Posts tagged performance division
The Christmas season is getting more sideways every year. Recently, Mercedes-Benz and its AMG performance division showed us a new way to cook Christmas cookies, and now rival BMW Switzerland is presenting a new way to speed up seasonal caroling. It put four members of the Zurich Acapella Group in an M135i and instructed them to sing Jingle Bells while driver Martin Tomczyk flogged the hot hatch around the Circuit de L’Anneau du Rhin at the same time.
The result is The Fastest Christmas Song in the World, and you can watch it in the video below. And for you Pinterest fans, the behind-the-scenes photos are pinned all over your favorite online photo album site.
Any luxury automaker worth its burlwood has to have a performance division. BMW has M. Mercedes-Benz has AMG. Audi‘s Quattro GmbH churns out S and RS models. Lexus has the letter F. Cadillac has V. And Infiniti has IPL.
The Infiniti Performance Line launched last summer with the IPL G Coupe, essentially a G37 Coupe that’d been fiddled with for an extra measure of sportiness. Much speculation and anticipation followed as to what the IPL team would do next – leading to rumors over potential tie-ins with Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-AMG – but a Sebastian Vettel edition FX55 notwithstanding, this has been the first follow-up product since.
Previewed in thinly disguised concept form just a month after the coupe’s debut, the IPL G Convertible is set to make its production debut at today’s Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s essentially the same as the coupe, only with the retractable hardtop of the G37 Convertible on which it’s based. The 3.7-liter V6 has had its mapping adjusted and breathing optimized to generate 343 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque – 18 and 6 more than stock, respectively, but 5 and 3 less than the coupe despite more heft to move.
Power is driven to the rear wheels exclusively via a seven-speed paddle-shifting, rev-matching automatic transmission. Other enhancements enacted for the IPL G Convertible include a firmed-up suspension, 14-inch front brakes rotors (13.8 in the rear) with alloy calipers, 19-inch alloys, and a revised aero kit. Only two colors are available – Moonlight White and Malbec Black – while the leather interior can be had in Stone or Monaco Red. Like what you see? Check out the full details after the jump and the high-res images in the gallery for more.
2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible drops its top for LA originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Nov 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
We’ve seen a lot of action from Mercedes-Benz and its AMG performance division this year, most of which concerns replacing the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with the company’s new, more powerful, more efficient twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8. The 5.5 is a great engine, but we’ve lamented the death of the 6.2 for a while now (though Merc is still putting it to good use in the C63 AMG), and the next vehicle to get the 5.5-liter swap is the all-new 2012 ML63 AMG, which makes its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this week.
In standard guise, the ML63 AMG puts down 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, though an optional AMG Performance Package raises those numbers to 550 and 560, respectively. This power is put to the ground via Merc’s AMG Speedshift Plus seven-speed transmission, driving all four wheels in the case of the ML63. The Performance Pack also raises the SUV’s top speed from 155 miles per hour to 174, and the extra grunt reduces the ML63′s 0-to-60-mph time from 4.7 seconds to 4.6.
We like how the AMG design has been grafted onto the new M-Class shape, as the previous model was a bit too bulgy and brash for our tastes. Inside, there’s a standard Designo leather interior, along with a whole slate of high-tech gizmos to keep you safe, comfortable and entertained.
Stay tuned for live impressions direct from Los Angeles later this week. In the meantime, have a look through our attached high-res image gallery, and hit the jump for the official press blast as well as some B-roll video of Merc’s new AMG crossover.
Mercedes-Benz reveals 518-hp ML63 AMG ahead of Los Angeles debut [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Nov 2011 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Engine notes are a funny thing. They don’t add anything to a car’s performance capabilities. They don’t improve emissions or lower fuel consumption. They don’t contribute to ride quality or overall refinement – in fact you could argue just the opposite, at least indirectly. Yet automakers spend a great deal of time and resources to ensure their cars sound just right.
Few engines emit the kind of throaty, raspy burble that a V8 crafted by AMG does. The Mercedes-Benz performance division just makes some of the best sounding engines around. But you don’t have to take our word for it: follow the jump to watch – and more importantly hear – the new C63 AMG Coupe sliding around a wet track – without any background music, voiceover, or even much color to distract from the sweet, sweet sound – of the 6.2-liter, 450-horsepower V8 revving in all its glory.
Hear the glorious 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe all by its lonesome originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 15:12:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
There’s something rotten in the state of Bavaria when BMW‘s M division is more keen to tune out crossovers than roadsters. While the previous-generation Z4 and the Z3 that preceded it both had M versions, the current Z4 has been conspicuously absent from the hall’s of the BMW performance division. That could all change if the bean-counters see a good business case for a Z4 M, but in the meantime we’re reportedly slated to get something even crazier: the V8-powered Z4 GT3.
The competition-spec model loses the folding roof in favor of a fixed one reinforced by a full roll cage. It also gets racing slicks and a much more aggressive aero package. But the fun part is the V8 engine from the outgoing M3, tuned to 480 horsepower and paired with a six-speed sequential gearbox.
Inside Line has it on good authority that the Z4 GT3 will soon be available to privateer racers in America, but it will, of course, be restricted to closed tracks. And considering it costs the equivalent of over $400,000 in Europe, it hardly fills the gap left by the absence of the street-legal Z4 M we’re still pining for.
BMW bringing Z4 GT3 to North America, but still no Z4 M originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It’s been only four years since Renault launched its third-generation Laguna, and one year since the model underwent a facelift. But according to the latest reports the French automaker is getting ready to pull the plug and go back to the drawing board for an all-new replacement. And if our information proves accurate, that could lead to a new sports coupe as well.
The reason for the shift in strategy is that the Laguna just isn’t standing up to the competition – namely the Ford Mondeo. So in order to mount a more substantial challenge, Renault is reportedly collaborating with its partner Nissan on a replacement.
It may be another few years before the Laguna IV (or whatever they choose to call it) is unveiled, but the new platform is reportedly also set to spawn a sportier coupe as well. Quite different in approach from the current Laguna Coupé (pictured above), the new sports model is said to be under development with direct input from Renaultsport – the performance division that’s responsible for the company’s lauded hot hatches. That bodes well for the coupe’s sporting prospects, but whether it warrants the long-rumored revival of the Alpine brand remains to be seen.
Renault heading back to the drawing board for new Laguna originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Sep 2011 08:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
We’re completely smitten with Chrysler’s latest hi-po Hemi, which displaces 6.4 liters and offers up to 470 horsepower and a matching 470 pound-feet of torque in the engine bay of such vehicles as the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. Of course, not everyone can manage a two-door with limited space inside for passengers and cargo, which is why Chrysler has placed the massive lump under the hood of the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 as well.
Inside Line cites “a source close to the project” as saying the Grand Cherokee’s platform sibling, the Dodge Durango, may also be in line for a 470-hp power infusion for 2013. It only makes sense, since the Jeep and the Dodge share major assemblies between them and both offer the same V6 and V8 engines (besides the range-topping SRT8, for now…) and since Dodge has historically been Chrysler’s performance division.
Possibly tipping the scales in the opposite direction, though, is the fact that the Durango R/T, which features a 370-horse version of the Hemi mill, has reportedly not been selling up to expectations. IL also cites pricing as a possible roadblock, since the Jeep SRT8 already tops $50,000 and the Durango SRT8 would likely hit that figure as well, since it would use the same engine, all-wheel-drive system, adjustable suspension and massive Brembo brakes.
As for us, we can think of few better ways to shuffle yourself plus six passengers and their luggage than in a 470-horsepower Durango. And so we ask you: Should Chrysler offer a Dodge Durango SRT8?
As part of the buildup to this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours weekend, Autoblog senior editor Damon Lavrinc is in Monterey with BMW, where he has been able to confirm that the 5 Series will receive a diesel model tuned by the automaker’s M performance division.
Interestingly, the much-rumored high-performance model will probably not be badged as an M5 variant. Instead, it will likely adopt a nomenclature similar to that of the 1 Series M Coupe. Further, because of the diesel’s expected high torque output, the M-tuned diesel 5 Series is likely to be offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. Following traditional BMW naming guidelines, that means the vehicle is likely to get an ungainly moniker like BMW 550d xDrive M or something similar (TheDetroitBureau.com suggests 550dM or 550dXM as other possibilities).
The 3.0-liter tri-turbo’s torque output is likely to be prodigious – perhaps in the neighborhood of 650 pound-feet (the conventional gas M5 makes 500 lb-ft), a figure more commonly associated with heavy duty pickups. Even if you’ve managed to wrap your gray matter around that torque surplus, you’re probably still pondering the idea of a triple-turbo engine. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the new powerplant will be based on the current 3.0-liter diesel we’ve come to know and love, albeit significantly modified, including a unique cylinder head. The engine will make use of a single, small turbo to help avoid lag at launch, coupled with a pair of larger twin-scroll units to augment power at speed. We hear that peak ponies will be down from the M5′s 560-horsepower output, though it is still likely to stay about 500.
Balancing power and economy is a tricky business, especially for Mercedes-Benz and its in-house performance division, AMG. On the one hand, a buyer’s conscience demands improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. But on the other, AMG knows what its customers really want is pure, unadulterated muscle.
Eventually, that dichotomy is expected to amount to the exclusive use of turbochargers across the AMG range, allowing the German automaker to reduce displacement while increasing output. But in the meantime, Affalterbach has found another solution: cylinder deactivation.
The latest AMG powerplant, labeled M152, is based closely on the M157 engine that already powers the new CL63 AMG and its four-door counterpart, the S63 AMG. What makes this engine different, first of all, is the removal of the twin turbochargers. It also makes use of a new air intake, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil system, crankcase and, most importantly, a Formula One-derived cylinder deactivation system that allows it to run – when so selected – on four pistons when conditions don’t require all eight. Click through the jump to continue reading.
Mercedes-Benz details new variable-displacement V8 for SLK55 AMG originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Jul 2011 10:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Chrysler has announced a rash of personnel changes. Ralph Gilles will now serve as the President and CEO of the company’s Street and Racing Technology brand, which be responsible for crafting performance products across the various Chrysler camps. The SRT brand will also take charge of the company’s various motorsports activities. Gilles will still hold onto his duties as head honcho of exterior and interior design.
While SRT has long been familiar to car buyers and enthusiasts, this is the first time Chrysler will treat the performance division as a distinct brand. This probably doesn’t mean that SRT will replace Dodge, Jeep, or Chrysler branding on a particular vehicle, rather, it’s simply an effort to put the company’s SRT projects together under a common head, Gilles.
In addition to the SRT changes, Fred Diaz has been appointed President and CEO of Chrysler de Mexico, and Reid Bigland has taken over duties as President and CEO of the Dodge car brand and head of U.S. sales. Bigland will also continue to serve as President and CEO of Chrysler Canada.
David Buckingham will now fill the newly created Chief Operating Officer of Chrysler Canada position, and Joe ChamaSrour will now report to Mike Manly as part of International Operations for the automaker. Click past the break to view the brief press release.