2012

2012

BMW ’s latest M Performance Parts division has been launched on the market a few weeks ago when we saw the new M550d xDrive , the X5 M50d and the X6 M50d . Of course all these three models will be among the new vehicles BMW will display in Geneva. But next the them, the M Performance Parts will also be expanded to models like the 3-Series .

For the 3-Series BMW is offering a M Performance Power Kit for the 320d version. This will increase the engine’s output to a total of 200 HP (up from 184 HP) and a peak torque of 309 lbs-ft. All these changes have improved the car’s 0 to 60 mph sprint time by about 1.0 seconds. In order to handle the extra power the car has been equipped with a new sports suspensions system with a particularly large-scale yet weight-optimized BMW M Performance brake system that features aluminum fixed calipers at both front and rear. The car will now sit on a new set of 20" M light alloy wheels in V-spoke design.

As for the aerodynamic parts BMW is offering a rear spoiler, rear fins, carbon exterior mirror caps, a radiator grille in high-gloss black, diffuser inserts for the rear apron and side sill foliations with M Performance inscription. For the interior you will get BMW M Performance steering wheel with Race Display, interior strips in Alcantara/carbon, BMW M Performance stainless steel pedals.

UPDATE 04/15/12: If you were curious as to how BMW developed the overall program for the 3-Series with M Performance Parts, worry no more. The Bavarian automaker has released a video detailing the development of the entire customization work, which you can watch by clicking on the photo above.

The history of the Kia C’eed began six years ago at the Geneva Motor Show and Kia is repeating history with a second unveiling at the same show. The 2012 Geneva Motor Show will be the backdrop for the introduction of the second generation C’eed. The first details provided for the new sedan will be a real threat on the C-segment market.

The new Kia C’eed is longer, wider, and lower than its predecessor and features a more dynamic and sophisticated styling. At the front of the vehicle is Kia’s new trademark "tiger-nose" grille and aggressive, wraparound headlamp clusters housing signature LED daytime running lights. A steeply raked A-pillar, a very low belt-line, and an integrated rear spoiler will accentuate the sporty aesthetics of the new model.

On the interior, Kia has opted for a more premium look and feel, higher perceived quality, improved switchgear, touch-screen technology, and enhanced driving position ergonomics. The dashboard features an aircraft-theme, the main control panel has been placed around the steering wheel, and the main control groups such as audio and air-conditioning have been segregated to bring a more premium, luxurious, big car feel to the interior. The rest is all about soft and high quality materials.

There are no details on the engine line-up just yet, but we’re sure details will be revealed when the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors.

The 2012 Geneva Motor Show is less than one month away and, taking into account all of the cars scheduled to appear, it’s going to be a hell of a show. This is especially true if we consider the fact that Lotus has just announced they will "blow the top off" in Geneva this year. Signs point to a convertible, or strategically placed bait for the media.

The British company hasn’t revealed any details on the exact model that will be blowing its top, but their press release says that the new car will have "something breezy, something loud, something ice-cold, and some other interesting elements." Logically speaking, the "blow the top off" part seems pretty self explanatory, but the other elements have definitely sparked our curiosity. A whole new model would certainly not be out of the question, but highly unlikely. The next Lotus Exige was rumored to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, but that’s a Coupe so Lotus is either throwing us for a loop or debuting something different. A possible convertible model could be the convertible version of the Evora that was rumored a few years ago, which would suit us just fine.

Whatever the case may be, the mysterious Lotus will show its face, and it’s possible drop top, when the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors on March 6, 2012. Stay tuned!

After being rumored for quite some time, the Ferrari California Handling Speciale has officially been introduced almost a full month before its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The first details offered by Ferrari are that the Handling Speciale will be 66 lbs lighter and will deliver 30 HP more than the standard model.

The new Ferrari California Handling Speciale is equipped with new exhaust manifolds and, after some engine mapping, the V8 engine now delivers a total of 490 HP and a peak torque of 372 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm. Ferrari also used plenty of aluminum, as well as construction technologies used by the Scaglietti Center of Excellence to offer the decrease in weight and maximize the increase in power. This translates to a more dynamic and faster vehicle with a 0-60 mph sprint time of just 3.8 seconds.

Handling is also improved modifications to the suspension set-up that minimize body roll and make the car even more responsive to driver inputs. Magnetorheological dampers controlled by even faster ECU (-50% response time) running patented Ferrari software are also added to the mix for better response, with stiffer springs for more precise body control and a more comfortable ride. Finally, the California benefits from faster turn-in with smaller steering wheel angles thanks to a new steering box with a 10% quicker steering ratio.

Updated 05/11/2012: Ferrari has unveiled a new video presenting the technical details behind their new California. Enjoy!

Every German car company has their performance tuning arm and Audi is no different. The "S" badging has come to mean something special for Audi fans and the current line of S models compete with the likes of Mercedes Mercedes AMG and BMW M models. Throughout the past 5 years or so, the automotive industry, especially this high end sector, has seen a never ending horsepower and performance war. And now that Mercedes has officially dropped the C63 Black Series , Audi had to do something to respond to that challenge. And they did: the company has announced the launch of the third generation RS4 Avant. The new RS4 combines potent performance with a high level of everyday practicality.

The original model was a muscle car in a tight suit producing 414hp from a 4.2-liter V8 that was stuffed in the small engine compartment. This, in addition to a tightened suspension, bigger brakes, and a six-speed manual, made the car very hard to compete with. But the new generation is even better. Audi is now utilizing a new 4.2 liter V8 engine - borrowed from the RS5 - that delivers a total of 450 HP. This engine sprints the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds - an impressive number for a station wagon model.

UPDATE 02/15/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images.

UPDATE 06/14/2012: Audi has unveiled a new set of high res images for the new RS4 Avant, but also three new video presenting the car in action, plus details on the car’s exterior and interior. Enjoy!

Another auto show, another special edition MX-5 Miata . Leave it to Mazda to do something like that, and quite frankly, you won’t see any complaints from us.

It wasn’t that long ago - last week at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show , to be exact - when Mazda treated all of us with a new special edition model of the legendary MX-5 Miata Roadster.

Not content with just one of these bad boys being showcased at a major auto event, the Japanese automaker decided to bring ANOTHER special edition MX-5 Miata to the NEXT auto event on the calendar: the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

This particular model is called the "MX-5 Special Edition Spring 2012", a car that will be offered exclusively to the European market - America, we had our turn last week! - and distinguishing itself with a choice of four exterior paint finishes, including Radiant Ebony, Crystal White Pearl, Metropolitan Grey and Brilliant Black.

In addition to the four interesting color ways, the MX-5 Special Edition Spring 2012 will also carry grille surrounds, chrome headlamp inserts, and fog lamp bezels as part of the exterior enhancements. As for the interior, Mazda dressed up the special edition MX-5 with a pretty unique “Havana Brown” leather upholstery, as well as fitting the same model with an integrated navigation system, a first for the Mazda MX-5.

The current Hyundai Genesis Coupe went on sale in United States dealerships back on February 26, 2009. It was a pretty cool sports car powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder that delivered 212 HP and 217 lb.-ft. of torque, but in 2011, Hyundai tried making it even better by adding a new version: the Coupe 3.8 R-Spec . This new coupe is powered by a 3.8 liter V6 engine that delivers 306 HP, which is obviously better than the previous model, but apparently, that addition simply wasn’t enough for Hyundai. Now, they’ve brought the facelift version of the Genesis Coupe to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, in its American version.

The new 2013 Genesis Coupe sports more aggressive coupe styling, complemented by an improved interior and design. It will be available with 4-cylinder and V6 engines, both of which benefit from significant technology enhancements, a 3.8-liter V6 engine with sophisticated direct-injection technology, and a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that has been upgraded to a more precise twin-scroll turbocharger and larger intercooler.

UPDATE 01/09/2012: This review has been updated with the official images and specs of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

UPDATE 02/14/2012: Hyundai has announced today prices for the new Genesis Coupe that will go on sale this March. Prices will range from $24,250 for the 2.0T model to $34,250 for the 3.8 Track. The 3.8-liter R-Spec model is priced from $28,750. Hit the jump for the full pricing list.

Hit the jump to read more about the future 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Koenigsegg Agera R

Koenigsegg is still battling the federal regulations that have halted the Agera supercar’s trip over to the US, but if all goes as planned, the company will be sending the first units to our side of the pond in June 2012, with a crisp white Agera R leading the trip. With that project on a bit of a standstill, the company has moved on to announce that they will be unveiling a rendering of their 100th super car at this year’s Geneva Motor Show in March. No details on the new supercar have been provided as of yet, but the thought alone is enough to put Koenigsegg fans in a state of agony until then.

Supercar dreams aside, Koenigsegg also confirmed that they are currently preparing a camless engine inspired by the Formula 1 cars. The company said this is "a radical departure in engine design that will increase fuel economy between 20 and 30 percent by using pneumatic-controlled valves."

The engine is being developed in cooperation with Cargine Engineering and its new "technology provides exacting control of each cylinder and would allow for infinitely variable valve lift and duration, as well as cylinder deactivation. Energy to operate the valves also would be reduced compared to a conventional cammed engine."

More details on the latest Koenigsegg news will surely follow in the next month or two, so stay tuned!

Audi is preparing to bring out the new generation TT-RS in 2013, but before that happens, the company is sending the current generation out with a more powerful bang. Called the TT-RS Plus, this new model will be offered in both coupe and roadster versions. In Germany, the TT-RS Coupe equipped with a manual transmission will be priced at €60,650 ($80,500 at the current exchange rates) and €62,800 ($83,500 at the current exchange rates) with the seven-speed S tronic . The TT RS Plus Roadster has a list price of €63,500 ($84,500 at the current exchange rates) with the manual transmission and €65,650 ($86,000 at the current exchange rates) with the seven-speed S tronic.

The Audi TT-RS Plus will be the most powerful TT-RS model launched on the market. It is powered by a 2.5 liter five-cylinder turbo engine that delivers a total of 360 HP - an increase of 20 HP over the standard version. As a result, the model will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with a top speed that has been increased to 173 mph.

UPDATE 03/07/2012: The new Audi TT-RS Plus has made its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and we have added a series of live images from the show. Enjoy!

Hit the jump to read more about the Audi TT-RS Plus.

Kia has brought a new range topping Optima to the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. The special Optima SX Limited will go on sale in March and will be offered exclusively in three exterior colors: Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl, and Titanium Metallic.

The special edition Kia Optima SX Limited will be distinguished by LED daytime running lights, a chrome-accented rear spoiler, lower door sills, wood interior trim, and a new set of uniquely designed chrome 18-inch wheels. The interior has been dressed up in black or white Nappa for the leather seats, door panels, center console armrest, and center fascia trim for a premium feel. All of these elements are combined with wood accents on the steering wheel, interior door trim, and shift knob, and a black tricot fabric lends a premium feel to the headliner, sun visor, and A, B, and C pillars.

The Kia Optima SX Limited is powered by the vehicle’s usual 2.0-liter turbo GDI V6 engine that delivers a total of 274 HP and achieves 22/34 mpg city/hwy.


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