Mercedes-Benz drops covers on 2012 SLK 55 AMG

August 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes has dropped the covers off its most powerful small hardtop roadster ever – the 2012 SLK 55 AMG. Due for a world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September photos and specification details have just been released.

In terms of styling the new model is distinguished by a reworked front aesthetic, new side skirts and LED daytime running lights. There’s also a larger set of alloy wheels finished in Black. In the cabin there’s leather surfaces everywhere and deeply bolstered sports seats.

Under the bonnet, power for the roadster comes from a new naturally-aspirated AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine. Power is rated at 310kW and there’s 540Nm of torque on tap. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission featuring three modes (sport, manual and efficiency). Additionally, the aluminum V8 engine also features the AMG Cylinder Management system that can shut off four-cylinders from 800 to 3,600 rpm to improve fuel efficiency. With the engine start/stop system engaged the SLK 55 AMG can apparently return economy of 8.5l/10okm. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz drops covers on 2012 SLK 55 AMG” »

First video released of 2012 BMW M5 driven in anger

June 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The first video of the 2012 BMW F10 M5 getting given some stick on the track has just been released by the German manufacturer.

The video features a fully undisguised example being pushed through some turns on a racetrack somewhere in Europe. There are also some shots taken inside the cabin which gives a real sense of the speed this sports sedan is capable of and the soundtrack of the V8 engine is reason enough to check out the clip.

Performance figures are impressive from the F10 M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo motor with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.4 seconds, 0-200km/h (124mph) in 13.0 seconds and a limited top speed of 250km/h. If you’re hell bent on going even faster the optional M Driver’s package raises top speed to 305km/h. Continue reading “First video released of 2012 BMW M5 driven in anger” »

Koenigsegg reveals Agera R supercar specifications

March 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Koenigsegg unveiled its brand new Agera R supercar at the recent Geneva Motor Show it received a lot of attention. With a flat white ‘Speed Racer’ style paint job and over 800kW on tap this is clearly a machine not for the feint-hearted. But the exotic Swedish automaker has only now released the full specifications, and they are suitably staggering.

Under the bonnet the Agera R is packing a 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that produces a massive 691kW on standard 95-octane gasoline, but fill the tank with an E85 bio-ethanol blend and you’re going to get a whopping 820kW. All the power is distributed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, that means a 2.9-second sprint to 100 kph.

The engine is a total beast but there is more to the Agera R than just straight line speed. The carbon-Kevlar body generates 300 kilos of downforce at 250 km/h helped by the car’s turbine wheels which are wrapped in specially-made Michelin rubber. According to Koenigsegg this supercar will also pull a neck-pulling 1.6 g around the skid pad – a figure that can’t be beaten by almost anything else on four wheels. Continue reading “Koenigsegg reveals Agera R supercar specifications” »

Bentley Continental downsizing to V8 turbocharged engine

February 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ultra premium brand Bentley is finally beginning to take measures to reduce emissions and improve fuel-economy. To achieve better economy and ecology Bentley will downsize the engine in its Continental model from the current W12 to a much smaller V8.

Bentley’s sister brand Audi is on board and is helping develop a new direct-injection 4.0 litre V8 engine to be used in the Continental GT and also some future Audi performance models.

Bentley claims the new 4.0 litre direct-injection V8 will cut CO2 emission on the Continental GT model by a substantial 40 percent.

Interestingly, reports are indicating that the new V8 unit will be available in two versions.  The first version will have a single turbocharger and will produce around 309 kW. While the second version will use twin-turbocharging to make 413 kW which is in line with Bentley’s target output of at least 100 bhp per litre.

The new V8 engine will be fitted into the Bentley Continental GT from the end of 2011. Continue reading “Bentley Continental downsizing to V8 turbocharged engine” »

Popularity of V8 engines continues to fade

March 23rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When it comes to engine popularity in the American new car market much has changed according to a recent survey by Wards Auto. Back in 1969 the V8 engine was at a high point and was fitted to 88 percent of all cars sold. With increased fuel prices and global pressure for lower emission vehicles only 4.9% of all cars sold in America have V8 engines.

Four cylinder engines marched up ten percent to increase market dominance of lower cylinder count powertrains. Nearly 62 percent of cars produced in 2009 carried four bangers, up ten percent in just a year from 2008’s 51.7 percent.

Numbers are up for engines below 3.0 litres in capacity, while displacements smaller than 2.0 litres actually saw a decline for 2009. Four-cylinder engines rated between 2.0 and 2.9 litres are stealing customers away from V6 and V8 units by being less expensive and providing improved performance thanks to direct injection and forced induction. Production numbers for trucks also dropped Stateside in 2009, pushing numbers further in favor of smaller engines.

Whatever the future holds for the V8 engine in terms of new car sales, there will always be garages of car nuts working on getting the most out of the bent-eight.