Category Archives: Performance

BMW Showcases 2018 X3, Introduces M40i Model

BMW has a good thing going with its hot selling X3 SAV. Based on the equally successful 3 Series sedan, the X3 has proven to be a strong draw for young families during its production run. BMW aims to keep it that way with the revamped 2018 BMW X3.

The exterior styling retains elements of the current design that many buyers have come to love, but slightly increases the overall proportions. In fact, thanks to tweaks made to the vehicle packaging, BMW engineers were able to stretch the wheelbase 2.2 inches which helps open up more room in the X3’s interior.

Despite the rather discreet suit of clothes, BMW didn’t want the sport portion of the X3’s purpose blurred, and has added several dynamic touches to keep that from happening. This includes sharper full LED headlights, as well as a muscular hood that draws eyes to the all new 3D front grille which is the first time it has made an appearance on a “X” model. Rounding out the changes are tweaked tail lights, as well as a pair of exhaust tips.

 

A key feature that is a relative rarity in the broader crossover segment is its perfect 50:50 weight distribution, which works with the chassis to help make the X3 more honed and agile than before. The bulk of X3 buyers will most likely not take their vehicles off road, but for just the occasion, BMW has equipped the SAV with a dynamic stability control system that can adjust the power split between all the wheels to ensure maximum traction on all surfaces.

 

The interior of the 2018 X3 carries on the exterior’s theme of familiarity, but it has a few new tricks that help it stay relevant to buyers. This includes an all new three zone climate control system as well as individually adjustable angle for the 40:20:20 split/folding rear seats. Occupants can also remotely fold the seats from the trunk to boost cargo capacity to 62.7 cubic feet.

The X3 will arrive globally with a host of engine choices, but buyers in the U.S. will only have two models to choose from at launch, the xDrive30i and the performance tinged M40i. The xDrive30i replaces the old xDrive28i, and is motivated by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine which makes 248 horsepower (a gain of 8) and 258 lb-ft of torque with all the power being channeled to all four wheels through an eight speed automatic transmission. It’s also capable of making the sprint to 60 mph in six seconds before topping out at 130 mph. However for buyers that crave even more horsepower, the M40i should be enough to satiate their needs. The first M labeled X3 ever produced, it gets its grunt from the bigger 3.0 liter inline six that produces 355 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque. An eight speed automatic also manages power, and launches the M40i to 60 mph in a brisk 4.6 seconds as well as a final top speed of 155 mph.

After the 2018 X3 makes its launch, the engine lineup will grow with the possible addition of a diesel model as well as an all electric version with the latter not arriving till 2020. As expected, the xLine design package is standard issue for all 2018 X3s, but buyers can opt for the “Luxury” package that brings several minor changes to the X3 including a shinier grille, revised interior upholstery, and two tone bumper trim finishers. An M Sport package brings up the rear, and offers a beefier look, as well as bigger 20-inch rims.

Like its predecessor, the 2018 X3 will be built in the United States at BMW’s Spartanburg facility where it will share the line with the X4, X5, X6, as well as the recently confirmed X7.

 

 

2018 GT Stinger

Kia Rules Out Range Topping Stinger GTR, Says Its Too Early To Go All In

While the Kia Stinger has yet to fully complete its distribution to all of the world’s markets, Kia is already shedding some light on potential variants of the already desirable liftback, including perhaps a range topping performance model that would slot above the current GT model, and possibly adopt the GTR moniker.

These revelations come from Albert Biermann the chief exec behind the company’s performance models during a recent interview with the folks at Motoring magazine. Biermann revealed that while “The car technically has more potential no doubt” the reason why Kia has not introduced any variants of the Stinger yet is actually very simple and straightforward.

According to Biermann before the company can introduce a “GTR or something” Kia has to know how  the current iterations of the Stinger will do in terms of overall sales, as well as their long term sustainability in the broader marketplace. Biermann also revealed that Kia needs to identify the customer base for the car, and after that it will then make its mind up on whether there should be a spicier version of the Stinger for buyers that want to have even more performance than the current range topping model, the Stinger GT.

With that said, it appears that for the moment, the Stinger GT (which is the fastest accelerating car Kia has ever produced) will remain the flagship version. As for U.S. buyers, the StingerGT will arrive in our country by the end of the year in either rear or all-wheel drive with a 3.3 liter biturbo V6 producing 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to propel the car to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds, so look for the proposed performance model (whenever it arrives) to shave some seconds off of that figure as well as a higher top speed than the GT’s 167 mph.

Source: Motoring

Mercedes-AMG Showcases Limited Edition GT3 Edition 50

Mercedes is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its AMG performance in bold fashion and has unveiled the limited edition of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer as part of the broader festivities.

Dubbed the AMG GT3 Edition 50, this special edition model is based off of the standard GT3 race car which was first introduced to the world two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show. Unlike that model however, the AMG GT3 50 features everla unique upgrades that aim to make it standout on the race track. For starters, the Edition 50 is bathed in a “real black” color which is actually a slick matte black finish. The appearance of this color is the first time that an AMG car has ever been equipped with this type of paint.

Each door features a “50 YEARS OF DRIVING” logo made out of carbon fiber, and even the seat belts get in on the act thanks to a stitched “AMG 50 YEARS OF DRIVING” emblem. Other than these minor tweaks, the bulk of the styling is largely unchanged which is a good thing given how sinister it already looks.

The performance hardware also carries over largely unchanged with the 6.2 liter “hand built” V8 still lurking under the hood. However, AMG engineers have slightly tweaked the exhaust system, and the Edition 50 sidelines the restrictor plates, which in turn increases power. While this may hinder its ability to be raced on some circuits, we are confident that the extra noise and velocity will be appreciated by both owners and racing fans.

As a bonus, each AMG GT3 Edition 50 will be delivered to buyers at AMG’s  headquarters in Affalterbach with buyers also having the opportunity to participate in a one on one racetrack coaching session to allow them to better wield their potent track weapons when thrashing them around the twists and turns of the world’s racing circuits. They will also be able to do so with impeccable timing thanks to the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” watch that will be provided by IWC Schaffhausen.

Buyers looking to add an Edition 50 GT3 to their paddock will have to contend with the biggest difference between it and the normal GT3, volume. Unlike the “standard” GT3, Mercedes will produce only five examples of the Edition 50 with each example arriving with its own distinct number plaque.

BMW 8 Series Concept Leaks Ahead of Debut

The BMW 8 Series Concept was not supposed to make its debut for another few hours, but thanks to a few leaked images, we get a compelling glimpse at whats in store for BMW’s flagship coupe.

While the quality of the images is not the sharpest, it does reveal that the posh coupe will adopt a relatively fresh design, with slender headlights and a bolder interpretation of the twin kidney grille accenting the front fascia. The bulging hood adds a hint of menance, with the lower front bumper featuring beefy cooling vents.

The side profile features a prominent crease, and the elegant roofline flows seamlessly into the lip of the rear mounted spoiler. The concept also eschews door handles, though we suspect those items will ultinately reappear in the production car for safety and cost reasons. Big wheel arches house large multi-spoke alloy wheels, and yellow brake calipers nicely contrast the blue body.

The rear fascia doubles down on its high tech theme, and features wide tailights that incorporate slick L-shaped graphics as well as a rear bumper that features prominent side vents, as well as trapazoid shaped exhaust tips.

Look for BMW to formally introduce the 8 Series Concept later today at the Concorso d’Eleganza Ville Este before launching the production version next year. Look for the interior to also make its debut later today, and showcase its high levels of opulence and technology.

Source: Autotijd.be

2018 Dodge Demon Priced, Tears Up The Strip At $85k

When Dodge first unleashed the limited production 840 horsepower Dodge Demon at the New York Auto Show, the brand promised to deliver a drag strip experience at a price below $100,000. Admittably, we were a bit skeptical at first, but Dodge has followed through on its word, and delivered the goods.

In fact, Dodge delivered in spades, with the 2018 Dodge Demon featuring a base price of $84,995. This includes the $1700 gas guzzler tax, but not the $1,095 destination fee. Furthermore, many of its options are better deals than the bargain sales at many thrift stores, with each one only costing $1

This includes the Demon Crate as well as more basic additions such as the front passenger seat, rear passenger seat, as well as carpeting for the trunk to make the Demon more civilized (if you must…) Otherwise we recommend indulging yourself with the contents of the forementioned Demon Crate. They include the drag spec front wheels and tires, conical air filter, as well as the PCM and replacement instrument panel switch to unlock the full 840 horsepower wielded by the tricked out V8.

Dodge will also offer 15 diffrent paint colors, and even offer a full leather interior and premium audio system, though look for those two items to hurt the Demon’s performance somewhat.

Overall the grand total adds up to $86,094 when the Demon has its performance and basic occupant friendly options installed. This is a hefty price to pay for a Dodge Challenger at first glance, but considering all the drag spec gear it possesses straight from the factory, the prospect doesn’t seem so crazy. Especially since its the only factory ready drag car with a full factory warranty including a five year/60,000 mile warranty for the powertrain.

BMW Confirms Return Of 8 Series

Following on the heels of BMW’s quiet axing of the 6-Series coupe, the German car maker revealed that it is breathing new life into its long dormant 8-Series moniker in a bid to renew its push into the large luxury coupe market.

For those unfamiliar with the 8-Series, it originally appeared in 1989, and was designed to cater to big coupe buyers looking for a distinctive alternative to the 6-Series. However, its glitchy electronics, as well as the global recession in the 1990s, caused sales to plummet before it was mercifully pulled from the U.S. in 1997, and from Europe in 1999.

BMW accompanied this announcement with a lone teaser image that showcases a sleek side profile, as well as wide rear hips and a raked roofline. These traits are promising, especially since the 8-Series is expected to renew its focus on style and flair. Look for the new model to embrace plenty of cues from the Gran Lusso concept which made its apperance back in 2013, and wowed audiences with its stunning good looks.

BMW claims that the concept in the teaser image is a design study, but expect minimal changes when it makes the transistion to production, and arrive on dealer lots in 2018. A higher price tag will also be part of the package given its status as a flagship offering.

Look for the 7-Series to play a key role in the car’s devlopment, with much of its technology and even its V12 engine making the jump into the bigger 8-Series. The model could also spawn Gran Coupe and M8 versions, though plans for these models are mere rumors at this point.

With the confirmation of the 8- Series, the Mercedes S-Class coupe will have a new rival in its niche segment, and it could very well become a three way fight if seperate rumors of an Audi A9 are indeed true.

 

Rezvani Prices 2018 Beast Alpha, Costs Under $100k

When Rezvani first introduced the 2017 Beast Alpha at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November, we were intrigued by its removable targa top, as well as the 500 horsepower engine lurking under its elegantly sculpted hood. However, its $200,000 price tag was not so praise worthy. Thankfully it appears change is in the air with the release of a lone teaser image that hints at a massive price cut for the 2018 Beast, as well as other changes that aim to make the boutique supercar offering standout when compared alongside its more mainstream peers.

CEO Ferris Rezvani has high hopes for the 2018 Beast with the enthusiastic chief claiming that the Beast Alpha will be “a Porsche killer, but with even more focus on the enthusiast.”Rezvani went on to say that the 2018 model year will bring a unique series of features that are tailored to a more mainstream customer, while still maintaining the race car like level of performance and exotic design. It would also do this at a lower price with Rezvani revealing that the updated Beast Alpha would start at under $100,000.

Technical specifications for the 2018 Beast Alpha have not been unleashed as of this writing, but the 2017 Beast Alpha has a mere curbweight of 1,950 lbs which is achieved thanks to a body crafted out of carbon fiber as well as a Lotus derived aluminum monocoque material. A heavily modified 2.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine delivers 500 horsepower, and can scoot the Beast Alpha to 60 mph in a blistering 3.2 seconds thanks to its optional sequential automatic transmission (3.5 when equipped with the standard six speed manual.)

The California company is already accepting pre-orders for the 2018 Beast Alpha for enthusiasts that are eager to get their hands on the car ahead of its official debut, which is expected to take place sometime during the second quarter of the year. Early adopters will have to shell out a refundable deposit of $1,000 to be put on the waiting list, however we think its worth it, especially to experience the trick sliding sidewinder doors first hand.

 

Lincoln Ups The Luxury SUV Game With 2017 Navigator

The Lincoln Navigator has been the perfect representation of Lincoln’s fortunes in recent years. When it first appeared in 1997, it literally set the luxury SUV segment ablaze with its slick (for the era) styling as well as its copious amounts of luxury.

All seemed well, that is, until the second generation Escalade came along. The big Caddy quickly outpaced the Navigator in sales, and as a result, the big Lincoln (as well as the brand that supported it) fell further and further behind in relevance. Lincoln understands how crucial the Navigator is to its identity, and has pulled out all the stops to make it shine once again.

The exterior styling will be the first thing that many observers will notice when looking at the 2017 Navigator in full detail. Wheras its predecessor had the elegance of a tacky pair of hoop earrings, the latest Navigator embraces an all new design, and the end result is very stunning to look at. The front fascia borrows the mesh grille from the Lincoln Continental and the big Lincoln star emblem softly glows when the driver walks up to it. The light show is part of a multi stage welcoming routine that also illuminates lights in the lower front fascia, taillights, as well as the puddle lamps. The Navigator also features adaptive headlights that vary their intensity depending on vehicle speeds. Like the Expedition, the Navigator features aluminium body panels which help reduce weight, and also increase its fuel economy.

The interior of the Navigator was designed to embody Lincoln’s “Quiet Luxury” principle, and it is a soft lush space, filled with high end materials, and three rows of ambient lighting. Like the Continental, the Navigator can be equipped with Lincoln’s all new 30-way perfect position seats that offer heating, cooling, and massage elements. The second row seats can be equipped either as a full bench or separate captains chairs. Meanwhile, the third row seats feature power recline technology to help free up room for passengers especially bigger ones.

Rear seat occupants also have an extensive suite of entertainment at their disposal thanks to the dual 10.0 inch screens on the front seatbacks. They can play media streamed from paired Android devices while Sling Media users can receive TV channels through the system. Audiophiles will also be pleased to know that the top tier sound system is a potent 20-speaker Revel II system. Lincoln’s Black Label trim plays a key role in the 2018 Navigator and is the top tier offering in the Navigator lineup. In addition to the standard Black Label trim, the Navigator also has two model exclusive Black Label variants that bring unique design touches to the interior.

Performance for the 2018 Navigator comes from a revised version of the 3.5 liter EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 that Lincoln claims is good for 450 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. These figures are roughly on par with the Ford Raptor, and the Navigator also utilizes the same 10-speed automatic to shunt all that power to either the rear or all four wheels.

It will be interesting to see if all these updates can help brighten the Navigator’s sales fortunes once it enters full production. For perspective, Cadillac sold over 27,000 Escalades last year, while Lincoln only sold 10,000 Navigators despite the old model being $11,000 cheaper than the $78,000 MSRP wielded by the base Escalade.

Dodge Unveils 840 Horsepower Drag Strip Slaying Demon

After keeping the world captivated with twelve long weeks of captivating teasers, Dodge has finally unleashed its drag strip slaying monster on the world, the 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon.

Dodge used its pre-autoshow conference to cement its image as a performance brand with swagger, and in an age where a renewed quest for horsepower is once again in full swing, the Demon represents a tactical nuclear strike on the muscle car segment.

It all starts with the engine which has been heavily upgraded in its bid for dragstrip superiority. While it does share its basic architecture with the standard 6.2 liter Hellcat engine, the Demon’s engine is an outright evolution that goes beyond simply being a Hellcat with more boost. While a bigger 2.7 liter supercharger does deliver 14.5 pounds of boost, other upgrades include dual two stage fuel pumps, numerous reinforced engine components, as well as a larger air box with three different sources of air flow (Air Grabber hood, driver side air catcher headlamp, and a special inlet near the wheel liner.

The end result of all this mad engineering is 840 horsepower on 100-octane gasoline (808 on standard grade gas), and while the former figure is a bit short of the rumored 1,000 plus horsepower that was pitched prior to its debut. It is still a sizable boost in power from the already ridiculous 707 horsepower wielded by the standard Hellcat Challenger. It also curb stomps other high horsepower offerings including the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the Shelby GT350 Mustang, as well as the supercar-esque Corvette Z06. An eight speed automatic transmission is the sole transmission offering here, but it has also been beefed up for Demon duty, and helps the demonic Challenger burn its way to a 2.3 second 0 to 60 time as well as an equally impressive 9.65 second quarter mile time. This time was officially confirmed by the National Hot Rod Association, which subsequently banned the Demon from official competition, due to safety reasons.

An extensive crash diet also defines the Demon, and it is highlighted by two absent pieces of equipment, the passenger seats. You heard that right, in a bid to shed maximum weight, Demon engineers took out both the front passenger seat and the rear bench seat which truly makes it a driver-centric experience. It also reminds us of the Lamborghini Egoista concept in this regard, with that particular concept also embracing a one seat only layout when it was unveiled a few years ago.

Unlike that one-off Italian, Dodge will let buyers outfit the production Demon with both seats (if they must), for a reasonable sum, with FCA head of passenger cars Tim Kuniskis jokingly claiming that each seat would cost $1 on the options list. The interior otherwise retains much of the basic elements that define the standard Challenger Hellcat, albeit an environment that lacks sound deadening, various interior trim pieces, as well as the removal of all but two of the speakers for the stereo system. We are fine with this latter item since the engine should be the full focus of attention anyway, versus whatever is playing on the local pop music station.

Meanwhile all that power going to the sticky Nitto drag slick tires also highlights an additional trait of the Demon. When the throttle is punched, the front end lifts up which in turn helps put more weight on the rear to help the tires hook up quicker, and make better use of the ample 770 lb-ft of torque. This allowed the Demon to secure a Guinness World Record for the longest wheelie at an impressive 2.95 feet.

Dodge plans to build an initial run of 3,300 Demons with 3,000 going to U.S. buyers while the remaining 300 will go to customers in Canada. Pricing has not been released, but Dodge claims that it is trying to keep the Demon under the $100,000 ceiling. With this bold move, we look forward to seeing if either Ford or Chevrolet will unveil a responding salvo to the Demon in the near future in a bid to further amp up the horsepower arms race.

Jeep Unveils Track Slaying Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

With the current parade of teasers that have been unveiled for the Dodge Demon, interest and intrigue surrounding FCA and its SRT lineup is at an all time high. While we still have to wait until April 16th to see the Demon in person, Jeep has decided to cut to the chase by unveiling its first ever Hellcat powered offering, the 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

 

 

The standard SRT Grand Cherokee is already a potent beast out on the street, but the Trackhawk can be considered a welcome evolution of this formula. Curious observers that are trying to spot a Trackhawk out in the wild will have to look very closely at the finer details to spot it. Jeep designers retained the bulk of the standard SRT’s exterior styling with the fender flares and bumpers carrying over mostly unchanged.

 

 

However, a trademark cue is the lack of fog lamps, which were pitched so that more cold air could make its way to the engine, especially on the drivers side. The Trackhawk also gets model exclusive supercharged badging, as well as “Trackhawk” badges scattered throughout. The interior also gets minor updates with black chrome and carbon fiber trim adorning the cabin. Occupants are also coddled by  standard heated and cooled Nappa leather/suede seats which can be upgraded to full leather thrones as part of a leather package. Meanwhile, a separate metal package adds real metal accents to the cabin which in turn increases its performance oriented theme.

 

 

The star of the show lurks under the hood with all Trackhawks featuring the same 6.2 liter supercharged V8 that also sees duty in its sinister cousins the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat models. Horsepower still checks in at a lofty 707 horsepower, but torque does drop a bit to 645 lb-ft versus 650 for the Hellcat twins. We don’t think many people will be bothered by that minor detail when they sign on the dotted line. Especially, since the Trackhawk can still lunge its way to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and post a scorching 11.6 second quarter mile time.

While the engine might be unchanged, the Trackhawk does offer one distinct difference when compared to its brethren, all-wheel drive. An eight speed automatic transmission helps channel all of the engine’s muscle to all four wheels, with Jeep engineers beefing up the single speed transfer case and adding an electronic limited slip differential. The transfer case also features a wider chain as well as forged sprockets that allow it to cope with the extra power demands wrought on it by the engine. Power is split 40/60 in its base setting, but the bias gradually increases in the more aggressive driving modes. Track mode serves as the pinnacle, and splits the power 30/70 while a snow belt friendly Snow mode delivers a perfect 50/50 split.

All of this raw power is good, but it wouldn’t  mean too much if the Trackhawk lacked the handling manners to make full use of it. Thankfully, Jeep engineers answered the call, and gave the Trackhawk a high performance suspension with adaptive Bilstein shocks. The stiffer suspension lowers the Trackhawk by 1-inch when compared to other Grand Cherokee models, which helps improve its overall stance, as well as mitigating excess body roll.

20-inch wheels shod in either all-season or optional three season rubber are standard equipment, but buyers can opt for optional forged wheels. Jeep claims that this latter option helps cut 12 pounds of excess weight, which is a plus when the Trackhawk is being pushed hard at the track. Braking is achieved by Brembo brakes with six piston calipers and 15.75 inch rotors up front, and 13.73 in the rear with four piston calipers providing the stopping power. Jeep claims that the front brakes are the largest set that it has ever fit onto one of its vehicles.

Jeep has not released official pricing for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, but with the standard SRT Grand Cherokee priced in the $60,000 range, look for the Trackhawk to command a price tag closer to $70,000-80,000  when it thunders its way into dealer show rooms. In the meantime, stay tuned to Autoinfoquest.com for our live coverage of the 2017 New York Auto Show, as well as our live look at the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.