Tag Archives: Diesel

Large and In Charge

6 Apr

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

SUVs are an uniquely American creation, like apple pie and baseball. Nowadays there are crossovers, SAVs and a whole laundry list of vehicles that have come about thanks to the original SUV concept. Long past is the time when a Jeep was the only go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle solely designed to handle the rigors of large rocks, rivers and mud. With the passing decades SUVs have progressively become larger, heavier and more powerful, all the while moving away from the off-road trails for a more leisurely life of grocery-getting and trips to-and-from school to pick up the kids.

Even though the price of a gallon of regular unleaded is nearly $4 dollars per gallon they continue to be popular with families and those who want to drive a large vehicle with room for seven passengers, the dog and everything else one might wish to carry. When you add in all of the leather-appointed interiors, DVD players and safety prevention technologies today’s SUVs are more akin to oversized luxury cruisers than simple all-terrain vehicles.

4.6-liter direct-injected twin-turbo V-8 in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 and GL550

Enter the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-class. The pinnacle of the manufacturer’s line of SUVs, the GL-class is designed for those who wanted to be large and in charge when driving down the road. Everything about the new GL is huge, from its engine to its sheer breadth.

The 2013 GL-class is available in three model designations, the GL-350 BlueTec clean diesel, GL450 and GL550. The GL-350 comes equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine producing a maximum of 240 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Next up on the list is the GL450 with its 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 gasoline-powered engine producing a peak output of 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The last and final variant of the 2013 GL-class is the GL550. Although the engine is the same the power has been boosted be an additional 67 hp to 429 and torque is also higher at 516 lb-ft.

Interior of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

The redesigned 2013 GL-class has rounder and less aggressive styling than its predecessor. The headlights and taillights have been extended to stretch across the corner of the vehicle. Even the exhaust tips have changed from a edgy trapezoidal shape to a rounded rectangular one. From the side the rear section resembles the Infiniti QX56, although not to such an extent as the strangely designed Infiniti. Along with the rear stlying the new GL-class shares many similar dimensional characteristics as its competition. The wheelbase of both vehicle is identical at 121 inches. The GL measures in at 201.6″ long, 84.3″ wide and 72.8″ high, compared to the QX56 at 208.3″, 79.9″ and 75.8″ respectively.

Helping the driver safely operate and maneuver such a large SUV are a nearly endless list of standard and optional safety features. The top-tier GL550 comes equipped with such things as Parktronic with Active Parking Assist, Bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination and Corner Illuminating Lamps as standard. If that wasn’t enough you can opt for four addtional assistance system that monitor everything from the vehicles blind spots to the highbeams.

As with the previous GL-class the interior is draped in copious amount of leather, fine wood veneers and brushed aluminum trim. Not to mention the available TV screens in the rear headrests to keep the kids entertained during those long drives to the beach or to the in-laws for Sunday dinner.

When it comes down to it the Mercedes GL-class is a statement vehicle suited for those who want the ability to go off-road, but will rarely if ever do it. And that’s not unexpected especially when considering the GL’s hefty price tag. No official pricing has been announced, but judging by the 2012 model its safe to say the GL350 BlueTec and GL450 have a base MSRP in the low-to-mid $60,000 range while the more powerful GL550 will command closer to $90,000. That’s a lot of money. For that price of a fully loaded GL550 you could buy any SUV in the BMW, Audi or Porsche lineup, with the exception of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The GL-class is a well designed and engineered vehicle but is ultimately not worth the expense when compared to its competition.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

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BMW M Makes Splash with Four New Diesel Models

26 Jan

BMW M550d Sedan: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

It wasn’t long ago when there was only a handful of BMW M cars to choose from. BMW’s Motorsport division has sold the legendary M3 and M5 for over 25 years, with others along the way such as the M6, M Coupe and M Roadster. However, recently BMW’s high-performance brand has expanded and multiplied, completely changing their “M” (marketing) strategy, with the unveiling of the X5M and X6M SUV’s and 1M Coupe.

BMW M has also made a dramatic change in the types of engines used within the last 3 years, and this is reflected in the four new diesel vehicle. Gone are the days of Motorsport’s naturally-aspirated engines. With the introduction of the X5 and X6M BMW moved away from the traditionally higher-revving, but less fuel efficient naturally aspirated engines in favor of forced injection, known internally as TwinPower Turbo technology. TwinPower effectively combines the air entering the turbocharger in a way that gives you twice the power equivalent of conventional turbocharging.

BMW M550d Touring: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

Enter “BMW M Performance” models. The M550d xDrive Sedan, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d diesels will spearhead this new model lineup. These vehicles are based on the current model lines, but as the name implies have been developed and improved by BMW M division. Changes to the engines, transmission, suspension and chassis result in increased performance, improved handling, practical everyday usability and excellent fuel economy.

Powering the M Performance lineup will be a new inline, six-cylinder diesel engine. Along with a 3.0-liter displacement the engine is aided by three, yes…three turbochargers. This, when paired with a diesel’s ability to produce massive amounts of torque result in 381 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque. Power is transferred to the wheels via an eight-speed sports automatic transmission with enhanced gearshift dynamics. Zero to 62 MPH performance figures vary from 5.4 seconds for the X5 M50d, to only 4.7 seconds in the M550d Sedan.

BMW X5 M50d: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

On the more economical side the new tri-turbo inline six achieves between 30.5 MPG in the X6 M50d and 37.3 MPG in the M550d xDrive. These numbers are possible due to an auto stop/start function and an ECO PRO mode.

Esthetic adornments on the exterior include exterior mirrors and air intake bars painted in Ferric Grey paintwork and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes. Nineteen-inch M alloy wheels come on both the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan, Touring and X5 M50d. The X6 M50d gets 20-inch M alloy wheels and exclusive 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Ferric Grey available as an option for all models.

BMW X6 M50d: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

Unique interior styling feature gearshift lever with M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles and BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite. Two trim choices are available, Brushed Aluminium Shadow in the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d or Aluminium Hexagon in the BMW M550d xDrive. The M sport seats are finished in Nappa leather and Alcantara with contrast stitching and embossed M logo.

The four new diesel M vehicles are scheduled to go on sale in Europe beginning this summer, but whether or not these are destined for U.S. shores is yet to be determined.

New 3.0-liter Inline Six-Cylinder Diesel Engine with Three Turbochargers: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

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Toyota will Return to Le Mans 24 Hours with All-New TS030 Hybrid Race Car

25 Jan

Toyota TS030 Prototype: Photo Courtesy Toyota Motor Corporation and Autoblog.com

Yes, it’s a hybrid. Toyota has unveiled its all-new TS030 Hybrid race car. It will be the first car of its kind to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship when it makes its racing debut on May 5 at the six hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Toyota also hopes to complete head-to-head with Audi Sport’s R18 TDI at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. It has been 13 years since the Japanese manufacturer last took part in the 24 hour race with the TS030’s predecessor the TS020, also known as the Toyota GT-One. Since Toyota’s decision to forgo the 2000 race Audi has dominated the top LMP1 ((Le Mans Prototype 1) class winning 10 of the last 12 races.

Powering the TS030 is a 3.4-liter, naturally aspirated V8 gasoline engine with a hybrid system consisting of capacitor storage areas at the front and rear of the vehicle. The hybrid system allows the vehicle to recoup lost power during braking. However, current racing regulations limit the amount of power stored to 500 kJ (kilojoules). The chassis is comprised of carbon-fiber and was developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG).

Ironically, on the same day Toyota annouced their return for this year’s race, Audi’s recent rival Peugeot has suddenly and unexpectedly withdrawn their 908 LMP1 prototype, which defeated the Audi R15 TDI in 2009 at Le Mans. Without Toyota’s entry the race for the overall crown would have been a foregone conclusion, as Audi would have been the only serious contender in the class.

Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima have been chosen to pilot one of the two prototypes, but the line-up for the second car has yet to be determined.

Video courtesy of Toyota Motorsport GmbH

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

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BMW committed to U.S. production, Advanced Diesel Technology

7 Feb

By Matt McCarron

The Super Bowl is known for its advertisements, and for the amounts of money corporations invest into them. Last night’s Super Bowl XLV was no exception. However, there was one difference, namely being the type of corporation choosing to invest in multiple Super Bowl ads. BMW group and BMW North America lead the way with two prime-time ads. It was the first time in 10 years BMW had produced an advertisement specifically for the Super Bowl.

BMW 335d Sedan with Advanced Diesel Technology: Courtesy of BMW USA

The first of BMW’s ads illustrated the company’s commitment to producing a number of its vehicles in America. They did this along with debuting the all-new X3. The Spartanburg, S.C. production facility produces every X3, X5 and X6 SUV in the world. The plant, which following a 2008 expansion, is now spread over four million square-feet of facilities. BMW invested over $1 billion in the local economy directly following the stock market collapse in 2008. While America manufacturers, such as General Motors and Chrysler were being bailed out by the America public, BMW decided to expand its North America base. In the 16 years since the Spartanburg, S.C. plant opened its doors in 1994, more than 1.7 million vehicles have rolled off the assembly line. In 2010 159,284 vehicles were produced.

The second of BMW’s commercials highlighted BMW’s movement towards their Advanced Diesel Technology. BMW has developed a unique cleaning system that make the days of dirty, smelly diesel engine obsolete. In addition to the cleaning system, BMW engineers have created a sequentially operated twin-turbocharged inline-six engine for the X5 xDrive 35d. The engine is capable of producing the torque of a V8, with efficiency as a four-cylinder.

BMW Advanced Diesel Technology is available on the 335d and X5 xDrive35d. The 335d is powered by a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine, producing 265 horsepower, 425 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm, and gets an estimated 36 mpg on the highway. The X5 xDrive35d has the same power and torque figures as its sibling, but only gets an estimated 26 mpg on the highway.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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Videos Courtesy of BMW.