/30 low profile tires with 19-inch alloy wheels, and comes to a stop via six-piston calipers and perforated carbon fiber-ceramic discs on the front, and steel discs on the rear.

In order to save weight many luxury items have been removed including the rear seats, infotainment system, MMI monitor and loudspeaker, making the vehicle more suitable for the racetrack. To round out the weight savings the A1 clubsport quattro has lightweight bucket seats taken from the Audi R8 GT and feature a chassis made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.

Interior: Audi A1 clubsport quattro: Courtesy Audi USA

The interior and exterior of the A1 clubsport quattro have also been tweaked. The exterior is finished in matte white with many accents to separate it from everything else on the road. Included in these accents are a high-gloss roof arch with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) roof underneath. The aerodynamics are highlighted by large, split air intakes with carbon struts, integrated into a modified front skirt. The front fenders, doors and rear side panels have been widened by a total of 60 millimeters and air outlets are integrated into the rear ends of the fenders.

The interior is also race-inspired with exposed, matt-finished CFRP throughout. Additional instruments let the driver keep track of the oil pressure, boost pressure and electrical system voltage and red loops have replaced the handles on the doors, the glove box and the covers of the storage compartments.

© 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

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

Version of F10 M5 to have four-wheel-drive

3 May

By Matt McCarron

British automotive magazine Autocar has reported BMW officials have verified reports that a four-wheel-drive version of the new F10 M5 will be produced. It is unclear at this time if the four-wheel-drive version of BMW’s top-of-the-line performance sedan will make its way to the U.S.

The final production version of the F10 M5 is scheduled to make its world debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

For more information on the F10 M5 visit Autocar’s Web site.

© 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

Porsche GT3 RS 4.0: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better

28 Apr

By Matt McCarron

Porsche GT3 RS 4.0: Courtesy Porsche North America

Car manufacturers often make special or limited production vehicles. However, very few take it to the level and extreme Porsche has. First they released the model 997.2 GT3, then the critically acclaimed and even more extreme GT3 RS. But now they’ve really done it. Porsche has taken the GT3 model line to the very limits of what seems possible with a flat six-cylinder engine, producing what could be, the very essence of a street and track car.

Enter the GT3 RS 4.0. The vehicle, which will be limited to only 600 units worldwide, has the largest displacement engine ever offered in a 911, a 4.0-liter flat six punching out 500 hp at 8,250 rpm and 337 lb/ft at 5,750 rpm. That’s 50 horsepower more than the GT3 RS with a 3.8-liter flat six. In addition to having the largest engine the GT3 RS 4.0 has the most powerful output per-liter of any 911 engine ever produced, with 125 horsepower per liter.

All of this horspower, and a power to weight ratio of just 5.99 lbs/hp allows this special 911 to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, unchanged from the regular GT3 RS. However, while the 0-60 times might be the same, the difference in track times between the GT3 RS 3.8 and 4.0 on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife racetrack are drastic. The GT3 RS 3.8 recorded an official time of 7 minutes and 33 seconds, while the 4.0 lapped the famous “Green Hell” in 7 minutes and 27 seconds. Six seconds might not seem like a lot, but in the world of motorsports it’s a lifetime.

This improvement is possible because of weight reduction. With carbon fiber sport bucket seats, carbon fiber front fenders and luggage compartment lid the GT3 RS 4.0 weighs in at only 2,998 lbs (full tank of fuel). Other cosmetic changes include large rear wing and speical “4.0” badging on the engine lid and lower left-hand corner of the doors. The GT3 RS 4.0 also has a unique gray line, with red accents running from the nose of the hood all the way back to the rear.

The GT3 RS 4.0 is available in Carrera White and will go on sale in the U.S. beginning in late 2011 at a base MSRP of $185,000 (plus destination).

© 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