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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
With the recent debut of the Z4 GTE race car, a replacement for the M3 GT in the American Le Mans Series, BMW is now showcasing the new model in a stunning video.
10. Volvo C30 - 2,827 Units Sold
After checking out the top 10 best selling vehicles of last year, it’s now time to take a look at the worst performers on dealerships lots.
It isn’t a huge surprise to see the Volvo C30 on the list at 10th place, considering the Swedish automaker decided to give the vehicle the axe at the end of 2012. The Volvo C30 was on the market for six years in North America and sold only 26,000 units.
For the 2012 Z4 Roadster, BMW will be offering enthusiasts a new and exclusive interior package called Canyon Brown available for both the standard and M Sport versions. And speaking of the M Sport version, the BMW Z4 with the M Sport package is looking fantastic, giving the Z4 a much more aggressive look to go with its already sporty body.
The Canyon Brown interior package will replace the Ivory White Leather package and includes sports seats featuring an exclusive Merino leather upholstery option in an elegant Canyon Brown shade with contrasting stitching. The upper dashboard is also done in Canyon Brown Oregon leather with similar contrasting stitching.
To break up the brown in the interior, classy black Nappa leather is also seen in the roadster. The front lateral and center armrests, center of passenger-side dashboard and door handle area are all in black leather. Also only available with the Canyon Brown interior package is BMW’s Fineline Anthracite wood trim. Those interested in the Canyon Brown interior can get it matched with any of the standard Z4 exterior paint shades, but there is one exclusive to the interior package – a Mineral White Metallic.
Pricing for the interior starts at $1,650 for the sDrive35is, $2,050 for sDrive35i and $2,300 for the sDrive28i models.
As for the M Sport package, BMW not only will outfit the Z4 with its stylish body kit but will offer an adaptive M suspension, M sports steering wheel, an anthracite headliner, increased top speed limiter and 18-inch performance tire upgrades. The M Package with the Canyon Brown package starts at $5,050 for the sDrive35i model and $5,350 for the sDrive28i.
GALLERY: 2012 BMW Z4 Canyon Brown Interior and M Sport
In the world of Super GT racing, we often think of Japan’s finest campaigning around the series, like Nissan’s Skyline variants, Toyota’s Supras and Acura’s NSXs. While there are some European race cars from Porsche, Japan’s finest has dominated the majority of Super GT’s championships taking back to the days of JGTC. That looks to change however ever since GSR & Studie with TeamUKYO started campaigning a BMW Z4 GT3 race car for the 2011 season.
Tuning European cars in Japan has become commonplace, and seeing Japan’s fine touch on Europe’s best is a pleasant sight to see. But seeing this full-blown race car sporting a very Japanese-themed livery makes us a little giddy. Combine that with seeing Nobuteru Taniguchi behind the wheel to help grab BMW’s first top podium in Super GT and it’s almost like a changing of the guard in Super GT.
The HatsuneMiku GoodSmile BMW Z4 GT3 race car is a wicked widebody racer that has been moving up in the GT300 class since it hit the track in Round 1 this year. First they ended up in fifth place and at the second race of the season, they netted themselves a fourth place finish. Now after Round 3, the team has nowhere to go but down after grabbing their first top podium finish in Sepang.
GALLERY: HatsuneMiku GoodSmile BMW Z4 GT3 Race Car
[Source: Jon Sibal]
The BMW Z4 sDrive28i Roadster will be the first BMW to get a 4-cylinder engine in the United States since the BMW 318i was offered in the early 1990s. But unlike the underpowered 1.8L mill of yore, this new 2.0L 4-banger will pack a turbocharger, helping it make 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 260 pounds of twist arrives at 1,250 rpm, giving the car some urgency down low.
Fuel economy is said to be up 20 percent when equipped with the optional 8-speed automatic, the gearbox that will undoubtedly find a home in many Z4s, even if its not our choice of transmission. The base model 6-cylinder, with a 3.0L naturally aspirated engine, weighs about 3,240 lbs, a not exactly svelte number, but with the added boost, we expect the Z4 to put up respectable, but not thrilling acceleration numbers – even though this model is likely being sold to those who value “show” greatly over “go”.
Those with a little less than half a million lying around and looking to compete in some GT3-class racing can now get their hands on BMW’s Z4 GT3 race car. After its successful victory in Dubai’s 24 Hours race, BMW did some more testing and aerodynamic tweaking prior to allowing customers to order their own 2011 GT3 competitor race car.
While most of the Z4 retains its overall stock body and shape, the curves have clearly been enhanced with a much wider stance along with a plethora of aerodynamic tweaks for the track. Under the hood, the standard Z4 powerplant has been tossed aside for the more potent M3′s V8. A six-speed paddle-shifted sequential transmission is mated to the 4.4-liter V8.
The race car is now available for ordering from BMW Motorsport Distribution at $454,500 or so.
Official press release available after the break.
GALLERY: 2011 BMW Z4 GT3
There wouldn’t be much of a Geneva Motor Show if AC Schnitzer didn’t have a thing or two up its sleeves to announce. For this year’s show, we now know they’ll at least be debuting a new ACS 5 Sport S and 99d vehicles, based on the BMW 550i and Z4 respectively. With both priced at the same amount, approximately $205,785, it probably comes down to if you want a nice sports car or a sedan.
Not exactly falling in the category of cheap, let’s take a look at what you get for your money from AC Schnitzer. The ACS5 Sport S, based on the BMW 550i, has its performance enhanced to 540-hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. A limited slip differential upgrade also comes with the engine modifications. No more details are given on the ACS5 Sport S, but clearly AC Schnitzer will also outfit the vehicle’s exterior with its traditional body kit, trunk and roof spoiler, suspension modifications and a set of fashionable AC Schnitzer fashionable wheels.
The same probably goes with the 99d, based off of BMW’s Z4. For its performance, AC Schnitzer sent the unconventional route and based it off of BMW’s 320d Efficient Dynamics Edition powerplant. The result is 190-hp with 310 ft-lbs of torque. The aesthetics feature much flashier graphics than the 5-Series counterpart does and we’re better ACS has an announcement to make about having your sports car and being green.
Set to debut in Geneva, we’ll be on hand to bring you more on these cars with show coverage starting March 1st.
GALLERY: AC Schnitzer ACS5 Sport S and 99d
The thought of a front-drive BMW was inconceivable less than 5 years ago, but the Bavarian luxury car maker appears to be planning an onslaught of front-drive models for launch by 2016, including a couple crossovers, a sports car and a new compact.
The first front-driver will be a 1 Series GT, another pointless crossover, but one that BMW evidently feels earns a spot in its lineup. The silver lining is that it will share a platform with the wonderful MINI Clubman, giving it excellent dynamics even if its technically a “downmarket” car. More intriguing is the BMW Z1, a compact roadster that would mimic the Lotus Elan of the early 1990′s by sending power to the front via a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
A compact, as well as the next generation 1-Series will likely follow suit, since 1-Series drivers apparently don’t know or care about which wheels are being driven. Naturally, a whole new range of MINIs will follow, including an all-new variant said to be the size of the original Mini Cooper.
[Source: Inside Line]
BMW has always been known for their trademark inline-6 engines, but the recent industry-wide trend of downsizing has led to BMW adopting turbocharged four-cylinder engines as an alternative to smaller, naturally aspirated I6 engines in the name of efficiency.
First to get the turbo-4 treatment is the X1 small crossover, although Jim O’Donnell, head of BMW USA, said that more are on their way. Likely candidates for this engine are the 3-Series and Z4, whose rivals, like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, SLK and Audi A4 and A5 already offer a turbo 4-cylinder as the base engine. The X3 could also be a candidate, as Audi’s Q5 shares the same 2.0T engine and doesn’t seem to fare any worse than its 6-cylinder siblings.
Expect an announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. With the X1 hitting 60 mph in about 6 seconds while returning a smidge under 30 mpg on the European highway cycle, we’re pretty optimistic that these new BMW four-bangers will be just fine.
Feel like driving a BMW today? If you live in Munich, you’ll be able to rent one whenever the mood strikes you with BMW on Demand.
Just like the Zipcar service, BMW is taking it up a notch by offering premium vehicles that can be rented by the hour. The BMW on Demand service allows customers to choose from a range of BMW vehicles, like the 5 Series, the Z4 or the M6. The car-sharing service will only be available in Munich, but it could expand to major European cities, and the pilot project will initially run over the course of a year.
Perfect for impressing a date or a potential client, you are able to book the preferred model with choices in color and with desired equipment. There is also staff on hand to help you make your pick.
If you’re in Munich and want to try this service out, you can book via the BMW Welt website at www.bmw-welt.de/bmw-on-demand or by calling the hotline on +49 89 3184-3430. Depending on what you pick, the hourly fees vary. For example, a 1 Series BMW, costs €16 an hour (roughly $22 an hour), while a 5 Series BMW costs €23 an hour (roughly $32 an hour). Prices also vary depending on the time of day.
BMW of Japan has released yet another limited edition vehicle, this time taking the E89 Z4 and adding a silver top, dubbing it the Silver Top Edition Z4. (How creative). The two-tone vehicle sports a Black Sapphire body exterior while the folding hardtop and mirrors have been finished in Titanium Silver.
Standard for the interior is BMW’s awesome Coral Red Kansas interior, which can also be seen on various other BMW models. The convertible is powered with BMW’s 2.5L Z4 sDrive23i powerplant, paired up with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Performance figures are 201-hp with 184 ft-lbs of torque – far less than any Z4 we get.
Pricing is around $68,830 (5,590,000 yen) and is set to be released by April 2012 – which is a far ways out. We’re going to guess Japanese enthusiasts that want to bite off the limited edition BMW can easily do so with a paint job.
GALLERY: BMW Z4 Silver Top Edition
[Source: Jon Sibal]
Ever wondered what it takes to fully assemble a GT3 race car? Now’s your chance to find out. Team West Coast Racing put together a really nifty video, consolidating over 600 man hours into just 3 minutes of 39 seconds
The video starts with a bare chassis that arrived from BMW Motorsport, with everything else in pieces. Team West Coast Racing from Sweden then takes their time assembling the entire car and we get a great insider’s look of all the intricate work and details put into a proper race car.
One thing we did find odd is how the majority of the work is done by one person and one person only, which we guess is understandable so that everything is done properly and at least someone is responsible if something goes awry.
Make sure to hit the jump to watch the video – if you’ve got 3 minutes and 39 seconds to spare.
We still have more than half of 2009 to go and already the list of 2010 North American Car & Truck of the Year nominees have been picked. That’s because the list is essentially a list of every new model for 2010.
Nominated for car of the year are: the Audi S4, BMW Z4, BMW 335d, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, For Mustang GT500, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus SHO, Honda Insight, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Lexus HS250h, Lotus Evora, Mazda3, MazdaSpeed3, Mercedes E-Class, Nissan Cube, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Panamera, Subaru Legacy, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Golf TDI.
The 2010 North American Truck of the Year list is only slightly shorter and includes: the Acura ZDX, BMw X5 xDrive 35d, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Land Rover LR4, Lincoln MKT, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner and Volvo XC60.
Many off these vehicles have yet to be officially released and some (like the Honda Crosstour) haven’t even been officially named yet.
Jurors will now begin the lengthy process of making a short list, with the final winners chosen at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Last year’s winners were the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150.
Want to know where a car is made? Look at the VIN.
The All-American Impala: Made in Canada
During President Obama’s press conference last week when he announced that Chrylser would file for Chapter 11, he asked Americans that if they were looking to buy a car, to look at American cars. The “buy American” philosophy drew harsh criticism from the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), which pointed out that buying American doesn’t necessarily mean buying a car from an American brand.
“AIADA objects to President Obama’s ‘buy American’ solution for the auto sector,” AIADA President Cody Lusk said in a statement. “In today’s globalized economy ‘buying American’ can mean anything from buying a Chevy Avalanche built by Mexican workers in Silao, Mexico to buying a Toyota Camry built by Americans in Georgetown, Kentucky.”
On that note, there is one way to tell exactly which country a car is manufactured in – the VIN number. That’s right, that odd 17-digit sequence of numbers and letters found on the dash under the windshield (and in numerous other places on a vehicle) holds the key to a vehicle’s country of origin.
Many VIN numbers, actually start with a letter. Those that start with a “J” are built in Japan and those with a “K” are from Korea. Most of the rest, however, aren’t so intuitive. VINs that start with a “W” are from Germany, while an “S” signifies England. Swedish cars get a “Y.”
The United States, Canada and Mexico all use a number system, with American-made cars using a VIN that starts with the number 1, while Canadian-made cars use a 2 and Mexican made cars use a 3.
The number of American vehicles made outside the U.S. is actually quite significant, while many “foreign” cars are built in American. In fact, one of America’s best-selling vehicles (and one that is also typically American) is actually built in Canada – the Chevy Impala.
Other made-in-Canada cars include the Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis and the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
Made-in Mexico cars include the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Chevrolet HHR. And as for the the Chevy Aveo sub-compact, it comes from Korea.
On the flip-side, there are plenty of Japanese (and even some German) vehicles built in the U.S. of A. Some of the most significant include the high volume Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the Honda Element and Toyota Avalon are also U.S. products. Nissan builds several models in the United States while BMW manufactures the Z4 as well as the X5 and X6 in South Carolina.
… The more you know…
[Source: La Times]