BMW M holds another exclusive event for European journalists. At the Wachauring Racetrack in Austria, the entire M fleet was put through paces by the eager and adrenaline-loaded journalists. Along with the new BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible, M3 Coupe, M5, X5 M, X6 M, or the M135i, another unique M car made an appearance: the E30 M3, one of the most iconic cars ever built by BMW.
The event kicked off with a drifting competition on wet skidpad, followed by an xDrive demonstration where the heavy, yet powerful X5 M and X6 M showed the capabilities of the rear-drive-biased xDrive system.
Next the M folks gave the journalists a chance to experience a scenic drive aboard some of the best Grand Tourers on the market, the M6 Coupe and Convertible. The final step on this M journey were some hot laps around the track aboard all the M cars available.
Final conclusion? Some believe that the M3 is still king in the M family, a car made for those that enjoy pure, raw driving, and occasional tracking.
The Ford Fusion hybrid won the first annual Canadian Green Car Award.
The award, selected by a panel of expert members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), was announced Friday, April 12, at the Green Living Show, in Toronto, Canada.
The Ajac said the competition aims to recognize vehicles with the potential for strong environmental benefits and to provide consumers with authoritative information about them.
“We are extremely proud that the 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid has been honored by our country’s top automotive journalists as the recipient of the inaugural Canadian Green Car Award,” said Steve Ross, Ford of Canada’s product marketing manager, sustainability and electrification. “The Fusion hybrid is an important vehicle in the Ford line-up, delivering leading fuel-economy, innovative technologies and a sleek, desirable design for eco-conscious consumers.”
The Fusion hybrid was among five finalists for the award from 15 environmentally advanced vehicles nominated by their manufacturers.
This group also included the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Hyundai Sonata hybrid, Mazda’s Mazda3 highly efficient internal-combustion compact and Volkswagen’s turbocharged clean diesel Jetta.
The competition not only emphasized fuel economy and emissions, but also considered other environmental features within each vehicle – for example, use of recycled or naturally sourced materials – and steps each manufacturer has taken to green its operations. Equally important, it assessed market potential – factors such as build quality, driving experience, overall features, availability, general consumer appeal and price.
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I’m not married. Nor do I have any kids, a 401K, a mortgage, and an underlying fear for discoloring hair and sagging body parts invoked by the stress of a nine-to-fiver and coming home some to juniors running around…yet (no offense). But all in all, I pretty much seem like the worst candidate to be reviewing the all-new and completely redone 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe. And that’s because, majority of the people in the market for a crossover SUV are left with options that only blend you into the mainstream automotive hodgepodge. It’s the kind of market that me, being the youthful college upperclassman that I am, seeks to avoid simply because I am by virtue, the complete antithesis to the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe’s intended market.
But the company as a whole has certainly reaffirmed its footprint in the automobile industry as of recent, representing one of the greatest automotive turnarounds of the new millennium. So that said, even my youthful self was curious to see how Hyundai’s efforts paid off with their latest model, the redesigned 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Pedantic individuals would keenly note from the pictures alone that this new Santa Fe is, well, a little bit on the big side. And that’s because it is. The original Hyundai Santa Fe was originally classified as a compact SUV when compared to its peewee subcompact sibling, the Tucson. Over the course of time, the Hyundai Santa Fe grew over time from market demand, but it essentially still remained a compact crossover—and that’s something that this particular 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, isn’t.
Long renowned for its benchmark offroad capability in the compact SUV class, the Suzuki Grand Vitara Urban Navigator trades bush-bashing prowess for – as the name suggests – a focus on urban utility, being only two wheel drive.
As the badge also suggests, the Urban Navigator gets satellite navigation as standard equipment, in addition to climate control, both unique features for an SUV that retails with a standard automatic transmission for $ 29,990 driveaway.
Although the Urban Navigator sends drive to just two wheels, unlike the rest of the compact SUV cohort that power only the front wheels, this Suzuki Grand Vitara is rear-wheel drive.
That means no wheelspin when quickly moving away from the traffic lights in the rain, but equally it doesn’t translate to the sparkling dynamics for which the rear-wheel-drive layout is commonly known.
The 2.4-litre four cylinder petrol engine is the same unit used in the Suzuki Grand Vitara Sport and Prestige four-wheel-drive models, producing 122kW of power at 6000rpm, and 225Nm of torque at 4000rpm – about average for this class of car.
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Volvo has officially announced a new family of four-cylinder engines, which they internally call the Volvo Engine Architecture. What? Were you expecting “Super Awesome I-WANNA-RACE Engine Line?” C’mon, this is Volvo we’re talking about.
These new VEA engines are Volvo’s first foray into standardizing direct-injection for their diesel and gas engines. Additionally, the VEA engine family consists of Volvo’s patented i-ART technology, which is described to be a system that “continuously monitor(s) and adapt(s) fuel injection per combustion in each of the four cylinders.”
“Increasing the rail pressure to an exceptionally high 2,500 Bar, while adding the i-ART technology, can be described as the second step in the diesel revolution. It is a breakthrough comparable to when we invented the groundbreaking lambda sensor for the catalytic converter in 1976. It’s another world-first for Volvo,” said Volvo’s vice president for powertrain engineering, Derek Crabb.
Volvo’s VEA engine family will hit showrooms in fall of this year, though Volvo didn’t specificy which cars will see the new engines first. Nor was there any word about Volvo intent on importing these engines on the North American-bound Swedish lunch boxes.
There is something inherently intriguing about stealth and subterfuge. Especially when that intrigue takes the form of a car. When eyes slowly examine your car at the lights, trying to catch a glimpse of what is hidden underneath that unassuming shell of aluminum and steel. I am, of course, talking about the much attempted, yet rarely perfected art form of the “sleeper”. A car that, to an an unassuming eye, wouldn’t look any more out of the ordinary than sand at the beach. But upon closer inspection, would reveal something very sinister indeed.
German luxury manufacturers have quite a successful record of creating these types of cars over the past few decades, what with BMW’s M-division, Audi’s RS line and the bonkers AMG boys over at Mercedes (has anybody told them they’re basically building muscle cars?). Although, I would argue that most people have begun to expect performance from an M-badged BMW, but do they expect it from a 7-Series? A car that, from all outward appearances, looks as normal as any other luxury car. Well, I wouldn’t be so sure.
BMW has owned Rolls-Royce, the British purveyor of all things luxury, for nigh on two decades now. And as such business deals go, a crossover is only to be expected between the two marques. In all honesty, it would be a wasted investment otherwise. Before I get accused of digressing unbearably far from the main topic of this piece, there is a reason for the short history lesson. And it is a simple one: the BMW 760Li and Rolls-Royce Ghost, for all intents and purposes, share more similarities than your local Rolls Royce salesman would like to admit. But all this fluff about the two cars sharing the same chassis and engine essentially boils down to one thing: the crossover between Rolls and BMW has made the 2013 760Li one of the best luxury cars on the market today. And one of the most overlooked.
As with all luxury cars in this day and age, you come to expect a certain level of gratuitous luxury, especially when you are sat square in the driver’s seat of the most expensive car BMW makes. At just a hair over $ 140,000, taxes and delivery charges withheld, the 760Li is appointed unlike any other car in BMW’s line up. The best analogy to describe the experience is a rather simple one — no matter what you wear while driving, you will feel underdressed. For all intents and purposes, you are driving a Manhattan penthouse that can, at your bidding, get you across town at 155 mph.
Words and photos: Shawn Molnar
I submit to you that I cannot afford a brand new F10 M5. Regrettably so. Of course, I aspire to own one – now more than ever, after spending seven blissful days at the helm of the world’s favorite 4-doored supercar.
I’ve driven plenty of supercars, but few get my heart racing like the M5. I don’t know what it is – you’d think that strapping into an R-comp wrapped and track prepped Nissan GTR or tuned Porsche 911 would get my heart beating faster – but few cars have ever raised my beats per minute (human-speak for rpm) like the M5 has – particularly when at rest.
I still fondly recall my trip to Seville, Spain, wherein I had the opportunity to thoroughly and definitively test BMW’s M5 monster. I flew in a week early to take in the sights, smells and tastes of Spain’s southern-most historical city. Having been occupied by Arab populations until they withdrew to Morocco in 1248, Seville (pronounced ‘Seh-Vee-Yaa’) is styled in Moroccan fashion, with unique architecture from wall to wall. Being on the 37th parallel, Seville receives the hottest of summers, sizzling the sidewalks and any who dare stray from the shadows. For this reason, the Arab architects intelligently built the city accordingly, with very narrow streets framed by tall buildings. This construction method shields pedestrians from the pounding sun while walking about town.
“…few cars have ever raised my beats per minute (human-speak for rpm) like the M5 has.”
In a civil planning quagmire, the streets intersect at awkward angles and at odd distances, so you never quite know what direction you’re heading, lest you keep your mirror compass at your nose. Thankfully, the locals are quite friendly, and eager to help you find your way. In fact – hopping on a bus to the historical city, I was already a little lost in my maps. I noticed a couple whom appeared to be of local citizenship, and I stuck up conversation with them. They were very kind and offered me directions – then unexpectedly jumped off the bus with me at the recommended stop. They continued hopping buses with me, and guiding me until I found myself with them, walking down one of the aforementioned narrow alleyways, enclosed by tall, stucco-covered walls.