Auto blogWed, 05 Nov 2014 20:41:00 EST
Part of the joy of the SEMA Show is that all of the best tuners in the world are competing to show off their wares, and the challenge often pushes the companies into some absolutely insane directions. Case in point: Vorsteiner and its ludicrous GTRS4 wide body kit with the BMW M4.
According to Auto Evolution, the kit reportedly adds 4 inches in the front to fit 10.5-inch-wide wheels and a massive 7-inches more in the rear to snug in 13.5-inch-wide wheels, but spinning around the BMW in these images makes the changes look even more extreme. Beyond just the extra room in the fenders, the lower air intakes are ready to suck in huge volumes of cool air, and there's a front splitter to keep things planted. The front and rear extensions are joined by side sills that grow the farther back they go. Finally, at the rear, the M4 gets a reworked diffuser with mesh inserts.
This is just the type of automotive craziness that makes SEMA interesting. Take a lot at it for yourself in the gallery.
Each and every year, the world's biggest motorcycle manufacturers gather together in Milan, Italy to show off the latest and greatest machinery that will soon be offered to dealerships the world over. It's called EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori), and this year's crop of new motorcycles is just as exciting as ever.
We've selected five of the coolest motorcycles shown at this week's show, including models from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda and Yamaha. Join us down below for a high-performance, two-wheeled Italian journey.
Like few other cars we can remember, people want to talk about the 2015 BMW i8. Drive one, and you'll soon find out what we mean. They stop you at gas stations. They accost you in Walgreen's parking lots. They stream out of neighborhood bars, beers in hand.
At least, that was our experience this week during Autoblog's Technology of the Year testing. We had the pleasure of driving the plug-in hybrid BMW sports car up to and around Petoskey, MI, a resort town where seeing such exotics is rare enough, let alone in the off season. It made for some interesting conversations - so we began writing down some of the comments the butterfly-doored coupe inspired. Here's a sampling:
"Wanna race for pinks? I'll go easy on you." - Acne-covered teenage pizza delivery driver in a sad-looking Ford Taurus parked at a Valero gas station near Grayling (which incidentally didn't actually have gas).
The second-generation BMW X5 M and X6 M have officially made their arrival for the speed-obsessed, crossover-loving masses that aren't willing to turn to Mercedes-AMG or Land Rover Special Operations.
While the new models retain their 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8s, power has increased from 555 horsepower to 567 ponies. Torque is up more significantly, climbing from 500 pound-feet to 553 pound-feet. The extra twist is slightly less accessible, with peak grunt arriving between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm, rather than the earlier model's 1,500 to 5,650. Still, we'll take the ten percent increase in torque as a net win.
The big powertrain switch sees the old X5/6 M's six-speed automatic replaced with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission from BMW M. This new gearbox feeds power to an xDrive all-wheel-drive system that can variably shuffle up to 100 percent of power to either axle. In conjunction with the force-induced thumper under the hood, this powertrain arrangement allows both M models to hit 60 miles per hour in just four seconds. That's a mightily impressive stat in a 5,000-plus-pound vehicle.
It's the showdown everyone's been looking forward to, the East versus West grudge match of the year. We're talking, of course, about the BMW M4 versus the Lexus RC F.
Although BMW uses a twin-turbo straight-six and the Lexus uses a free-breathing V8, the two are pretty closely matched on paper: a luxury coupe with over 400 horsepower channeled to the rear wheels.
The BMW has been doing these cars for longer, and the M4 boasts a higher power-to-weight ratio. But then the RC F has more power - and without forced induction to break up the rev range. So which is the better luxury muscle coupe? Watch the latest episode of Motor Trend Head 2 Head to find out.
The incredible rise of Tesla's stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, ditched its four-percent stake, and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment.
The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV, which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company's Fremont, CA factory.
"We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects," Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email.
It seems like BMW is pretty committed to this whole X4 thing. Aside from the current xDrive28i and xDrive35i, we've captured a round of spy photos showing what our spy shooters tell us is a more dynamic M40i model.
The higher-performance hunchback follows in the footsteps of BMW's other sub-M cars like the M235i. In fact, much like the high-po 2 Series, the M40i is expected to make use of a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder, developing 365 to 375 horsepower.
Aside from that, the rest of the X4 M40i fits the brief of other near-M models, with a more aggressive body kit, larger wheels, firmer suspension and brawnier brakes. Expect some mild tweaks inside, too, including sportier seats and an M-specific steering wheel.
The wheels are one of the first things you notice when checking out the 2015 BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe. The 20-inch aluminum alloy rollers have 21 spokes that spray out from their hubs, creating one of Alpina's signature design features. But there's also plenty of function to go along with the stylistic form of this hotted-up BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.
By rotating the Alpina roundel and unlocking the center hub, you gain access to the tire valve and bolts, which are hidden inside. They're literally kept under lock and key, and they protect your Alpina's wheels from the elements and theft. This unique center-fill system employing a hollow spoke isn't a new setup for the favored BMW tuner, but since Autoblog had one in our offices this week, we thought we'd take the opportunity to show the unique mechanism in case you haven't seen it before. Check it out in our brief video below.
While BMW makes plenty of machinery to keep enthusiasts interested, its most enticing models are often based on more ordinary ones. That's what made the arrival of the i8 so captivating, emerging as the first stand-alone BMW sports coupe since the M1. But if its dual purpose - trying its best to both embrace the earth and traverse it rapidly - somehow left you disappointed, the next development could prove to fix that.
According to Automobile, BMW is working on a more potent i8S model. The hardcore version of the hybrid sports car would offer more power and a stiffened chassis to make it that much more aggressive. The Bavarian automaker is reportedly still evaluating two potential powertrain options: The first would pair a 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder good for 320 horsepower to an electric motor with another 204 hp. The second would use a 3.0-liter straight six with 480 hp and an electric motor with 109 hp. Both would be mated to a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission and an integrated starter motor packing an extra 27 hp.
Either way, we'd be looking at a combined output well in excess of 500 horsepower - far more than the existing i8's 228-hp turbo three and 129-hp electric motor - dropping the 0-62 time down from 4.1 seconds to an estimated 3.5. Couple that to a more advanced carbon chassis, wider tires and other goodies, and the i8 would be transformed into a far more capable performance machine than it already is.
Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.