Archives for January 2013

New M3 Spy Shots Appear

Rumored to be lower in weight (finally!) and still using a straight six, although this time with a couple of turbo’s bolted on, Car and Driver has some spy shots of the new M3. I’m sure the news will continue to leak until all the official details are out – I’m hoping it reverses the trend of recent M incarnations and gets things back to real driver focused cars, rather than a glorified marketing exercise with lots of power and little feel (I’m looking at you M5). We’ll see.

Audi RS7

2013 RS 7 FrontAudi announced last week that it’s building the latest in the RS series – the RS 7 Sportback. Not wanting to come to the party without plenty of power, they’ve given it a twin-turbo0charged 4.0 litre engine pushing out 560 bhp, allowing the 5 door coupe (if that’s really a thing) a 0-62 time of 3.9 seconds. They’ll even allow you to ask for the speed governor to be taken off so you can hit the top speed of 189.52 mph (the germans like to be precise with their stats…). One of the most impressive stats is the 553 lb-ft og torque is available all the way from 1750 to 5500 rpm – I’d say that’s big and flat. 2013 RS 7 - Rear Standard quattro 4-wheel drive pushing power in a 60/40 rear biased standard config, along with their torque vectoring technology first seen on the S4 is designed to limit the understeer and keep things interesting in the handling department. And in the ever increasing game of one-upmanship, 20 inch allows are standard, but you can have 21 inch straight from the factory by checking the right option box when you make your purchase.

2013 RS7 InteriorI’m a sucker for good interiors, and the RS cars from Audi are always up there at the top of the list. Two main reasons for this – the flat bottomed steering wheels are always gorgeous, and the massively bolstered Recaro seats they put in these things to keep you sitting nice and still round the corners. The RS7 has both, so I’m a happy boy.

Singer 911

I posted a video a little while ago about someone obsessed with 911’s, and it’s obviously something that happens a lot. Take a look at this video (another half an hour, but again, worth every second) and try to tell me at the end of it you don’t want to find some way to get hold of half a million bucks to buy one. If you somehow have the cash, here’s the site (and there’s lots of great pics there too that are worth checking out)

As a side note, Chris Harris is up there as one of my (if not the) favorite car journalists, and it’s good to have him back in 2013. Those couple of weeks at the end of 2012 when he took some time off from his weekly posts were harder than I expected.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

I’m of European heritage, I grew up on a diet of Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini, and yet I’ve been excited about the upcoming release of the new Corvette for a while now. Why you might ask. It’s pretty simple actually – I’ve been lucky enough to spend a decent amount of track time in the C6 of the ZO6 variety, and to put it bluntly, it’s a pretty epic car. Fast, good handling, more torque than you know what to do with and the generator of lots and lots of smiles. And it didn’t even kill me when I spun it once.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

So the new version was released on Sunday night as part of the opening of the Detroit Motor Show this week (note to self, get your arse in gear and attend this thing next year). Lots of details, pics and information has finally satisfied the crazed Corvette fans who have been living off a diet of sketches and rumors for the last few months, along with a few details officially released every now and again.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Well, what do we have – 450 bhp and 450 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2 liter V8 with direct injection, dry sump lubrication (with the Z51 Performance Pack) and continuously variable valve timing propelled with a 7-speed manual (or 6-speed automatic) gearbox.  Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel, composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels and a 50/50 weight balance. And a brand new interior made with lots of leather, carbon fiber and aluminium, designed to address what seemed to be the biggest weakness in the previous generation vehicle.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

From a personal perspective, the fact that there are new seats is one of the biggest deals to me. Spending a couple of days in these at the track used to result in my legs being bruised to shit as I braced my knees and thighs against the body to stop sliding all over the place, and this has obviously been recognized (the problem, not my personal complaint/pain) with the option of a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering to provide greater support on the track.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

There is a track package available out of the gate, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for a Z06 equivalent to be released. The Z51 Performance Package includes an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, integral brake, differential and transmission cooling, as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability.

If you’re really keen, you can watch the video of the live reveal from Sunday night – the interesting stuff happens around the 34 minute mark, and there’s the full press release with a boat load more details right here. And yes, I think I want one…..

Mercedes E63 AMG – the details

So I had posted a post or two in recent weeks with some of the info on the new E63 AMG as it was filtered out, but the nice people over at Mercedes released a whole bunch of info on this model, so here’s a few more details (and pictures of course).

2014 E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC Wagon

First off the big news for the folks who live here in Colorado (and I’m guessing a few other places around the world) – 4-wheel drive is confirmed, and is standard equipment, although you can still order a 2-wheel version of that’s what floats your boat (and you have a relatively unlimited tire budget if you like to switch off the traction control). It’s available in wagon and sedan versions, and both are coming to the US (which I didn’t realize until the other day is true of the current version too).

2014 E63 AMG 4MATIC Sedan & Wagon

Now some of the fun stuff – “standard” power and torques are 550 and 531, but if that just doesn’t seem quite enough for you, there’s the S version with 577bhp and 590 lb-ft of torque. This is achieved through changes to the engine management system, and increasing the boost from 13 to 14.5 psi. Thats’s going to get your 0-60 time to somewhere between 3.5 and 3.6 seconds (sedan vs wagon due to the slight weight difference I’m guessing), and given you’re using an automatic gearbox and 4-wheel drive, you won’t need to be Lewis Hamilton to achieve something close to that at every traffic light….

2014 E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC Wagon

Two other advantages of the S pack are the higher top speed – it’s still electronically limited, but you can hit 186 mph on the Autobahn (and of course, who wouldn’t want to select the European delivery option on something like this), and it includes a limited slip diff to make the drifting a little more controllable (and the track time a little more fun).

2014 E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC Wagon

In case the use of 4-wheel drive gives images of lots (and lots) of crappy understeer at every turn, Mercedes are reassuring everyone who will listen that this is a sports based 4-wheel drive system designed for more traction but not at the expense of handling. Torque is split 33% front, 67% rear and the 3 stage ESP is tailored specifically for the 4-wheel drive chassis.

Release is planned for the summer of 2013, and although there’s no price information yet, after a quick play with the configurator of the current model on the Mercedes site, expect the final number you’re handing over to be in the 6 figure range. But, for the true car that can do everything, it might just be worth every penny. I’m off to count my pennies now to see how many more I’m going to need before I can get one of these things.

(One note – the nice people at Mercedes included the high res pictures for me to download with their press release, so you can click through and download the pics at their full resolution if you fancy)

Audi SQ5 – Coming to America

AudiSQ5

If you’re one of those peeps that like their fastness a little on the large side (or just have kids and boat load of crap to carry around with you everywhere), Audi is trying to help with the release of the SQ5 (and try saying that after 4 pints of Strongbow). Using the engine that seems to be in every sporty vehicle Audi launch these days, the V6 3 liter with supercharger, and pushing out 354 bhp in this trim, it’ll propel you away from the traffic lights to 60 mph in just 5.3 secs. Release is going to be sometime this year, and the price hasn’t been released yet, but you get what you pay for these days (which for Audi means included for free is the gorgeous interior). Full press release is available from Audi here if you want more details.

audi sq5 interior

Aston Martin One-77

7.3 litre V12 with over 700 bhp, and as beautiful as any special Aston should be (inside and out). It costs well over  a million (in pounds and dollars) so if you want one, you better be rich already and be saving your pennies hard….