• BMW teases track-only M6 GT3

    October 11, 2014
    BMW has published a pair of teaser sketches that preview the upcoming M6 GT3.

    The M6 GT3 is being designed by a small team of engineers in Munich to replace the Z4 GT3. The sketches hint the GT3 stands out from a stock M6 thanks to a deep front bumper with a carbon fiber splitter, large air vents in the hood, side exhausts, a huge wing mounted on the trunk lid and a sizable air diffuser integrated into the rear bumper.

    Multi-spoke center-locking wheels and a paint job that prominently displays the colors of BMW’s M division round out the exterior updates.

    Power for the M6 GT3 will come from an evolution of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that powers the M5 and the M6. The eight-cylinder will be heavily modified for track use, though BMW is not ready to disclose how much power the mill will pump out. BMW’s next racer will shift through a track-specific gearbox.

    The BMW M6 GT3 will go on sale at the end of next year, meaning buyers will be able to compete in the 2016 edition of the BMW Sports Trophy. Pricing information will be published in the weeks leading up to the racer’s on-sale date.

  • Audi considers extreme R8 ‘RS’ model

    October 11, 2014
    Audi is reportedly considering a new range-topping R8 ‘RS’ edition for the next-generation model.

    The R8 V10 is currently the flagship model, taking advantage of a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter engine that produces 525 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque, while the lesser V8 edition steps down to 430 ponies and 316 lb-ft of twist.

    The RS edition would naturally be powered by another Italian 10-cylinder, but with plenty of more power. Quattro head Heinz Hollerweger points to the Huracan’s tune as a likely target, suggesting the highest-performing R8 could get over 600 horsepower.

    “I have to admit, we are discussing it,” the executive told Top Gear.

    Some buyers may be disappointed to learn that a manual gearbox will no longer be an option, however 95 percent of current R8 customers are opting for the faster dual-clutch automatic.

    The next-gen R8 is not expected to arrive until summer 2015, while the RS variant, if greenlit, will likely be introduced later in the cycle after a hybrid configuration.

  • BMW promises fix for i3 acceleration problem

    October 11, 2014
    BMW is reportedly attempting to resolve an acceleration problem with its range-extended i3 hybrid.

    The issue was discovered by Consumer Reports as a driver attempted to pass a vehicle on a hilly two-lane highway after depleting the main battery. The i3 began to lose power, “subjecting the driver to more exposure in the oncoming lane” before recovering after coasting.

    “But losing power just when you need it most is disconcerting to say the least,” CR wrote in a blog post.

    Later tests showed that continued use of the throttle without regenerating the battery, either by coasting or applying the brakes, causes the acceleration to stretch from an all-electric best of 7.5 seconds to a maximum of 40 seconds.

    BMW is reportedly working on a fix for the issue, though it is unexpected to arrive until spring 2015. The system will be revised to warn drivers of the low-charge condition, while the gasoline-powered range extender will kick in early to charge the batteries in certain scenarios.

    It is unclear if the revised software will be issued through a formal safety recall, but BMW promises it will be available as an upgrade for existing vehicles.

  • Mitsubishi recalls Lancer, Outlander over belt detachment

    October 11, 2014
    Mitsubishi has issued a recall for several Lancer and Outlander models, outfitted with the company’s 4B1 straight-four engine.

    The affected vehicles have engine belt pulleys that are said to be prone to unusual wear, allowing the belt to detach. The belt arrangement drives the alternator, the cooling fan and the power-steering pump.

    If the belt detaches, the battery may discharge and eventually result in an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. It is unclear if the problem has been blamed for any accidents or injuries.

    Technicians will inspect the system and replace the drive belts and any excessively worn pulleys.

    The recall affects the 2008-2011 Lancer, Lancer Evolution and Outlander; the 2009-2011 Lancer Sportback and 2011 Outlander Sport.

  • Nissan recalls Altima; hood can unexpectedly open while driving

    October 11, 2014
    Nissan has issues a recall for its 2013 Altima, warning of problems with the hood latch system.

    The company suggests interference between the inner hood panel and secondary latch lever can cause binding and prevent the secondary latch from properly securing the hood when it is closed.

    If the primary latch is inadvertently released and the secondary latch is not engaged, the hood could unexpectedly open while driving, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash,” the company notes in its filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    The problem is said to be related to buildup or debris and component corrosion. The primary latch also appears to be trouble-free, preventing the hood from flying open as long as it is properly closed before starting a journey.

    Dealers will be instructed to inspect the secondary lever and modify the bend angle, if necessary, to eliminate potential interference with the inner hood panel.