Tag Archives: New York International Auto Show 2011

2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon

15 May

By Matt McCarron

Spirited driving and taking the family on the annual summer vacation are not something that usually go hand-in-hand. However, Mercedes-Benz has managed to create a vehicle that’s capable of fulfilling both of these desires at the same time.

Mercedes-Benz announced it will produced the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon for the U.S. market,  joining the E63 AMG Sedan which is already on sale. The E63 AMG wagon will be in direct competition with Cadillac CTS-V Wagon.

Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

To counter the CTS-V Wagon, and its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 which produces 556 hp and 551 lb-ft, the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon will feature the same powertrain as the sedan variant. This means a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, producing 518 hp and 516 lb-ft or 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG performance package.

The 2012 E63 AMG Wagon also shares a number of other characteristics with the Sedan, including the AMG seven-speed MCT transmission, ECO stop/start technology and 19-inch AMG 10-spoke wheels. In addition to the above mention features the Wagon also gets a standard panorama sunroof.

Pricing for the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon has not been released. However, judging by the 2011 sedan’s base MSRP of $87,600, you can expect the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon to have a slightly higher starting price when it goes on sale this October.

© 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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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

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

Pushing the boundaries of performance and fuel efficiency

1 Feb

By Matt McCarron

High performance and fuel efficiency are not something that tend to go hand in hand. However, German manufacturers, particularly Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW Motorsport have embarked on a new quest. It’s no longer acceptable to have the car with the most horsepower and torque, or the one with the largest displacement engine. In today’s ever-evolving high-performance race to produced the world’s best super sedan, it’s much more important to leave the competition in the dust, and do it in a cleaner and more fuel-efficient manner.

There are three German manufacturers who produce a high-performance version of their standard family hauler. And although all three, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW can claim to have the highest performing and cleanest burning engine, and subsequently the best vehicle, this comparison will only focus on two of the three. The major reason for this is because the Audi RS6 isn’t offered for the U.S. market. The Audi S6 is a very capable vehicle in its own right, but it really can’t compete with the likes of the CLS63 AMG and upcoming BMW F10 M5. For the record, the Audi RS6 officially gets a combined 17 mpg in Europe and is powered by a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V10, producing 580 hp at 6,250 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm.

The new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged AMG engine: Courtesy of M-B USA

Mercedes AMG seems to have fired the first shot in the latest super sedan war. In November 2010 Mercedes AMG revealed their all-new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, replacing it’s predecessor, the 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8. The 5.5-liter twin turbo offers a 33% increase in fuel efficiency over the 6.3 NA, resulting in an estimated 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. The 5.5-liter also produces more horsepower and torque, with 518 hp and 516 lb-ft respectively, 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package, as opposed to the 507 hp and 465 lb-ft from the old power plant.

Although Mercedes AMG has been the first out of the gate in the sedan race for the U.S. market, their competition, namely BMW Motorsport have been busy in the secretive depths of Munich and Garching, preparing their answer to the 2012 CLS63 AMG, the all-new BMW F10 M5. Although details of the upcoming ‘bahn-burner have been numerous, few have been concrete. However there are certain things that seem to have been figured out. The F10 M5 will be powered a highly tuned version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that currently powers the X5M and X6M. Horsepower estimates range from the upper 500’s to even 600 hp.

BMW F10 M5 at Netherlands airport - Courtesy Autojunk.nl

In a September 2010 interview with Kilometer Magazine, BMW Motorsport CEO Dr. Kay Segler said the F10 M5 will reduce CO2 emissions by 20-25 percent. “We had very clear targets, and we worked toward those targets. Twenty to twenty-five percent less CO2 output, day-to-day car and a pure sports car in one, and a beautiful design as well,” said Segler.

The location of the F10 M5 debut is still uncertain. However one thing is for certain, the fast-paced race to produce the greatest super sedan seems to be escalating, and is getting more intense with each passing day. Unfortunately, the verdict on the world’s best super sedan will have to wait for the foreseeable future, or at least until enough automotive journalists have had the chance to drive the F10 M5 to make an educated decision.

© 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 Courtesy of M5board.com