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BMW Z8 Most Stylish and Expensive BMW !!

It’s the most expensive model BMW has ever produced. Loosely styled after the company’s 1959 507 sports car, it has an all-aluminum body attached to an aluminum space frame. It’s powered by a 400-horsepower V8 engine taken from the M5 performance sedan. It has a six-speed transmission, a 0-100 km/h time of about five seconds, and an electronically-governed top speed of 250 km/h. Pierce Brosnan drove (and destroyed!) one in the last James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, and BMW will be making them in very limited numbers. The price tag is $192,000 and we’ll be lucky if 50 make their way to Canada.

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So what’s it like to drive? In a word, exhilarating. Once you slide in behind the retro-styled dashboard and hit the starter button, you find yourself with seemingly unlimited amounts of power to play with. Typically, the transmission snicks from first into second, and synchromesh is less than refined. The engine has a muted kind of animal growl to it, and once prodded, the car leaps ahead like a grand prix racer. But this is no tire-burning hot rod. Thanks to a traction control system (again, taken from the M5) and oversized four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS, everything is under control and the Z8 could be the most civilized 400-horsepower two-seater on the market. Although power comes on instantly, there is also a power band around 4500 rpm that feels like a turbo boost. The Z8 redlines at 6600 rpm, and those last few thousand rpms are a real kick in the pants. This is the kind of car you drive as far away from coffee shops as possible, because you’re speeding before you even have a chance to glance at the tach.

Interior accoutrements are surprisingly spartan. No vast expanses of exotic wood trim, no unnecessary use of leather. In an understated display of industrial chic, all surfaces are either brushed or painted aluminum, and all the controls are undersized, with a wire-spoked steering wheel and an ignition key mounted high on the dashboard. Like the Honda S2000, the Z8 has a starter button, and the instrumentation is located in the middle of the dash with extremely cool orange back-lighting. Elbow room is at a premium, and the top is deployed via a console-mounted button. The Z8 also comes with a Global Positioning System with verbal prompts, but I would suggest that you’ll be going to fast for it to be of any use. A contoured roll bar houses the headrests and there is a zip-up wind protector as well.

Definitely prettier than BMW’s Z3 roadster, the Z8 abounds in exterior retro styling cues: side vents, split front grille with built-in driving lights, flared wheel arches, and nice wide 18-inch wheels and tires. Not as striking as its predecessor, the Z8 is actually a very subtle looking automobile and kind of blends in to the background. It doesn’t stick out like – say – the Plymouth Prowler or Audi TT.

Source:

Wheelsdealers

 


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Ford boss 302 a Class Car from Ford

Ford’s Jim Farley is well-known among auto journos for off-the-cuff remarks, but as he stands in a Laguna Seca garage, facing approximately twenty members of the Press As A Whole, he manages to deliver a real bunker-buster, one which speaks directly to this humble writer’s heart.

“This car… it isn’t meant to be stored in a garage somewhere. It should be on YouTube… maybe doing something illegal.” Oh, yes. Let’s immediately go out and do that. It isn’t until I’ve reached the top of a Monterey canyon, my ears and eyeballs vibrating from the past few minutes’ violent, screeching, Pikes-Peak-style run, that I come to my senses and delete the footage from my Android camera. We’ll let someone else lose their press-trip privileges following the big man’s advice.

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That turns out to be a smart move, because an hour later I’m sitting at the pitlane entrance with a broken, smoking BMW M3, a dashboard full of warning lights, a squawking handheld radio, and a feeling that I will need to use all my accumulated goodwill in this industry, whatever miniscule amount that may be, just to survive the afternoon.

Nearly a year ago, I drove the five-liter Mustang GT at Summit Point Raceway and proclaimed it to be far, far better than the competing big-inch ponycars. A better foil for the high-horsepower GT’s abilities, I suggested, would be the Corvette C5 Z06. That may be true, but the Mustang team at Ford didn’t have much interest in drawing direct comparisons with used cars.

Instead, when the idea for a new “Boss 302” was floated around Ford’s corridors, it was decided to tilt at one famous modern windmill: the V-8-powered BMW M3. I know the M3 pretty well, having found myself a few tenths of a second behind one at Monticello during the CTS-V Challenge. It’s a solid all-around performer, capable of whipping the lower half of Porsche’s lineup around most racetracks. Only the dismal, depressingly low-spec brakes keep it from being perhaps the most well-rounded four-seat performance car… in the world, as they say.

What would it take for a Mustang to beat an M3 around Laguna Seca? The easy way to do it would be to chip-tune the car to within an inch of its life, fit bigger tires, drop the gearing, and add a couple of caveats to the claim like “Specially prepared vehicle used for testing”. Think of those Nurburgring videos where mystery-boost GT-Rs and fully-caged Corvettes go wild in the hands of generic-label race drivers.

That’s what they could have done. What they did was the following: There are two completely revised aero packages, one for the “plain” Boss and one for the “Laguna Seca” model, about which more in a bit. The engine has a — wait for it — completely unique set of heads with extra polishing, bigger exhaust valves, a new exhaust cam, special bearings, a redesigned crank, and new valvetrain components. The nominal improvement is modest — up to 444 horsepower from 412 — but on the road it feels more Daytona Prototype (or, to be accurate, ContiChallenge GS) than street car.

The “Brembo package” is standard in this car, with new pads by Performance Friction and improved brake lines. The suspension now has five-position manual dampers and revised spring settings. The payback: this car has the kind of precision damping you’d expect from “Koni Yellows”. There are side-mount exhausts to make it louder, a bigger swaybar to make it rotate, and special 19-inch wheels with 285mm P-Zeros at the back. Serious hardware.

On the back roads around Laguna Seca, I quickly discover that the 302’s monstrous pace is far too much for the brakes. This is a car which can be regularly catapulted on short straightaways to speeds that are multiples of the ol’ 55 limit. Imagine braking from 110 or 120 to 50 or 60, over and over again, and you will start to understand why I’d want a set of Baer eight-piston stoppers on my Boss. As has been the case for the last few years, the infamous live axle is almost imperceptible to the driver, although if your commute takes you through downtown Boston that won’t be the case. On smooth roads, however, the Boss combines the composure of an old BMW E46 and the wailing buzzsaw thrust of a 289 Cobra.

It’s with a sense of relief that my co-driver (and racing coach) Brian Makse and I arrive at the controlled environment of Laguna Seca. We’d been the first car on the road and one of the last to return, and I’m hearing stories of furious cops who dismissed any hope of catching our orange Boss and instead lay in wait for those behind us. Now it’s time to put on our big-boy hats and drive for real.

Ford claims that the standard Boss 302 is about a second faster than an M3 around Laguna Seca, with the special-edition car being faster still. To prove the point, they’ve brought a white M3 to the party. With a low option load and the carbon-fiber roof, this particular M3 looks the business. Naturally I’m the first one to drive it. I haven’t been to Laguna Seca since I faced Brian in the Skip Barber Media Challenge, and I’m anxious to come back up to speed.

My “out lap” is uneventful, and I’m conscious of being the only car on-track as I pass the corner stations on my single flying lap. The M3 is a trustworthy friend out here, with a near-perfect driving position, great visibility, and controls that almost operate themselves. The timer fitted to the car records my lap as 1:50.1, which is pretty far away from the 1:45 turned in by Ford’s Rolex GT crew, but hey: I haven’t been here for a year and I don’t want to wreck the car.

As I enter the pitlane, however, the BMW goes insane, flashing the dashboard and abruptly braking me to a shrieking, clattering halt without my intervention. I radio for help and the car ends up needing to be restarted a few times before deciding to let go of the brakes. This is, frankly, terrifying. What if the brakes had “grabbed” while I was negotiating the infamous Turn Nine? Worse yet, the journos are gabbing that I “broke the BMW”. I prefer to think of it as ensuring that my drive impressions were unique, since the BMW promptly goes in paddock garage and never reappears.

Time to try the “Laguna Seca” edition 302. This costs $47,150 against the standard car’s $40,140. You get a shocking aero package with a street-illegal splitter, bigger wheels, Lamborgini-OEM R-comp tires, a Torsen diff, brake scoops, and an underbody transmission cooling scoop that is certain to be shorn off by a racetrack curb somewhere. The back seat is gone, replaced by a contrast-color X-brace. This car is almost obscene-looking in its aggression. I love it.

Love at first sight, maybe, but the Mustang will never “fit” like the BMW. Where the Bimmer inspires confidence in its driver positioning, the Mustang makes me feel like there’s no perfect way to adjust the seat. The dashboard is tall and the cockpit is dark. The controls are bulky and awkward. Oh well. Time to head out. I notice that the stability control system on this car is off by default.

Just four turns later, I’ve decided to buy My First Mustang. This is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most neutral-handling street car I’ve ever driven on a track. Understeer is nonexistent and the tail can be rotated at will once you reach the approximate limit of the tires. It would be easy to “stunt drive” this car sideways around Seca — and Brian, in our drive together, does just that — but I’m already on probation so I concentrate on extracting some time without abusing the machine.

Here, as on the street, the revamped five-liter impresses, pulling in strong and linear fashion all the way across the tach. Only the heavy flywheel destroys the impression that one is driving a racing-prepped Mustang. Not that the last racing Mustang I drove, a ’95 Cobra running in NASA CMC, would be able to touch this car. It’s seriously quick and I have no trouble seeing how it’s a few seconds faster than an M3, perhaps very close to a C6 Z06. The unibody feels like it’s a solid casting and I have no concerns about using a little bit of left-foot braking to tighten my line through Nine.

This Laguna Seca Edition is a revelation, a joy, a wonder, but the standard Boss is garbage. Just kidding. If anything, the “regular” car is more fun to drive, a little looser and nimbler on its smaller rear wheels, different tire compound, and sensible spoilers. I guesstimate Brian at 1:45.5, counting seconds on my imprecise IWC Spitfire UTC, and I turn a less dramatic but probably not much slower lap myself a few minutes later. We’re only two seconds or so away from the pros, and those last few ticks would certainly arrive if we had more than six laps at Laguna Seca to learn the car. It’s just plain fun to drive.

If only it stopped. Brian’s hot lap takes all the brakes out of the car for mine, and I’m momentarily concerned as I crest the long straight before Seca’s “Corkscrew”. I understand why Ford can’t fit a $5000 brake system to a $40,000 car, but I’d recommend that Boss owners in the real world think about addressing it. Yeah, you can “manage” the brakes, as Ford’s tame drivers do in their media-ride hot laps, but I don’t have to manage brakes in my Porsches and I don’t want to do it in this car, either. That sounds too much like work.

You’ll need to do some work of your own to find a Boss 302. Fewer than four thousand will be available. Do the math and it’s easy to see that some dealers won’t get one to sell. The Laguna Seca edition will represent a small percentage of those. Instant factory collectible. Boo hiss! Talk to your dealer now, rather than later.

At dinner later that evening, a fellow journalist whom I deeply respect expresses his complete lack of enthusiasm for the car. “It’s fast on the track, but it’s a 3600-pound Mustang that costs a lot of money.” I understand his concern. There’s nothing socially relevant about this car. There’s nothing particularly shocking about the idea of another fast ponycar. It doesn’t do anything for the economy, the industry, or the climate. That doesn’t mean I don’t want one, and if you have the chance to drive the Boss, you are likely to want one, too — even if your current car is an M3.

Source: 

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/

Credits:

Wheelsdealers


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Volvo X 60 car of 2013 Attractiveness at his best !!

The 2013 Volvo XC60 is offered with three different drivetrain options: The base model ($34,350) comes with a 3.2-liter inline six cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels and mated to a six-speed automatic; all-wheel-drive can be optioned, however, for $2,000, which will certainly serve cold-climate and mountain-going buyers better. Next in line – and the review model we received – is the T6 ($40,650). Adding some much needed gusto to Volvo’s enigmatic crossover, the T6 cranks out 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six. All-wheel drive is standard, and features the same six-speed transmission found in the base model. 

Of course if it’s Swedish speed you desire, Volvo offers a go-fast version with its T6 R-Design ($44,850). Here horsepower is ratcheted-up to 325 while lb-ft of torque jumps to 354. While we haven’t driven the T6 R-Design yet, the standard T6 provided more than enough pickup for everyday driving. So whatever motoring thrills await the plucky pilot in an R-Design will undoubtedly be even more memorable and satisfying .

Highlights:

  • Zippy turbocharged engine with excellent acceleration
  • Interior layout is functional and comfortable
  • Stylish exterior without being too eccentric

 Low lights:

  • Fuel economy is a little disappointing
  • Safety tech features are hidden away in options and packages
  • Interior is unexciting

Much like the exterior, the inside of this XC60 R-Design is the same as it was before anyone began talking about Polestar. That’s far from a bad thing, though, as we’ve long been fans of the XC60’s unique, elegant and (for the most part) functional interior design. Those who’ve never experienced a Volvo interior will find the design refreshingly simple and the brand’s trademark floating center stack a unique touch. R-Design models are set apart with the addition of blue-ringed gauges; aluminum inserts in the doors, steering wheel and dash, and an attractive two-tone leather seating package with “R-Design” embossed in the seat backs. While we wouldn’t call the cabin warm and cozy, the modern design is attractive and communicates a sense of premium quality.

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Not all is perfect inside the XC60, though. While the controls are as logically laid out as Einstein’s sock drawer, the navigation system is a difficult thing to operate. Lacking a touchscreen, inputs must be made via a single knob on the center console. As if that bottlenecked user interface weren’t enough, the knob that controls the nav system is placed on the far side of the center console (and at a glance looks nearly identical to the center console’s other three knobs), so any operation requires a reach from the driver. The system is still better than the old one that accepted inputs only from a remote control or hidden steering wheel nub, but as infotainment systems begin to weigh more in the decision to buy one vehicle over another, Volvo will find itself out of the running more often if it doesn’t begin offering the latest tech paired with a user-friendly interface.

Volvo is carrying forward the XC60’s current 240-hp, 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine (the sportier T6 models have a 325-horse 3.0-liter turbo six), and the crossover will get Volvo’s Corner Traction Control standard for the 2014 model year. The torque-vectoring system combats understeer by applying braking to the inner wheels while applying power to the outside wheels when accelerating out of a corner. Given our respect for the XC60—it acquitted itself well in a comparo conducted just after its launch, and we enjoyed a stint in the 2012 R-Design model—we won’t complain too loudly that the chassis was largely untouched. We would have loved to see Volvo tweak the steering for more feel, however.

Credits:

caranddriver.com, autoblog.com, digitaltrends.com.

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Jaguar F-Type Roadster Futuristic car

Chevy’s small cars have never really done much to impress. The one in most recent memory, the Aveo, was especially dismal. But GM is out to impress and ask for a second chance with a new subcompact that debuted in 2011. In much of the rest of the world, it’s still marketed as an Aveo, but Chevy must have wanted more of a fresh start with U.S. buyers, so here it is now called the Sonic, and for 2013 customers get the option of the new RS package. This results in a car that certainly looks the part with pretty aggressive styling as well as enough “RS” and “Turbo” badges and look-at-me trim to give it that hot-hatch look. And with a price tag of around $21,000, it also seems like a pretty good deal. The Sonic RS, then, is an eyebrow raiser, but is it more show than go?

The Sonic RS is only offered in five-door form, which is a good thing because the sedan looks pretty mundane and a hatchback rear end matches the rest of this car’s boy racer image. It’s not a look for everyone, but it still comes together pretty well. The front fascia is definitely aggressive and distinctive if not exactly pretty, with new fog lights, a bigger grille, and headlamps that are supposedly “motorcycle-inspired”. The rest of the car is also pretty well-styled for what it is, and it especially looks the part riding on those 17-inch aluminum wheels, an appealing change from the caster wheels that we see on so many small hatchbacks. All in all, the Sonic RS looks pretty good and is distinct enough from the regular car without being overdone.

Only the RS gets the Jet Black interior, which has leather appointed bucket seats up front. There is red stitching throughout, even on the steering wheel which, by the way, is also flat-bottomed. It’s a cool touch that we’re seeing on a lot of GM cars these days, and we like it. As for the rest of the interior, it looks good and feels good for a car that costs this little.

On both the RS and LTZ versions of the Sonic, GM’s MyLink “infotainment” system is standard. It gets you a 7-inch diagonal color screen, Bluetooth streaming audio, voice recognition, and plenty of levels of compatibility. Like always, the MyLink system is easy to use with its simple touch screen format, and anybody familiar with a smart phone shouldn’t take long to get used to it. An app for full-function GPS and navigation is also available.

The front seats aren’t the roomiest in the world, but as far as cargo space goes the Sonic is quite impressive. It has more room in the back than comparable cars like the Mazda 2 and Ford Fiesta, and the rear seats fold just about flat for carrying the more cumbersome things in life. There are also storage compartments in the center stack and doors for the not-so-cumbersome things. It all makes for a well-appointed and practical interior, one that somehow manages to feel sporty and rather usable all at the same time.

Most Sonics get the normally aspirated 1.8 liter Ecotec four-cylinder motor, but a 1.4 liter turbocharged version of the Ecotec was available in the LTZ model last year and this powerplant now comes standard in this year’s RS. With dual overhead cams and variable valve timing the little turbo makes 138 horsepower and 148 lb/ft of torque. That’s not bad for such a small motor, but for a 2,800 pound car that screams boy-racer it just isn’t enough. It may achieve around 34 miles per gallon on the highway, but from the moment you turn the key, there’s a clear bit of disappointment in the grunt department, and even driving it around town leaves you wanting more power and a better sound (or any sound). The chassis is a good one and could certainly handle it, so it frankly feels like a little something is missing. Or, perhaps, we expected too much based on the sizzle thrown up by the trim package.

Simply put, the Sonic RS is indeed more bark than bite. The boy racer exterior writes a check that the running gear can’t cash, and that’s okay. It is a fun car, and certainly a standout from many of the other subcompacts (not to mention more practical than many of them), but it’s not as much car as it could be, and it only takes a drive or two to realize it. And if you don’t need a lot of room in a subcompact there are other, arguably much more exciting 1.4 turbo offerings from Fiat at a dangerously close price. The 500 Turbo is priced right there with the Sonic RS and the hugely popular Abarth can be had for only a couple grand more. And even closer to home is the 1.6 liter Ford Fiesta ST, a car that’s also competitively priced and has four doors but packs around 60 more horsepower than the Sonic.

 

Source:

http://www.sportscardigest.com

 

Credits: 

www.Wheelsdealers.com