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Electronic Synthesizer Company Helps Tune Up New EV.

Roaring V-8 or Jetsons spaceship? It just takes a touch of a button.

by on Aug.24, 2015

The GLM ZZ electric sports car.

There’s something primal about the roar of a big V-8, and even the sound of a turbocharged V-6 can send the adrenaline flowing. But it’s difficult to get excited about the whine of an electric motor, even if it’s powering a high-performance sports car.

So, to pump a little more passion out of its new ZZ sports car, small Japanese start-up GLM Co. turned to Roland Corp., a company best known for electronic keyboard and other sound synthesizers used by such musical legends as Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Page and George Duke.  While the ZZ won’t have any exhaust, Roland will allow a driver to customize a “one-of-a-kind” simulated exhaust note.

Sound Off!

Roland synthesizer technology, explains a news release, “will be used to create ingenious neo-futuristic sounds that will give sports car enthusiasts the experience of driving a space ship on the road.”

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Lofty Price Tag for High-Performance Cadillac CTS-V

2016 model bigger, faster – and $11,000 more expensive.

by on Apr.30, 2015

The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is larger but also a lot more powerful, with a 640-hp V-8.

Cadillac’s new 640-horsepower CTS-V will not only be the brand’s most powerful model ever, but also its most expensive sedan ever, at $84,990 including delivery charges.

The third-generation performance sedan is aimed at some of the luxury segment’s toughest competitors, including the vaunted BMW M5. But while it delivers more muscle than the Bavarian performance sedan it remains far from certain consumers will accept the hefty price tag which is about $11,000 more than the outgoing version of the Caddy CTS-V.

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“V-Series represents the pinnacle of Cadillac, a brand that now makes drivers’ cars at the highest level,” said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president, in a statement. “The new CTS-V is essentially two cars in one: a luxury sedan with sophisticated road manners and a track-capable sports car with awe-inspiring performance.”

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First Look: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V

Corvette Performance from a midsize luxury sedan.

by on Dec.22, 2014

The new Cadillac CTS-V is the luxury brand's first production model to break the 200 mph wall.

When General Motors flagship brand launched its then-new ATS sedan several years ago, it sounded a warning shot to competitors with an audacious ad campaign dubbed “Cadillac v the World.” In hindsight, it might have wanted to wait a bit, because the all-new Caddy CTS-V promises to be the true world-beater.

Set to debut at next month’s Detroit Auto Show, the third-generation, 2016 Cadillac CTS-V will not only be larger and more lavishly equipped, but it will also deliver an awesome upgrade in performance. The new supercharged 6.2-liter LT-1 V-8 will punch out a neck-snapping 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque.

Muscle Up!

To put that into perspective, that’s 84-hp more than the Gen-2 CTS-V and a mere 10 ponies less than the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

The most powerful production model ever to bear the Cadillac crest, the new V sedan will launch from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.7 seconds. It also becomes the first Caddy road car to ever break the 200 mph top speed barrier.

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BMW Launching All-New Product Range

Bavarian maker to target niche between its mainstream and M-car lines.

by on Jan.16, 2012

BMW M President Friedrich Nitschke.

BMW apparently thinks there is more room for a few angels to dance on the head of its pin.  The maker will reveal an all-new product range during the upcoming Geneva Motor Show that it says will land somewhere between its mainstream line-up and its vaunted M series.

The new line-up, to be called BMW M Performance Automobiles, promise to deliver similar levels of performance to such current offerings as the M5, while appealing to those who don’t want to sacrifice “the familiar comfort and practicality” of a BMW 535i.

“We are targeting our efforts at customers looking for more emotionality and more performance, but who don’t want to forgo the everyday usability of their cars,” said Friedrich Nitschke, President of BMW M GmbH.

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While specific details will be held back for the March introduction, the executive hints that there could be additional product lines specifically created for the M Performance brand.  It will also rely on a mix of gasoline and diesel powertrains, with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system expected to “play a significant role.”

The role model for the new sub-brand is the 1980 M535i, which featured plenty of power but a more every day driving experience than the hard-charging M cars BMW produces today.

The new line should hit market sometime later this year.

It’s just the latest step the maker has announced in its effort to fill seemingly every possible inch of white space in the luxury segment.  BMW’s new “i” line of battery vehicles debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show, last September.  The maker also pushed into compact performance, last year, with the debut of the 1M.  As TheDetroitBureau.com has reported, a diesel-powered M model, tentatively dubbed the BMW 550dXM, for diesel, all-wheel-drive, is also in development.

The automaker last year, meanwhile, captured the top spot in the U.S. luxury sales wars, nudging past long-time leader Lexus and narrowly topping German rival Mercedes-Benz.  To help maintain that momentum, BMW announced last week plans to further expand its assembly line in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which is expected to thus become the second-largest BMW plant in the world.

(For more on plans for Spartanburg, Click Here.)

Tesla to Take on BMW M5 with Model S

Battery sedan will nip 60 in 4.5 seconds – if you’re not worried about range.

by on Oct.03, 2011

Tesla plans to deliver BMW M5 performance with its upcoming Model S Sport.

Tesla is determined to put to rest the old canard that green cars can’t be fun to drive.  If that message didn’t get through with the maker’s high-power, low-volume Roadster the California start-up hopes you won’t miss out on the fact that its upcoming Model S won’t just be fast but will be able to rival the new BMW M5 when it comes to launching off the stoplight.

Now, there’s a direct relationship between performance and range, so there are likely to be plenty of hyper-milers when Tesla introduces its Model S sedan next year, but for those who think green and mean, they can opt for the Model S Sport version, which will cut the car’s 0 to 60 times down from an already respectable 5.5 seconds to somewhere between 4.4 and 4.6 seconds, according to the Silicon Valley start-ups CEO Elon Musk.

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“The goal with the Model S was to build the best car, not just the best electric vehicle,” Musk told Green Car Reports. “It can seat seven, has got two boots, a really low center of gravity; no-one thought any of this was possible. I’m proud of this car and it’s a revolution that I hope the rest of the industry will follow.”

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First Look: Next-gen BMW M5

“I’ve never taken the corners like that before.”

by on Aug.17, 2011

BMW's new M5 will make an impressive 560 horsepower out of its new V8.

BMW offered a quick peek at the next-generation M5 sedan, a rocket on wheels that it plans to bring to market next year.

While journalists weren’t given a chance to drive the prototype briefly revealed during a presentation at the Laguna Seca Raceway, near Monterey, California, BMW officials offered up some critical information on what M-fans can expect.

It has not yet been determined whether the new muscle car will be designated a 2012 or 2013, but model-years aside, it will feature a new 4.4-liter V-8 using dual twin-scroll turbos designed to both eliminate initial turbo lag and maximize performance once those boosters “spool up.”

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That translates into 560 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, the next-generation BMW M5 expected to launch from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds.  Notably, while horsepower will be up 10% and torque increased 20% from the prior-generation BMW M5, the upcoming model is expected to deliver as much as a 30% improvement in fuel economy due to the introduction of a variety of advanced technologies.

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First Look: 2012 BMW M5

The image of aggressiveness.

by on Jun.15, 2011

BMW brings back the M5 for 2012.

Call these the image of aggression.  The first official pictures of the new 2012 BMW M5 have landed in our digital hands and we thought readers might want to take a look.

Dubbed by BMW the F10 M5, the new German muscle car can be distinguished by a clearly more aero-focused body, with notable ground effects designed to both improve downforce and reduce wind resistance.

Coming up in your rearview mirror, you’ll likely first notice the larger air intakes.  Blasting by, the 2012 BMW M5 will reveal its quad exhaust pipes.

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The new model rides, meanwhile, on 20-inch Z-rated wheels and tires.

Despite the F10 designation, the 2012 BMW M5 abandons the old models V10 in favor of a twin-turbocharged V8 – which bumps the horsepower count from 507 to 552.  More significantly, that power comes on about 1,750 RPMs lower than with the old V10, peaking at 6,000 RPMs.

The 2012 BMW M5 migrates from a V10 to new twin-turbocharged V8.

The big increase comes in torque, the twin-turbo V8 making a whopping 501 lb-ft, up from 383 with the old V10.

BMW’s transmission of choice is expected to be a DSG, though AutoBlog reports a 6-speed manual is likely on tap for Americans.

And performance numbers?  We’re waiting for top speed ratings, which should nudge above 180, if BMW provides an unrestricted number.  But on the 0 to 60 front look for something on order of 4.4 seconds or less.

As for pricing, the Euro-spec numbers are being quoted on the order of 100,000 Euros, which would mean a real sticker shock for American buyers once you factor in exchange rates. But the price is likely to dip as the 4-seat rocket crosses the Atlantic.

The last model to bear the M5 badge, which was pulled after the 2010 model-year, was listed at $89,575 including the gas guzzler tax.  Expect the 2012 BMW M5, in American trim, to stay somewhere at or under $100,000, sources suggest.

Shifting Gears: BMW’s M Division Wants to Redefine Performance

“The dogmas are gone,” says BMW M chief Kay Segler.

by on Mar.30, 2010

"Forget about dogmas," suggests Kay Segler, the new chief of BMW's performance M brand.

Forget raw horsepower numbers, don’t worry about 0 to 60 times.  To Kay Segler, it’s all about what “your butt-o-meter…tells you.”

For performance aficionados, few cars command more respect than one with the vaunted BMW “M” badge bolted onto the back.  This brand-within-a-brand is, perhaps more than anything else, the reason the Bavarian maker has been able to defend its long-standing claim to being “the ultimate driving machine.”

Yet, at a time when even the most mainstream manufacturers are emphasizing performance, and mid-market entries like the 2011 Ford Mustang are nudging past the once-unimaginable 400 horsepower barrier, M chief Segler says it’s time to rethink what his division stands for.  And the new definition doesn’t necessarily require BMW to deliver either the fastest, or the most powerful cars possible.

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“The measurement of 0 to 100 (kmh) isn’t as much a thrill anymore,” Segler proclaims during a long dinner in downturn Munich, not far from BMW’s headquarters.  What matters more than raw numbers is how a car feels, he explains.  “You can measure a lot of things by the numbers, but your butt-o-meter is what tells you” whether you’re satisfied, Segler contends, as he sips a glass of sparkling water, reminding us of Germany’s tough drunk driving laws.

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