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First Drive: 2015 BMW M3 and M4

by on Sep.04, 2014

The 2015 BMW M3 opts for a smaller, twin turbocharged engine that makes it part race car, part daily driver.

I never believed it would happen. Me, Mr. Mercedes and Audi, in love with a BMW. It’s not that I don’t like Bimmers, I think my aversion to them started when yuppies discovered the brand and started calling the Bimmer a “Beamer.”

The reality of it all is that BMW has and does build cars that are just as happy on the racetrack as they are on the street. And that’s even at the so-called “base” level. Consider the 3 Series, in production since model year 1977. It’s the quintessential performance sedan, coupe or convertible – just take your pick of body styles. It’s benchmarked by nearly every carmaker that wants to build a performance sedan. Add the vaunted “M” trim to the car, and you’ve got yourself a bona fide butt kicker.

Muscling Up the News!

For 2015, I’m adding BMW to my “favorite brands” list, journalistic integrity tossed into the wind like a seagull cresting Niagara Falls. I’d already fallen in love with what I think is the best sports sedan on the market, the 640i Gran Coupe, and then BMW added two more to my wish list with the introduction of the 2015 M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe. (more…)

Lexus Counts on F Sport to Improve Sales

Line-up competes against luxury sport models.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Based on the success of its IS F Sport line-up, Lexus is expanding the portfolio to the NX and RX models.

The F Sport models will play a bigger role at Lexus going forward.

The F Sport version of the new Lexus IS 250 and Lexus IS 350 has been a major success, accounting for roughly half of all sales of the new IS Lexus last year according to Owen Peacock, Lexus’ national marketing manager.

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“The F Sport makes up 50% of the IS sales mix and the average buyer is five to 12 years younger for the than standard model,” he added. (more…)

First Drive: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Successfully challenging German high performance cars.

by on Aug.23, 2010

General Motors President North America Mark Reuss gets out of the Cadillac CTSv after taking the vehicle on hot laps around the track at the Monticello Motor Club.

The GM President of North America, Mark Reuss, gets out of the Cadillac CTS-V after taking the car on hot laps at the Monticello Motor Club.

It’s refreshing when the president of an auto company strolls on to a race track to drive a car he actually worked on as an engineer.

It’s a tad embarrassing, though, when he’s as fast, well frankly faster, than any hot shoe out there. I guess it’s not true that all GM executives do is sit around and nitpick PowerPoint presentations while the firm’s market share erodes.

Mark Reuss, the president of General Motors North America, refuted precisely that stereotype at the Cadillac CTS-V coupe introduction.

Reuss was driving a supercharged, 556-horsepower (415 kW) 6.2-liter V8 powered V-coupe that uses the same engine found in the CTS-V Sport Sedan introduced 18 months ago. And Reuss appeared to be extracting almost all of the performance possible from both versions of the car – sedan or coupe – in a show of driving prowess.

Engineer though Reuss be, and former head of GM Performance, the Caddy Coupe actually owes its existence – improbably – to a design staff concept done without the usual, stifling beanie business case. The angular masterpiece was just too seductive for the now retired but then product king Bob Lutz to resist.  Darn the German torpedos, the engineers then went full speed ahead.

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Fast!

Although it draws from its sport sedan sister, the CTS Coupe shares only the instrument panel, console, headlamps, front fenders and grille. Riding on the same  113.4-inch wheelbase, the CTS coupe is two inches lower, has a two-inch wider rear track, and a shorter two-inch overall length than the sedan. The two, two and two might add to six in conventional beanie math, but in my calculation this roll of the dice adds to seven, a big fat lucky seven.

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