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Posts Tagged ‘BMW M’

Hyundai Set to Debut New “N” Performance Line

Frankfurt debut set; U.S. plans uncertain.

by on Aug.31, 2015

The Hyundai i20 WRC racer will be used to preview the Korean maker's new N performance line.

Hyundai is set to become the latest automaker to introduce a new performance-focused sub-brand.

The new Hyundai N sub-brand will make its debut during the Frankfurt Motor Show next month as the Korean maker lifts the covers off a modified version of its compact i20 model set to compete in the World Rally Car program. Another hint of what’s to come will show up in digital form as part of the popular Gran Turismo videogame.

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Hyundai insiders tell they would “not be surprised” if the N line eventually comes to the U.S. market, but they said there are no immediate plans, and nothing is likely to be shown at the two big American auto shows in Los Angeles or Detroit in the coming months.


Is BMW Set to Abandon Manual Transmission for M Models?

Bavarian maker may also cap performance models at 600-hp.

by on Jul.08, 2015

BMW M's manual may be an endangered species.

Like Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the manual transmission may be premature. But it’s increasingly looking like the stick shift is headed for life support, and BMW’s performance M sub-brand is reportedly ready to pull the plug.

The head of BMW M told Britain’s Autocar that future models may offer buyers a choice of only dual-clutch or automatic transmissions. That wouldn’t be out of line with broader trends, several other makers already reducing or eliminating manuals entirely. Meanwhile, M chief Frank van Meel also suggested that BMW may be ready to wave a white flag and opt out of the ever-escalating horsepower wars.

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“From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes. The DCT and auto ’boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption,” van Meel told AutoCar. But he added that while “difficult to say we’ll stick to the manual…we still have a big fan community for manuals and we are not going to take away something the customer wants to have.”


BMW Studies Options for an M Hybrid

But near-term focus is on downsized, turbocharged engines.

by on Jun.10, 2014

The 2015 BMW M3 gets a smaller, turbo engine.

Among the many products offered by a marque that bills itself “the ultimate driving machine,” it’s those branded with the vaunted “M” badge that best live up to that boast.

In recent years, BMW has significantly expanded its line-up of M offerings, including the new M3 and M4 models that go on sale this month. But those two high performance products reveal an ongoing shift in strategy for the M brand-within-a-brand, a move away from big-block naturally aspirated engines, to more technically sophisticated powertrains that are downsized and turbocharged.

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BMW is by no means alone. There have been reports that General Motors may take a similar route with the next-generation Corvette. But in an exclusive interview with, the chief engineer for BMW’s M line revealed the subsidiary is giving serious consideration to going a step further with hybrids and other battery-based powertrains.


First Drive: 2015 BMW M235i

Performance with a youthful flair.

by on Jan.20, 2014

The new BMW M235i driving through Las Vegas.

It’s getting to be more and more of a challenge keeping up with the expanding line-up at BMW, but at least there’s a logic to the maker’s madness as it rolls out a modified nomenclature strategy that is far easier to follow than some of its competitors’ alphanumeric offerings.

The worldwide launch of the new 2-Series coupe comes as BMW shifts to even numbers for its 2-door models, whether coupes or convertibles, with sedans sticking with odd numbers.  The new 2-Series was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, which also staged the world debuts of the M3 and M4 models and the 4 Series Convertible.

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With the 2-Series BMW hopes to tap the interest of the Millennial generation, a cohort of young buyers who have so far been less than friendly to automobiles, many waiting much longer than in decades past to even get their driver’s licenses. The hope is that sporty and relatively affordable models like the new M235i might finally start drawing them into showrooms.


BMW Launches New M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe

Lighter, more powerful, faster.

by on Dec.12, 2013

The new BMW 4-Series will soon get the M treatment.

BMW is giving us a sneak peek at two of its new M pocket rockets with the first official images of the new 2015 M3 and M4 models.

Set to make their formal debuts at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the two M cars will deliver more power and improved performance, BMW claims, even while they lose mass compared to the old M3 sedan and coupe models they’re meant to replace.

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It will mark the first-ever M4, in fact, following the Bavarian makers decision to split off the coupe and convertible models as part of a new naming strategy. Going forward, odd numbers, like the familiar 3-Series, will be reserved for sedans, with coupes and cabriolets getting even designations, ala the M4 and 4-Series.


Nissan Aims to Transform Nismo into “Affordable Performance” Brand

Two new models debut in Chicago.

by on Feb.08, 2013

Nissan's global marketing chief Simon Sproule with the new Nissan 370Z Nismo.

Nissan plans to transform its long-time motorsport arm into an “affordable” performance brand, two new models wearing the Nismo badge making their debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week.

Originally launched in September 1984, its name a shorthand reference to Nissan Motorsport International Limited, Nismo was primarily focused on sports car racing, including Japan’s Formula 3 series.  Until now, only a handful of vehicles were built for road use, but that’s about to change, according to Nissan’s global marketing and communications chief Simon Sproule.

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The two offerings on display at Chicago’s McCormick Place include the Juke Nismo, a sporty version of Nissan’s little crossover, and an update of the 370Z Nismo, the 2-seat sports car until now being one of the few production Nissan models to get the Nismo treatment.  And there will be more to come, according to Sproule.

“This represents an exciting new growth opportunity for the Nissan brand,” he said during an interview at the Chicago Auto Show.


Nissan Turning Nismo into Mainstream Performance Brand

by on Nov.29, 2012

The Nissan Juke Nismo concept reveals the red mirror caps likely to become a signature of the performance sub-brand.

Nissan plans to transform its Nismo subsidiary into a new, mainstream performance brand-within-a-brand, loosely modeled on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz sub-brand AMG, has learned.

Unlike some previous Japanese efforts to create sporty sub-brands, every model to wear the Nismo badge will get a measurable bump in performance, more sporty suspension tuning and distinctive exterior and interior design modifications, according to a senior Nissan executive.

The new operations will launch next year with the introduction of the new Nissan Juke Nismo. Other models will quickly follow. Meanwhile, Nissan will increase Nismo’s presence in various motorsports programs to enhance its visibility.

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“We saw an opportunity,” Nissan global marketing chief Simon Sproule explained during  an exclusive interview.  “No Japanese company has exploited its performance heritage successfully,” he added, including Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti.


BMW Confirms M6 Gran Coupe – Shows First Images

Formal debut scheduled for Detroit.

by on Nov.12, 2012

Some Photoshop tweaking reveals a bit more detail than BMW intended with this first teaser of the M6 Gran Coupe.

There was a time when only a select group of BMW models wore the vaunted M badge.  But with plenty of buyers ready to fork over tens of thousands of dollars more for the added power and prestige it was little more than a matter of time before we expected to see the new 6-Series Gran Coupe get the upgrade – as BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch all but confirmed in an interview with earlier this year.

The wait is almost over. The latest M-Series model will officially make its debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January. And with an assortment of spy shots leaking out, BMW has decided to release a teaser image of its own of the M6 Gran Coupe.

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The pics leave plenty to the imagination, as does the corporate press release.  BMW wants to ensure it can draw the media hordes to its booth at Cobo Center in barely two months time. But among the things we have discovered is that the M6 Gran Coupe will deliver a full 560 horsepower, or 115 more than the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 found in the 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe.


BMW Has Big(ger) Plans for its High-Performance M Brand

Maker also hopes to see extensive use of fuel-saving carbon fiber technology.

by on May.24, 2012

Expect an M version of the new BMW Gran Coupe, the maker's U.S. CEO tells

Even as it gets set to launch sales of its new M6 model, BMW is looking at ways to further expand its  high-performance brand-within-a-brand, a senior executive told

Once limited to a handful of limited-production offerings, BMW now offers M versions of more than half of its line-up – with several key omissions, including the flagship 7-Series, but that may soon change, noted Ludwig Willisch, CEO of the maker’s North American sales subsidiary.

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Willisch said he also expects the maker to eventually make extensive use of strong and lightweight carbon fiber, perhaps even in such models as BMW’s best-seller, the 3-Series.

The German executive was in Santa Barbara for the first U.S. media drive of BMW’s new M6 and Gran Coupe models.  The latter is a 4-door version of the maker’s classic coupe, the 6-Series – and intended to go up against the likes of the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS.


Polestar Helps Volvo Muscle Up

Better performance without mileage sacrifice.

by on Mar.19, 2012

Volvo's collaboration with Polestar is rapidly expanding.

When you think Volvo you almost certainly think safety.  But the Swedish maker also would like to get potential buyers to associate the brand with performance.

Mercedes-Benz has AMG and BMW has its M-Class and now Volvo is challenging its German rivals with cars enhanced by Polestar.

Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Polestar has collaborated with Volvo since 1996. Since 2009 Polestar has developed performance optimization software for Volvo cars. Polestar and Volvo is now boosting the visibility of its partnership with Polestar. The initiative isn’t anywhere near as lavish or expensive as the AMG and or M-Class but it does offer Volvo fans looking for added performance some genuine punch — without the typical mileage penalty.

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The Polestar performance software packages are now available on the 2012 XC60 R-Design, S60 and XC70 fitted with a T6 engine for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,495 when installed at the dealer. The T6 Polestar software package adds 25 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque, bringing the three car lines to 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft.