Tag Archives: Panamera 4S

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

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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

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

The Panamera Turbo S: Porsche’s latest and greatest four-door super sedan

30 Mar

By Matt McCarron

If you think a Panamera Turbo is just not fast enough, then your in luck. Porsche has announced the new Panamera Turbo S will make its first official North American debut next month at the 2011 New York International Auto Show.

2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S: Courtesy Porsche North America

The Panamera Turbo S separates itself from the regular Panamera Turbo courtesy of various performances enhancements that have been made throughout the vehicle. The turbochargers have been enhanced with lighter titanium-aluminum turbines, resulting in quicker engine response. With these changes the Panamera Turbo S has a peak  output of 550 horspower, as opposed to the 500 from the Panamera Turbo. The torque has also increased from 516 lb-ft to 553 lb-ft. Torque can be increased even further for short periods of time when “Sport” or “Sport Plus” modes are engaged. The Panamera Turbo S can accelerate from 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds, four tenths quicker than the Panamera Turbo.

The exterior of the Panamera Turbo S features new 20-inch Turbo II wheels with increased rear axle track width, while the interior offers new leather color combinations, including a standard bi-color leather finish. Optional black and cream leather interior is unique to the Panamera Turbo S. Gray and cream optional interior will appear later in the year. The same gray color is available as an exterior color via Porsche exclusive. The Panamera Turbo S goes on sale in the U.S. later this spring at a base MSRP of $174,175.

© 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 C63 AMG Coupe unveiled

20 Mar

By Matt McCarron

Just months after the world premiere of the 2012 C-Class coupe at the Geneva Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the car which they hope will lay waste to competitors such as the Audi RS5, and current benchmark of two-door sports cars, the BMW M3.

The C63 AMG coupe will be powered by the same 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine in the C63 AMG sedan. The hand assembled power plant produces 451 hp and 443 lb-ft. This allows the C63 AMG coupe to accelerate from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. Although the C63 AMG coupe produces more horsepower than either the M3 or RS5, the real difference is with the amount of torque. The 443 lb-ft in the C63 AMG coupe is significantly more than the M3 or Rs5, with 295 and 317 lb-ft respectively.

The C63 AMG coupe can become even more potent with the addition of the optional Mercedes-Benz Performance Package. The package utilizes technology from the SLS AMG including forged pistons, connecting rods and lightweight crankshaft. This reduces the weight by 6.6 pounds. The addition of this high-tech equipment results in a total horsepower output of 481 hp and reduces the 0-60 time to 4.3 seconds. Other benefits include an increase in top speed from 155 to 174 mph (electronically limited). In addition to the performance modifications, the Performance Package features a number of cosmetic changes to the exterior of the vehicle. This includes the variable intake manifold finished in titanium gray, the AMG high-performance braking system with two-piece front rotors and red painted brake calipers, a carbon fiber spoiler and the AMG performance steering wheel.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe: Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA.

Ironically, for a car having so much power and torque the C63 AMG coupe also has a greener side. The high-revving V8 is mated with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. The transmission allows the driver to select from a variety of driving modes, including the Controlled Efficiency or “C” mode. This limits the amount of acceleration and makes the transmission shift early, resulting in improved fuel economy.

However, most customers who are in the market for a world-class high-performance coupe are not concerned about the amount of gasoline being consumed, and do not want to be driving around with slow, conservative transmission settings. Luckily the transmission in the C63 AMG coupe has faster and more aggressive settings. The “S”, “S+” and “M” modes are available at the touch of a button, with the gear changes in the “S+” and “M” modes taking only 100 milliseconds. The C63 AMG coupe also has a Race Start function to provide the best possible launch.

If the lighter and more nimble C63 AMG coupe is anything like it’s four-door sibling then BMW and Audi will be forced to take notice. Mercedes AMG seems to have its eyes on taking the top spot in the two-door sports car category and continues to develop and produce vehicles which are getting closer to doing just that. The C63 AMG coupe is scheduled to make its first appearance in U.S. showrooms starting 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

Limited Edition Audi R8 GT: Lighter, faster and more expensive

16 Mar

By Matt McCarron

When a car company decides to make a limited edition of one of their highest priced and most expensive models many people question whether or not the special edition vehicle is worth the extra money. This is especially prevalent when the particular model to be improved upon is a high performance one.

On Wednesday Audi unveiled plans to produced a limited edition of their signature model, the Audi R8. The limited edition Audi R8 GT will be restricted to only 333 units worldwide, with just 90 of those cars destined for the U.S. market. The R8 GT benefits from extensive use of carbon fiber throughout the vehicle, with particular attention focused on the rear hatch, spoiler and diffuser. This additional carbon fiber results in the R8 GT weighing 180 lbs less than a regular Audi R8 5.2 coupe.

2012 Audi R8 GT: Courtesy Audi USA

The heart of the R8 GT is a modified 5.2-liter V10 engine producing 560 hp, 35 more than the Audi R8 and R8 Spyder. This added horsepower allows the R8 GT to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, one tenth quicker than the R8 coupe, and reach a top speed of 199 mph. All of this horsepower is transferred to all four wheels via the Audi R tronic sequential manual transmission and Audi quattro all-wheel drive.

The R8 GT also features unique changes to both the exterior and interior of the vehicle. The exterior of the R8 GT features matte finishes on the sideblade and grill, and is also offered in a special paint color, Samoa Orange. The calipers on the optional carbon-fiber reinforced ceramic brakes feature a red anodized finish. The interior of the R8 GT boasts a numbered gear shift knob, and the instrument cluster painted white with the R8 GT logo. Other unique interior pieces include the seats, handbrake lever headliner and steering wheel finished in black Alcantara with contrast stitching.

Of course, all of these special features come at a price, and a high one at that. The Audi R8 GT has a starting MSRP of $198,050. That’s $49,050 more than the R8 5.2 coupe. If you want to get your hands on this limited edition R8 you better act quickly, very quickly. Just 333 units of the R8 GT will be produced worldwide, 90 of which will be imported to the U.S.

© 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