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Showing posts from April, 2013

BMW M5 and M6 Competition Package - Packing 575 hp

A few reviews of the BMW M5 haven't been too positive - it has improved as a luxury car but moved further away from the "Ultimate Driving Machine." If you have an M5 or an M6 and you agree with these reviews, BMW might have an answer. Starting with model year 2014, BMW will offer a performance package called the Competition Package.

The package will bump power from 560 hp to 575 hp. Other upgrades include distinct wheels, black exhaust tips, and, more importantly, a revised suspension and a more direct steering ratio. The revised suspension should sharpen up the handling and, judging by the reviews, should be a welcome upgrade to BMW M fans. Top speed will remain governed at 190 mph and 0-60 mph time should drop by 0.1 s to 3.6 s. We'll have to wait for an official release for more details about the suspension upgrades and pricing but, considering that the M5 and M6's aren't set up equally, (full post: BMW M6 Coupe - The Ultimate Twin-Turbo M Car!), it will …

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Pricing - Starts at $51,995

The C7 Corvette Stingray was revealed last January but Chevrolet had yet to announce pricing until a few days ago. MSRP for the coupe will be $51,995 and $56,995 for the convertible, including $995 destination fee. The current but outgoing (C6) Corvette has an MSRP of $50,595 for the coupe and $55,595 for the convertible, including $995 destination fee. This means a price bump of $1,400 for both body styles but you get a lot for the $1,400.

All Stingrays will come standard with "exceptional" seating support, a great improvement over the current one. The seats feature 8-way power adjustment and a lightweight magnesium frame. Other noticeable standard features include:

Five-position Drive Mode Selector7-speed manual transmission with Active Rev MatchingThe all-new 6.2 litre LT1 small block V8 with direct injection, Active Fuel Management, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion systemCarbon fibre hood on all models and removable roof panel on coupesAlumin…

BMW M6 Coupe - The Ultimate Twin-Turbo M Car!

Motor Trend recently went for a test drive of the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe (full post: 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe First Drive). Before the test drive, they had a chat with Maximillan Ahme who is the development chief. He explained that each of the closely related M cars (the lineup of M5/M6) has a unique suspension. Each car gets its own set of springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, and electronic damping system calibrations. This means that they aren't all equal in terms of performance.




So how do they rank? Well, it should be no surprise that the M6 convertible is the least sporty, with the most touring-oriented suspension setup. What was surprising, though, is where the M5 ranks. It's not the top or tied for first spot. It's not even second. It's third - the only car that ranks below the M5 is missing a roof - the M6 Convertible. The M6 Gran Coupe is second and the M6 Coupe takes first place.




The measurable difference in performance between the M5 and the highest ranking M - t…

The "M5 BMW should have built" - A 700 hp Switzer Tuned BMW M5

The "M5 BMW should have built" is what Switzer, the Ohio-based tuner, is calling their P700 BMW M5. The new F10 BMW M5 is far from lacking in the power department, thanks to a twin turbo 4.4 litre V8 making 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The numbers don't tell the complete story though - judging by acceleration test numbers compared to similar cars in the segment with comparable hp ratings, power-to-weight ratios and even some dyno tests, the hp rating is probably closer to what the car makes at the wheels rather than the crank, which is what many people have come to expect from BMW engines. That was not enough for the folks at Switzer Performance though, so they made a few modifications to bring the numbers up a little.




How much is a little? Well, if Switzer is conservative with their power ratings like BMW, then nearly 140 hp. For $6,995, they will take a stock BMW M5 and turn up the boost with a new engine control unit (ECU), replace the stock exhaust with a Switzer…

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Guinness Record Review - A Closer Look

The Guinness organization (responsible for the Guinness Book of World Records) recently reviewed the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's speed record. The car achieved an official (and impressive) top speed of 267.8 mph. However, when Hennessey took his Venom GT for a top speed run - achieving an unofficial top speed of 265.7 mph (about 2 mph shy of the Veyron's) - he pointed out that most Veyron Super Sport's sold to customers have an electronic speed limiter set to 257.8 mph. Only 5 World Record Edition Veyron SS's have the speed limiter disabled. This means that the rest of the cars cannot reach the official top speed of 267.8 mph (without the speed limiter disabled).

Whether this comment was the reason for the review or not, the Guinness organization decided to revisit the record to decide whether or not it still deserves the record. In an official statement, they said: "Following a thorough review conducted with a number of external experts, Guinness World Records …

Hennessey Venom GT Top Speed Run - 0-265.7 mph in 2 miles!

5.9 seconds. That's all it takes the Venom GT to hit 100 mph (160 km/h). To put that into perspective, most cars on the market take longer than 20 seconds to achieve the same feat. Entry level sports sedans and V6 sports cars struggle to break into the 13 second range. V8 sports cars struggle to break the 10 second mark. You get the picture. In fact, the Venom GT currently holds the acceleration record for production cars for going from 0 - 186 mph (300 km/h), doing the deed in just 13.63 seconds. In other words, by the time it takes most sports cars on the road to hit 100 mph, a Venom GT would be going nearly twice that speed - and less than a second later, at 14.51 seconds, it's doing a cool, round 200 mph.





That's all very impressive, especially if you're into the sport and know what it takes to achieve those numbers. But the guys at Hennessey weren't after just acceleration numbers. They wanted the all out top speed crown and they built a car that seems to be ca…

The Snake Strikes Back! SRT Viper Time Attack sets Laguna Seca record.

A while ago, Motor Trend held a comparison between a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (with the ZR1 High Performance Package) and a 2013 SRT Viper GTS (full post: 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 vs 2013 SRT Viper GTS). The soon-to-be out of production Corvette ZR1 didn't only beat the new SRT Viper GTS, but it also took the title of the fastest production car on Laguna Seca - yes, the outgoing ZR1 broke the lap time record for production cars around Laguna Seca. To make matters worse for the SRT team, the last record holder was a Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR. Ralph Gilles, the president and CEO of SRT, wasn't happy to say the least.

Enter the SRT Viper Time Attack - a more hardcore track-ready version of the new SRT Viper (although not as hardcore as an ACR which is still in the works). The Viper TA uses lightweight matte-black Sidewinder II wheels wrapped in sticky R-compound goodness - Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires. They then dial in "significant negative camber" at all 4 corners to …

The Cadillac Escalade Interior Is Going Upscale

Cadillac's lineup just keeps getting better. According to Car and Driver, the next generation Escalade is going to get a unique interior, worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Although the interior in the current Escalade does not look identical to its more humble roots - the Chevrolet Tahoe - and uses more premium materials, they do share a lot of parts and resemblance. It will get a unique instrument panel and centre stack along with unique control knobs and other "design elements."




The treatment doesn't apply to just the Cadillac. The GMC Yukon will also get its unique interior which means that each full size SUV will have its unique interior. Different interior materials will also be used to further differentiate the 3 SUV's - with the Escalade probably getting the most premium materials. According to Mark Reuss, GM's North America president, the next Escalade's cabin will be a significant improvement over the current generation's.

This could mean bad new…

Ford Focus is best selling car in the world - sign of good things to come?

The Toyota Corolla, one of the most boring and bland vehicles on the market, has long been the best selling car in the world. However, according to Polk, after a survey of world new car registration data, the Ford Focus has dethroned the Toyota Corolla as the #1 best selling car in the world in 2012 (full post: Report: Ford Focus is World's Best-Selling car in 2012). Is that a sign of good things to come?

In comparisons and test drive reviews, the Ford Focus is usually praised for its handling - something the Toyota Corolla can't claim. The sales success of the Ford Focus could simply mean good pricing and/or better packaging and options that appealed to more people. However, there is the possibility that people (finally) got tired of driving cars that are designed to simply take you from point A to point B. If that's the case, this could be a sign of good things to come - people Focus-ing on the driving experience aspect of driving and not just minimum functionality.

Toy…

Touchless Carwash Review (Esso)

I went to get a car wash today and I was very unimpressed with the results. I don't like to use automatic car washes. Touchless car washes usually don't clean that well and I worry about scratches at ones that uses brushes. However, we went on a long trip yesterday and there was a lot of dirt and some bird droppings on the car and I couldn't wash it myself. I don't like to leave these sitting on the car so I decided to go for a car wash. I know touchless car washes leave a little behind but today was even worse.






There were bird droppings left on the door sills and above the handles.





On the back, there was dirt left right under the taillight, along the entire length, and it's the same case at the other taillight and under the spoiler.

I'm not really suggesting that this specific car wash (Esso) is bad. I can't clean everything off the car easily while I'm washing it and I can't expect a touchless car wash to clean as well. This is simply the reason w…

Challenger SRT10 or SRT8 ACR to go against the Z/28?

Well, it didn't take long for the SRT team to notice the Camaro Z/28 and respond. At the New York Auto Show, SRT boss Ralph Gilles told Motor Trend that SRT will soon have an answer for the Camaro Z/28. Ralph Gilles said that the Barracuda, the car that is supposed to eventually replace the Challenger, is not that far along so the answer will have to be a variant of the Challenger. No details were given so we're left to speculate as to what upgrades the Challenger will get.

There is one possibility.. and that's an SRT10 Challenger. It has been shown that there's room for a V10 under the hood of the Challenger. The 2011 Dodge Challenger V10 Drag Pack takes a Dodge Challenger and stuffs Mopar's 512 cubic-inch (8.4 litre) V10 crate engine along with a 2-speed automatic transmission and suspension, chassis and interior modifications to prep it for drag racing (for more info, visit: V10 Dodge Challenger revealed: 2011 Mopar Challenger V-10 Drag Pak).

An SRT10 Challenge…

The Camaro Z/28 is back!

The refreshed look of the Camaro that's supposed to keep it hot until the next generation is good for sales. The car looks sharper and the rear ends digs deep into Chevy's heritage - the 1967 Chevrolet Impala.. but what's bound to get a lot of people talking is the beast of a machine that is the Camaro Z/28. Chevy means business with this car. No matter how you look at it, this car screams track-ready performance.

On the outside, a larger front splitter and rear spoiler replace the ones used on the run-of-the-mill SS. Flared wheel arches with nearly flush wheels show that the front and rear tracks have been widened. Lightweight 19" wheels are wrapped in massive 305-series tires and larger brake rotors and callipers are clearly visible. But there are even more changes under all the visible upgrades.




There has been rumours towards the end of last year that the 7.0 litre LS7 V8 used in the Corvette Z06 will find its way under the hood of a Camaro. "Leaked" dat…

2014 Cadillac CTS - There's more of everything!

More luxury, more innovation, more power and higher efficiency. The new Cadillac CTS brings a lot to the table. The car used to be slightly smaller than other midsize luxury cars and slightly more expensive than compact luxury cars. This allowed it to compete in two segments but it was a temporary solution until Cadillac has a proper compact entry. The ATS is now comfortably competing in the compact luxury segment. Since its release, it has accomplished as much as becoming the handling benchmark and growing sales every month it has been on sale except for January of this year. The car is now larger and more expensive to more directly compete with midsize luxury offerings like the BMW 5-series and Mercedes Benz E-class.




On the outside, the design is clearly an evolution of the current CTS. The current edgy design has been rounded off a la the ATS. The headlights and fog lights look a lot like those used on the ATS with longitudinal LED's running along the lengths of the housings. …