Tag Archives: Motorsport

Concepts Abound at 2012 Beijing Auto Show

24 Apr

It’s not surprising the world’s largest automobile market would receive one of the most expansive and encompassing auto shows, and that is exactly what’s taking place at the 2012 Beijing International Auto Show. With the Chinese market growing by leaps and bounds each month German manufacturers Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all have debuted new vehicles at this year’s show, with a large majority being in the form of concept vehicles.

Audi A6 L e-tron Concept: Photo courtesy Audi North America.

Audi’s has a total of three concepts, the first is the A6 L e-tron, based on their luxurious full-size A6 sedan. The the other is the RS Q3, a high-performance variant of the already-existing Q3 crossover SUV and the last is a Chinese-exclusive Q3 model.

The A6 L e-tron is a plug-in hybrid capable of operating for just over 49 miles exclusively on electric power, while maintaining a consistent speed of 37 mph. That’s not practical for highway use, but with the amount of vehicles on China’s busy roads it’s perfect for stop-and-go traffic and low-speed driving. In addition to the 95 horsepower electric motor the A6 L e-tron has a 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline engine with a maximum of 211 horsepower. Audi’s decision to produce an e-tron on the A6 platform comes as no surprise. The A6 is extremely popular among Audi’s Chinese clientele, and the Chinese have always associated the A6 with success, prestige and power.

Audi RS Q3 Concept: Photo courtesy Audi North America.

On the other end of the spectrum is the RS Q3. This tuned version of the Q3 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine with a peak output 360 horsepower, 152 more than the top engine option in the regular Q3. The power plant together with a seven-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission allow the RS Q3 to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 164.66 mph. Like many performance models, the modifications extend beyond what’s found under the hood. The suspension has been lowered by 25 mm as well as being widened to improve handling. Weight has been reduced with the use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP). The front spoiler, door mirror housings and diffuser on the lower rear bumper all employ the use of this lightweight material. As with other RS models like the TT-RS the engine bay of the RS Q3 has a valve cover painted in red with carbon fiber trim pieces adorning various other parts.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe: Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Not to be outdone Mercedes-Benz introduced their Concept Style Coupe. The four-door concept has a number of unique design features that could potentially make their way onto future Mercedes vehicles. The front end of the Concept Style Coupe has two distinct powerdomes that are slightly reminiscence of the one on the current BMW M3. Below the hood, the grille is nearly identical to the Concept A-Class that made its world premiere at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 208 horsepower and Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. The headlights are aggressive in their design and are illuminated in red when in standby mode. Ultimately the Concept Style Coupe has many features normally found on concept vehicles. The majority of these won’t make their way onto the production model due to government and safety regulations, but they’re are always cool to look at.

Finishing off the list of German concept vehicles is the BMW i8 Spyder. The two-door, drop-top hybrid is being proclaimed by BMW as their vehicle of the future along with the i8 Coupe and smaller four-door i3. At the front of the i8 Spyder is a 131 horsepower electric motor, and at the rear is a 223 horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Together the unit is estimated to achieve 70-80 mpg.

BMW i8 Spyder: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

Details Released for New M6 Coupe and Convertible

12 Feb

All-New BMW M6 Coupe: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

A year and a half has passed since the last E63 M6 rolled off the production line. Now, the specs surrounding the all-new M6 have been released.

BMW’s new top-of-the-line, two-door coupe and convertible will be powered by the same 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 found in the 2012 F10 M5. The engine produces a peak output of 560 horsepower between 6,000-7000 rpm, eight more than the factory rated 552 horsepower found in the M5.  A maximum torque of 502 lb-ft is available from just 1,500 rpm, thanks in part to BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology with twin-scroll turbochargers. All this horsepower and low-end torque allows the M6 to accelerate from 0-62 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds, or 4.3 with the convertible. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour (189 mph with M Driver’s Package).

All-New BMW M6 Coupe: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

Although being different in nearly every way when compared to the naturally-aspirated, 5.0-liter V10 found in the previous generation M6, the smaller displacement powerplant has many advantages, namely in its efficiency. While its V10 predecessor managed an abysmal EPA estimated 12 mpg city and 18 mpg highway, the addition of turbocharging, stop/start functions and other technologies have improved fuel economy dramatically. BMW estimates the vehicle will achieve up to 30 percent less fuel consumption than its V10 predecessor.

Besides the engine. the transmission has also been changed. The outgoing Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) has been replaced by the faster and more efficient M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT). Also incorporated is a launch control feature to help driver’s get off the line quicker, and with less loss of traction. No information regarding a traditional manual transmission option has been released.

All-New BMW M6 Convertible: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

As with all M vehicles, the chassis has been tuned to deliver greater road-handling and driving performance. M-specific dynamic damper control come standard, as well as DSC stability control and servotronic steering. Braking has been improved with a lightweight compound, high-performance braking system. For even greater stopping power carbon-ceramic brakes are available as an option. To keep weight down the M6 Coupe has a roof comprised of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), much like that of the carbon fiber roof found on the current E92 M3 Coupe.

All-New BMW M6 Convertible: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

In addition to all of the power and performance numbers the M6 has all of the interior technology and gadgets found on a flagship model. Merino leather upholstery, carbon fiber interior trim and illuminated door sills, along with a host drivers aids such as high beam assist,  night vision with pedestrian recognition, lane change and departure warning.

No pricing has been announced. However, based on the previous generation expect the new M6 to have a base MSRP well in-excess of $100,000.

Interior of All-New BMW M6 Convertible: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

560 Horsepower, 4.4-liter, Twin-Turbocharged V8 in the BMW M6: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

© 2012 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

The 560 HP Audi R8 GT Spyder, the most expensive R8 to date

2 Feb

Audi R8 GT Spyder: Photo Courtesy Audi USA

Audi has introduced their newest version of their top-of-the-line sports car. The R8 GT Spyder and its hard-top sibling are the most powerful R8 ever produced, it’s also the most expensive. With a base MSRP of $213,800 (inlcudes $1,200 destination fee and $2,100 gas-guzzler tax) the special-edition drop-top costs $38,650 more than the regular 5.2-liter Spyder. But what do you get for an additional 38 grand?

Well, just as with the R8 GT Coupe the Spyder will be limited to only 333 units worldwide, with 50 coming to the U.S. Beside the exclusivity you get an upgraded 5.2-liter naturally-aspirated V10 that ups the peak horsepower from 525 to 560. The added power is transferred to the road via Audi quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed R Tronic sequential gearbox.

Audi R8 GT Spyder: Photo Courtesy Audi USA

More horsepower is always a good thing, but it’s useless if their is too much weight. To improve the power to weight ratio engineers have eliminated over 187 lbs with an engine frame made from lightweight magnesium along with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer and carbon fiber composite used heavily throughout the vehicle.

On the road the Spyder will be more agile and nimble due to a sport suspension with stiffened calibration. This tweak also lowers the GT Spyder by 10 millimeters.

The first deliveries of the Audi R8 GT Spyder are scheduled to take place this month. If you’re in the market for this four-ringed beauty you better hurry as only 50 units will come to our shores.

Interior of the Audi R8 GT Spyder: Photo Courtesy Audi USA

© 2012 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

2012 Mercedes Benz C-Class Coupe to debut in Geneva

13 Feb

By Matt McCarron

Following its television debut during Super Bowl XLV, Mercedes-Benz said information on the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe would become available during mid-February, and it didn’t take long at all. Keeping with their word, Mercedes released details for the new two-door C-Class on Feb. 13.

The 2012 C-Class coupe is poised to make its world debut at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show on March 1. True to form, the C-Class coupe will be offered in two variations. The entry level C250, will be powered by a turbocharged, 1.8-liter, inline four-cylinder engine, producing 201 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 229 lb-ft of torque between 2,200-4,300 rpm. The upper level model C350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 302 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque from 3,500-5,250 rpm. Both power plants will be paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe: Courtesy M-B USA

The 2012 C-Class coupe will offer a number of improved communication and design features, allowing the driver to keep in contact without sacrificing safety or driver appeal. Some of the improved communication aspects include larger displays, phone book transfer, wireless streaming Bluetooth audio and a USB interface now located in the center armrest. The Sirius weather information and “Comand” navigation systems allow the driver to access maps and directions via Google maps, or transfer previously uploaded files from a PC directly to the vehicle.

Even though the C-Class coupe offers optional features, giving the driver access to the latest in-car technology, many Mercedes-Benz owners expect a certain level of quality and finish when purchasing a vehicle from the German manufacturer, whether it be in an entry-level C-250 or a top-of-the-line C63 AMG. The 2012 C-Class coupe is no exception. The interior of the C-Class coupe is tastefully adorned with metallic trim pieces, adding a feeling of class and elegance to the two-door coupe. The instrument panel’s three cylindrical rings are finished in a metallic hue, along with many of the controls and central and side air vents.

The 2012 C-Class coupe is an all-in-one package, combining sporty handling, a classy interior and aggressive styling. The MSRP should be expected to range between low-30 and 40K range. The 2012 C-Class coupe is expected to arrive in U.S. dealerships and showrooms in September.

© 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

BMW M CEO Kay Segler confirms carbon-composite brakes on F10 M5

3 Feb

By Matt McCarron

BMW Motorsport CEO Kay Segler announced on Jan. 31, in an interview with the Canadian media company Sympatico that the upcoming F10 M5 will have an option for carbon-ceramic brakes, something M5 owners have been longing for since the debut of the E39 M5.

Courtesy of M-B USA

The E39 M5 is a great automobile, with impeccable, classic BMW styling and a 5.0-liter,400 horsepower, V8 engine that blew away the competition at the time. However one of the aspects of the car, any car, the brakes, seemed to be inadequate. The E39 M5 is a heavy car, weighing over 3700 lbs. Therefore slowing down and stopping a 3700 lbs car, capable of reaching a top speed of 185mph (delimited) can be quite a task. This is especially the case in any type of racing or hard driving conditions. The E39 M5 came from the factory with four-wheel vented disc brakes measuring 13.6-inches in diameter in front and 12.9-inches in the rear. Because of this many enthusiasts who own a E39 M5 have invested in aftermarket brake rotors from companies such as StopTech, APRacing and Brembo.

The next generation of M5, the E60 featured cross drilled, vented disc brakes. However BMW still did not have  carbon-ceramic brakes as an available option. While BMW Motorsport chose not to invest in this equipment, their competition; Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz did. Mercedes-Benz offer they own ceramic-composite brakes as an option through the AMG Performance Studio. They are available on the SLS, E63 and CLS63 AMG models, the latter two being some of the primary competitors to the F10 M5. Porsche has their Porsche ceramic-composite brake (PCCB), and available on all 911 models.

With the announcement from Segler BMW M looks like they have made a commitment to stay on par with the competition, and are still aware of the demanding nature of M owners. The new BMW ceramic-composite brakes will definitely be a good thing, even if they cost you your first child. After all, every M cars since the E30 M3 has increase in weight and power. With more power and weight behind today’s vehicle it’s more important than ever to be able to decelerate the car quickly and maintain control.

© 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

C63 AMG gets engine, suspension improvements for 2012MY

1 Feb

By Matt McCarron

Mercedes-Benz has announced the C63 AMG will be enhanced cosmetically and feature new technologies for the 2012 model year. The C63 AMG will now feature the 7-speed AMG Speedshift MCT transmission, with a “controlled efficiency” mode that Mercedes says will improve fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. The AMG MCT transmission is currently featured on the SL63 AMG.

2012 C63 AMG with AMG Performance and Development Packages.

2012 C63 AMG with AMG Performance and Development Packages: Courtesy of M-B USA

Another new feature for the 2012MY is the addition of the AMG Development package, currently available on the SLS AMG.  Purchased in conjunction with the AMG Performance package, the development package will offer improved performance and handling.

The stock engine output will be increased from 451 horsepower to 481 due to forged pistons, connection rods and lightweight crankshaft, borrowed from the engine in the SLS AMG. The development will offer special cosmetics as well, including a titanium gray intake manifold, AMG performance braking system with red-painted brake calipers, a carbon fiber spoiler on the trunk lid and the AMG performance steering wheel.

The suspension will be yet another part of the C63 AMG to be revised for the 2012MY. Mercedes AMG has changed the front axle, rear axle and has widened the rear track, resulting in increased responsiveness and agility. The front damper and springs have been improved too.

The 2012 C63 AMG is scheduled to make its U.S. market debut in the fall of 2011.

© 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