September 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
BMW has bid farewell to the current model M6 Coupe and Convertible as production of both models ceases this week. The announcement coincides with the discontinuation of BMW’s stonking 507hp 5.0-liter V10 engine that also powered the already wound-down fourth-generation M5. But BMW enthusiasts need not fear as even though cylinder numbers have dropped, performance figures will increase. The next models of both the M6 and M5 models will use of a new turbocharged V8 powerplant producing somewhere in the range of 600hp.
The Bangle-penned E63/E64 M6 was initially launched as a two-door coupe back in 2005 with the soft-top convertible model following the next year. Globally, BMW shifted a total of 14,152 cars (9,087 coupes and 5,065 convertibles), with the number one market for both models being the US, followed by the domestic German market.
A replacement for the M6 (in both coupe and convertible body styles) based on the next generation of the 6-Series is due late next year or early 2012. Continue reading “BMW announces end of M6 production” »
August 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
BMW isn’t just going to sit by and let themselves be outdone by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, Porsche Panamera or Aston Martin Rapide so BMW is apparently building a production version of its Gran Coupe concept that first debuted earlier this year. While it’s a late entry into the growing 4-door coupe luxury sedan segment, it should be a strong entry with BMW sure to offer just as much in the way of technology and refinement as its competitors.
Based on the next-generation 6 Series, the Gran Coupe should launch sometime in 2012 and will share its powertrains with those already offered in the 5, 6, and 7 Series BMWs. There may even be hybrid variant. In terms of price the production Gran Coupe should be placed between the 5 and 7 Series, and if the overall concept design doesn’t get hacked up, it’ll certainly be an attractive addition to the BMW range. Continue reading “BMW to put its Gran Coupe into production” »
August 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Lamborghini have recently been left behind by rivals like Porsche and Aston Martin who have moved into the four-door coupe market. But there is hope yet and Lambo’s stunning Estoque concept vehicle may still be built.
Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said last week that “a four-door car would be a very feasible approach” to a third model for the brand.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Estoque which was initially thought to be headed almost directly to production after its concept debut at the 2008 Paris auto show. But shortly afterward Lamborghini stated that the car was not approved for production, and that there were no plans to build it.
Now it looks like the Estoque may get a second lease on life, thanks more sales for luxury vehicles and Lamborghini’s fresh desire to produce a higher-volume vehicle. Winkelmann did say that any new model in the Lamborghini range would have to produce significant sales, and that currently there are still no plans to build the Estoque.
In terms of competitors, Porsche’s Panamera is doing surprisingly well, having already sold over 25,000 units, making it Porsche’s second-hottest-selling model behind the volume-leader Cayenne. So it’s possible that the Estoque could provide a similar bump in figures for Lamborghini. While the Estoque wouldn’t compete directly against the Panamera it would likely take on the Aston Martin Rapide, in terms of both price and performance. The Rapide’s 6.0-litre V-12 engine is bigger and badder, but not as strong, pumping out just 470 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It costs roughly $200,000 USD.
The Estoque concept was powered by a 560-horsepower 5.2-litre V-10 engine under the bonnet and could also be priced in the $200,000 USD range and could enter production as early as 2012.
July 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
It’s just be made official that Porsche put its radical 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept into limited production.
“Reflecting the overwhelming response from the public and customers to the Concept Study, the Supervisory Board gave Porsche’s Board of Management the mission to develop a production model based on the car already presented,” Porsche said in a statement just released.
The money men at Porsche calculated that in order for the car to be produced, the company needed a minimum of 1,000 orders. Reports in the beginning of July stated that at least 2,000 individuals had placed non-binding expressions of interest for the supercar.
“Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts,” said Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG.
“We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base.”
The concept version of the mid-engined two-seater 918 Spyder utilised a plug-in hybrid drivetrain comprising of a mid-mounted 500HP 3.4 litre V8 petrol engine, and electric motors located on the front and rear axles with a combined output of 218-horsepower.
The company claims that the hybrid supercar should return an impressive 3 litres/100km economy with CO2 emissions of just 79g/km. In terms of performance the 918 should reach 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds and continue on to a top speed of around 320km/h and will lap the Nurburgring faster than its predecessor, the Carrera GT.
Porsche hasn’t announced when it will introduce the production version of the 918 Spyder, which is rumored to carry a price tag of around $630,000 ($871,000 NZ).
Continue reading “Porsche 918 hybrid heading into production” »
July 23rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Toyota and Honda have been making hay while the sun shines on their hybrid vehicles in Japan. But that is set to change as the Japanese government’s incentives for eco cars, which has been running for the past two years is about to end. The Toyota Prius has been the top-selling vehicle in Japan for more than a year and even the mixed-reviewed Honda Insight has sold beyond expectations. The eco car incentives end in October and with the expected drop in sales, Toyota is now planning on a sizeable cut to domestic production.
News agencies in Japan have been reporting that Toyota will slash production from its current 14,000 vehicles a day to fewer than 12,000 for the final quarter of the year. The automaker does expect sales to recover again later in the year and has kept its same production targets for the full fiscal year.
July 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Just a week after the last Dodge Viper rolled off the line in Detroit (read news), production of a second iconic Chrysler Group model, the PT Cruiser, has ended at the Toluca plant in Mexico.
Originally penned as a Plymouth model, the retro-shaped and hot rod styled compact crossover ended up in the market back in 2000 with the Chrysler badge. Its polarising design was the work of Brian Nesbit who later on moved over to GM.
Many people don’t know that the PT Cruiser was originally conceived more as an attention-grabber than a high-volume seller but the surprisingly practical crossover turned out to be so successful that buyers joined waiting lists. For a while it was the best-selling Chrysler-brand vehicle, but without a new model its bloodlines have been left to fade away.
Check out some images of the PT Cruiser in the gallery below. Continue reading “Chrysler PT Cruiser production officially ends” »
July 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
It isn’t a simple task to build any of the world’s hottest hatches. The Ford Focus RS 500 is no exception. While the car begins its life as nearly identical to the stock standard Focus hatch, the hottest Focus is quickly diverted on a different path of various factory modification that kicks off with a unique bonnet and finishes with a special intercooler, bodywork, spoiler and wheels — all bolted on lovingly by hand. In between, everything from the car’s upgraded suspension bits to the stonking 350 horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-litre engine make their way on board through a devoted assembly line.
We know all this because Ford has just released a video showing it. The company filmed a Focus RS 500 going through the production process at its Saarlouis manufacturing facility. It even ends with the guys and gals from 3M as they wrap the car in its matte black vinyl finish.
Check out the video below, and click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Ford Focus XR5 Turbo.
Continue reading “Ford Europe shows how the Focus RS 500 is built (+video)” »