2013 BMW M6 Convertible Test Drive

21 06 2012

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet, Heavy Like the Man of Steel

In practical terms, the new 2013 BMW M6 Convertible is an M5 with half the  doors, more of the weight, and none of the roof. It uses the same  560-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8 that, on top of delivering more power than the  outgoing V-10, returns better fuel economy.  The drive wheels (rear) are the same, as are the seven-speed twin-clutch  transmission and the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

Also similar is the “Are  we really going that fast?” effect resulting from spurts of wide-open throttle.  It’s the product of a subdued engine note, nice damper control, and endless  torque. At 4490 pounds, the M6 weighs 106 pounds more than the already portly  M5, and, as you might expect, it posts slightly slower acceleration numbers as a  result — “slightly slower” though, in this case, means reaching 60 mph takes  3.9 seconds.

Unfortunately, reaching that acceleration requires using the same fussy and  cumbersome launch control system found in the M5. The process: Turn stability  control off, ensure that the transmission is in its most aggressive shift  setting (S3), lightly step on the brake with your left foot, and hold the  shifter forward. When the flag appears on the dash, go to wide-open throttle,  and, when the revs settle, release the brake pedal. There are many problems  with this process. Obviously you can’t use launch control when the car is still warming up, nor  can you use it multiple times in a row. The absence of a “Launch Control  unavailable” warning on the dash means you never know why the car isn’t entering  launch control. Instead, you get frustrated, wondering if the car isn’t ready,  or you’ve done something wrong. It’s easy to get something wrong. You can’t hold the shifter forward too long,  or else the car exits launch control, and “lightly” is a very vague description  of how to press the brake pedal — you have to breathe it with your left foot.  The system allows you to choose the launch rpm, but only allows you to do so  when the engine is revving and ready to launch, forcing you to set your desired  engine speed quickly with the cruise control toggle. (The current Mustang allows  you to choose engine speed through a digital display at any time.) Drag racing  is not the M6’s focus, but any user interface should work intuitively,  regardless of the car’s purpose.

Fortunately, braking performance is simpler, and quite impressive. We recorded a  best stop from 60 mph of 105 feet. And despite being… let’s say,  lightness-challenged, the M6 posted a best lap around our figure eight of 24.6  seconds and generated average lateral acceleration of 0.98 g. It pushes  initially, but becomes surprisingly neutral after the tires warm up. Quick  torque delivery thanks to nearly instant-on turbochargers means big, smoky  powerslides are one firm press of the right pedal away.

Having a convertible top allows you to savor the satisfaction of said  tire-spinning shenanigans as the smoke wafts through the beautifully upholstered  cabin, given that you’ve allotted 19 seconds to drop it. Closing takes 24  seconds, near the 20 seconds required by the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG. The M6  allows you to open or shut the roof at speeds up to 25 mph, something that the  SL’s rear hinging mechanism prevents. We haven’t even touched  on the technical tidbits inside: the radar cruise control, the array of cameras  for parking assistance, the fuel saving stop-start. These pieces reinforce the  engineering exercise that is the M6. Making something this heavy go this fast  with improved fuel economy is a feat worthy of admiration. Yet it remains a  4500-pound sports car, and while that weight is many things, it doesn’t conjure  passion or desire.
  • BASE PRICE: $115,295
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $125,595
  • VEHICLE LAYOUT: Front engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door convertible
  • ENGINE: 4.4L/560-hp/500-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8
  • TRANSMISSION: 7-speed twin-clutch auto.
  • CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST): 4490 lb (51/49%)
  • WHEELBASE: 112.2 in
  • LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 193.0 x 74.8 x 53.9 in
  • 0-60 MPH: 3.9 sec
  • QUARTER MILE: 12.3 sec @ 115.2 mph
  • BRAKING: 60-0 MPH 105 ft
  • LATERAL ACCELERATION: 0.98 g (avg)
  • MT FIGURE EIGHT: 24.6 sec @ 0.85 g (avg)
  • EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON: 14/20 mpg
  • ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY: 241/169 kW-hrs/100 miles
  • CO2 EMISSIONS: 1.20 lb/mile

BMW TwinPower Turbo and Valvetronic

18 06 2012

BMW Group scores with four, six and eight cylinders at the 2012 International Engine of the Year Awards. A good opportunity to have a closer look at the technology of the engines: BMW TwinPower Turbo and more closer the VALVETRONIC technology.

Here is a bit more info on the technology:

The technology package employed in this engine comprises a supercharging system operating according to the Twin Scroll principle, High Precision Injection with direct fuel injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve control and double VANOS variable camshaft control. This combination guarantees not only spontaneous throttle response and sporty power delivery continuing into the high load range, but also fuel economy that is outstandingly favorable even for a petrol engine of this performance class.

BMW TwinPower Turbo & Valvetronic

The Valvetronic system is a variable valve timing system to offer continuous and precisely variable intake valve lift,[1] from ~0 to 10 mm, and duration. It typically works in conjunction with the independent Double VANOS system that continuously varies the timing (on both intake and exhaust camshafts). Valvetronic-equipped engines rely on the amount of valve lift for load control, rather than a butterfly valve in the intake tract. In other words, in normal driving, the “gas pedal” controls the Valvetronic hardware rather than the throttle plate.

Cylinder heads with Valvetronic use an extra set of rocker arms, called intermediate arms (lift scaler), positioned between the valve stem and the camshaft. These intermediate arms are able to pivot on a central point, by means of an extra, electronically actuated camshaft. This movement alone, without any movement of the intake camshaft, can vary the intake valves’ lift from fully open, or maximum power, to almost closed, or idle.

Because the intake valves lift now have the ability to move from almost closed to fully open positions, and everywhere in between, the primary means of controlling engine output is transferred from the throttle plate to the intake valvetrain. By shortening the duration of the intake instead of throttling, pumping losses are reduced and fuel economy is improved. By reducing the valve lift, asymmetrically on 4-valve engines, swirl is generated in the cylinder, leading to a better air/fuel mixture. By avoiding a large air reservoir between the throttle and the engine responsiveness can be improved, though it depends on the speed of the electric motor actuating the second camshaft.

However, the throttle plate is not removed, but rather defaults to a fully open position once the engine is running. The throttle will partially close when the engine is first started, to create the initial vacuum needed for certain engine functions, such as emissions control. Once the engine reaches operating speed, a vacuum pump run off the passenger side exhaust camshaft (on the N62 V8, exhaust cam on the N52/K) provides a vacuum source, much as a diesel engine would, and the throttle plate once again goes to the fully open position.

The throttle plate also doubles as an emergency backup, should the Valvetronic system fail. In this case, the engine would enter a “limp home” program, and engine speed would once again be controlled by the throttle plate.

First introduced by BMW on the 316ti compact in 2001, Valvetronic has since been added to many of BMW’s engines. The Valvetronic system is coupled with BMW’s proven double-VANOS, to further enhance both power and efficiency across the engine speed range. Valvetronic was not coupled to early BMW’s N53, “High Precision Injection” (gasoline direct injection) technology engines due to lack of room in the cylinder head. New generation ‘compact’ Valvetronic allows for direct injection to utilized in the N55B30 turbo engine, as seen in the 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo.

Video: BMW TwinPower Turbo Valvetronic

Valvetronic was initially used on BMW’s mass-market engines, mostly of the naturally aspirated variety such as the BMW N42 straight-4, N62 V8, N73 V12, and N52 straight-6. Valvetronic was not found on the directly-injected N53 straight-6, nor was it on the N54 straight-6 and N62 V8 (the latter two directly-injected and twin-turbocharged).

Directly-injected and turbocharged engines introduced in 2009 such as the single-turbo N55 straight-6 and the twin-turbo N74 V12 also make use of Valvetronic.

Until 2012, no high-performance M-series vehicle uses Valvetronic, instead continuing to utilise multiple throttle-bodied designs. The 2012 BMW M5 (F10), however, will use an updated S63 engine that adds Valvetronic technology in lieu of the individual throttles found on its equivalents in the BMW X5 M and X6 M. The 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe will also feature a Valvetronic update of the N63 engine.

BMW i Series

17 06 2012

The start of the BMW i Born Electric Tour is getting closer! We are delighted to announce: all speakers for the grand opening in Rome are confirmed. Enjoy outstanding speakers as designer Fabio Novembre, architect Carlo Ratti, BMW i lead designer Benoit Jacob, architect Matteo Thun, designer Antonio Citterio and entrepreneur Jessica Scorpio.

Electric cars distinguish themselves with numerous technical features that differ from the familiar functionality of conventional vehicles. A growing portfolio of 360° ELECTRIC products and services will ensure convenient electromobility in almost every situation.


15 06 2012

BMW ALPINA B5 Bi-Turbo offers in Saloon and Touring:

Alpina recently debuted at the Geneva auto show, the improved BMW Alpina B5 Biturbo with 540 HP. We’ve reposted below the B5’s official specs and information, as well as a gallery from the Geneva show. Alpina has just released the following official video promo for the B5. Unfortunately, the B5 is not available in North America currently.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

14 06 2012

The new 5.5-litre turbocharged V8 from AMG with seven speeds gearbox all together with a three locking differentials, low-range transfer case work with the rigid axles and totally recalibrated ESP called 4ETS – for Four-wheel Electronic Traction System – to crawl you over any obstacle in its path, has made the “G” star(s) in Mercedes.

  • For more Info: Mercedes-Benzz G 63 AMG

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Audi R8 V10 5.2 Quattro in Polished Chrome

13 06 2012

The epitome of automotive art in Audi Programmkino at Ingolstadt, Germany.
Engine: Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI Quattro
Colour: Polished Chrome
Wheels: Forged aluminum, 10-spoke Y design, polished, colored, size 8.5 J x 19 front, size 11 J x 19 rear rear with 235/35 R 19 front and 305/30 R 19


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The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: An Icon in Any Era

13 06 2012

The term SL-Class refers to the marketing variations of the vehicle, including the numerous engine configurations spanning six design generations. Here is a look at some of history’s most beautiful Roadster with Covertible Soft Top Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vehicles from 1960 to 2002.

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