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2012 New BMW 3-Series

On: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:59AM | By: Peter C Sessler


2012 New BMW 3-Series test 2

Well, it finally happened! The sixth 3-Series from BMW will hit our shores in February 2012. Of course, the new BMW will be restyled but still remains looking like a BMW should with all the usual BMW styling cues, especially the kidney grilles in the front. After all, the BMW 3-Series is the bread and butter of the entire BMW line.

The sixth generation BMW is slightly larger: 3.66 in. longer, with a longer wheelbase, 1.96. in. The noticeable increase in space is definitely a positive change, especially for larger passengers. Given the fact that the car is larger, it actually weighs 88 lbs. less than its predecessor.


Seven Automakers Agree To EV Charging Standard

On: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 9:17AM | By: Chris Weiss


Seven Automakers Agree To EV Charging Standard test 2

Think about the past several cell phones that you've had. If they were different models from different manufacturers, chances are good that each model had an entirely different charging port. Now think about your laptop, tablet computer, MP3 player, e-reader, and other portable electronics—they all have different types of charging ports. So when you go on vacation with several of them, you have an entire section of your suitcase filled with different adapters.

Now imagine a world where every portable consumer electronics device has the same type of charging hardware. You could bring all your favorite gadgets wherever you need to go, invite all your friends to do the same, and bring a single adapter or two to charge them all. While cell phone makers have made some progress toward a universal charging standard, we have yet to see it trickle down.

Luckily, the auto market is being more proactive. Seven major automakers agreed to universal EV charging hardware this week, meaning that you won't need any special kind of adapter to charge your vehicle and public charging stations won't need to invest in seven different types of chargers.


Bentley Going W-12 And V-12 In SUV

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Weiss


Bentley Going W-12 And V-12 In SUV test 2

Wolfgang Durheimer is clearly a man that likes to distinguish his vehicles as the best of the best. That's good, because he happens to head two of the world's most exclusive auto brands: Bugatti and Bentley. Reports recently indicated that Durheimer was unsatisfied with the Bugatti 16C Galibier and sent the already extreme sedan back to engineers for more power and more interior roominess to ensure it separated itself from other ultra-premium and tuned sedans.

That same uncompromising attitude is ensuring that the upcoming Bentley SUV (which hopefully doesn't look too much like Autocar's artist rendering above) will stand head and shoulders above the rest of the sport utility riff-raff as the most luxurious option on the road.


Disturbing Trends: Drivability

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 2:13PM | By: Chris Salamone


2010 Lincoln MKT test 2

Ahh, the Lincoln MKT. Equipped with a 3.5L V-6 EcoBoost, this poster child of US-inspired drivability achieves a combined 18 mpg and, in the words of Edmunds.com, "the MKT's size and weight make it anything but sporting." So, what's wrong with this picture?

As time goes on, the auto industry has made great leaps and bounds in technology, performance, and design. Even so, there remains a group of trends in the United States which neither improves driving nor contributes to the advancement of automobiles in general. We tend to call these trends ‘American preferences’, which is basically a polite name for corporations pretending to adapt to local customs while not shouldering the burden of influencing the market as a whole.

Although general mechanics have vastly improved over the last century, certain mechanical trends continue to negatively impact the drivability of cars sold in the US. Picture the BMW 3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel engine. When equipped with a manual transmission, it’s capable of jumping from 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds and impressive fuel economy. Which would you rather have, that BMW Inline-6 or a slower, less efficient Ford V-6 EcoBoost? The lesson: drivability is more important than fancy brand labeling which conjures images of somehow quickly saving the environment.


 

B-J Unloads A Few Mindfreaked-With Customs For The Magicial Criss Angel (& "JD"!)

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 1:00PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by (embarassed) author test 2

Welcome to the 200th installment of my series, “I Am in the Wrong Line of Work.” Today’s topic: What the hell’s so freaking special about magicians?

Now I’m not saying that automotive writers don’t get their fair share of the ladies, it’s just that those damn key-swallowing, hand-waving weirdos get way more than theirs. [Sure, maybe those multi-pierced, wannabe Goth/Emo girls aren’t what I’d be looking for, but it hurts me that they never even offer.]

What does this have to do with cars, you ask? Plenty. See, this "Criss Angel" dude—like that’s really the name his mom gave him—decided to unload a few of his “Mindfreak” vehicles at the last Barrett-Jackson sideshow in Vegas—naturally—so now I get to unload a little on him, too.

Let’s see Mr. Magicpants escape from my Tomb of Scathing Invectives!


BMW Z4 sDrive 28i: The Rich Man's Miata?

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 11:35AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


BMW Z4 sDrive 28i: The Rich Man's Miata? test 2

Maybe I'm just growing up, or maybe I'm just understanding the world a little better these days, or just maybe it's a little bit of both. When I wasn't much younger than I am now, I thought that everyone who was into cars had to love big horsepower, loud exhausts, and blaring from stoplight to stoplight. I thought that loving to drive meant that you had to be able to do a big, smokey burnout – that was essentially a member's card for the car club I was in. That's not to say I have done anything like that in almost a decade, but I certainly have had the ability to -- just in case the need ever arose.  But now, I see that not every route home from work has to be measured a quarter mile at a time. 

I also have come to the realization that not every car needs to have 400-horsepower to be respected, and that some cars can offer up a sporty, fun drive, even if they aren't the fastest ones out there. Beyond that, I now see that there are plenty of guys (and girls) out there that are in much different circumstances, and stages of life than I am. Some of those guys have had their big horsepower cars, and now just want something fun to drive (and have amassed a bit more disposable income than I currently possess). Enter the 2012 BMW Z4 sDrive 28i -- the car that every one of those guys (and everyone else that can afford it) should take a look at before making any decisions about a next car.


Mazda Says Its Working 'Zealously' On A New Rotary

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 10:28AM | By: Chris Weiss


Mazda Says Its Working 'Zealously' On A New Rotary test 2

Mazda announced the final special edition RX-8 last week, and in a farewell tweet to the rotary-driven, RWD sports coupe, the company started a whole new set of rumors about the future of the rotary engine. It said in its tweet (as pieced together through Google Translate) that it is working hard on new models to house the next-generation rotary engine.


Ford To Build Smaller V-6 And Bigger V-8

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford To Build Smaller V-6 And Bigger V-8  test 2

Earlier this week, some Ford/United Auto Workers contracts leaked onto the Web. While only the most dedicated auto journalists would be interested in the i's and t's of the worker agreements, the rest of us are interested in the details about Ford's upcoming products that they included. Key among those products are two new engines to be developed: a 5.8-liter V-8 engine for the Mustang Shelby GT500 and a 2.5- to 3.0-liter V-6 engine with direct injection and turbocharging.


Ferrari CEO: Enzo To Get V-12 And Carbon Fiber Chassis

On: Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 3:33PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari CEO: Enzo To Get V-12 And Carbon Fiber Chassis test 2

One of the car's on our "can't wait" list is the Ferrari Enzo successor, which will debut next year. The car will reignite the F40, F50, Enzo blood line and promises to be one of the most exciting supercar debuts of 2012.

Given the excitement surrounding the flagship sports car, there has been no shortage of rumors and speculation on the model. Rumors have typically ping-ponged between the Enzo successor going with a V-12 engine ,as its last predecessor had, or digging down deeper into the playbook and reintroducing a twin-turbo V-8 like the F40 used. Well, according to Ferrari chief Amedeo Felisa, it's all V-12.


2014 Acura NSX Going Hybrid?

On: Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 2:04PM | By: Chris Weiss


2014 Acura NSX Going Hybrid? test 2

In August, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito admitted to the long-rumored NSX revival, adding at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the company is looking to build a new type of NSX with a dramatic power-to-weight ratio. According to new reports, Honda's next-gen NSX will launch in 2014 and may feature a hybrid powertrain.

According to an Auto Express report, the 2014 NSX will combine two Honda projects into one. The car will get design influence from an Acura-badged supercar to appear in the upcoming Avengers movie (spied in NY's Central Park in the picture above). A car similar to the movie car will sit atop an all-wheel-drive, hybrid platform inspired by the 2001 Dual Note 4WD concept, which featured a 3.5-liter V-6 gas engine driving the rear wheels and two, wheel-mounted electric motors up front. The engine and motors combined for around 400 hp in that concept.


FINALLY! Enough Woodies And Wagons To Have Brought Big-ish Bucks At Auction (But Didn't). Thanks For Trying, Mecum!

On: Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 12:38PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by author test 2

You have NO idea how badly this “wagon guy” wanted to cover his favorite body style in one of these features, and thanks to Mecum’s Oct. 6-8 sale, I can.

The ratio of sales vs. non-sales on the ten lots offered wasn’t in sellers’ favor—$108,500 vs. $130,500, respectively—but not for a lack of variety. Ranging from a 1926 Ford to a ’79 Mini Clubman—with representatives from nearly every country and time period in between—most everyone could’ve had the five-door of their dreams.

[Except me. But I already have two of them, and that’s enough for now. Or so my wife says. I, on the other hand…]