• BMW updates 3.0 CSL Hommage concept for Pebble Beach

    August 14, 2015
    BMW is displaying an updated version of the retro-inspired 3.0 CSL Hommage concept at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

    The new concept is called 3.0 CSL Hommage R and, as its name implies, it’s essentially a racing version of the 3.0 CSL concept. It was designed as a tribute to the original 3.0 CSL that tore up race tracks during the 1975 IMSA season, and to celebrate BMW USA’s 40th anniversary.

    The coupe gets new kidney grilles with sporty-looking mesh inserts, an eye-catching white paint job accented by BMW Motorsport’s signature stripes, new 21-inch alloy wheels and a more aggressive-looking air diffuser out back. Like the 1975 model, the concept is fitted with “Bavarian Motor Works” stripes on both wind screens.

    BMW has teamed up with Puma to design a state-of-the-art racing suit that transfers vital information about the car from the rectangular steering wheel to a heads-up display built into the helmet’s visor. The system only works if the driver has both hands on the wheel. Carbon fiber bucket seats strike an ideal balance between support and comfort, and a carbon fiber roll cage built into the roof panel protects the occupants in the event of a rollover.

    The cockpit is designed around the driver and all equipment deemed superfluous has been left out. Twin air vents blow fresh air at ambient temperature, while a cross-member designed to look like a piece of wood trim provides vital information such as a map of the track and braking points. The cross-member harks back to the original CSL, which retained wood trim on the dash throughout most of the 1975 season.

    Surprisingly, BMW hasn’t revealed what the concept is powered by.

    Like the first 3.0 CSL Hommage concept, the 3.0 CSL Hommage R will remain a one-off design study that will not see the light that awaits at the end of a production line. However, the current 6 Series is a direct descendant of the CSL, so it’s not too far-fetched to imagine the concept’s design could influence the next-gen 6 that is scheduled to debut before the end of the decade.

  • BMW introduces Concept M4 GTS in Pebble Beach

    August 14, 2015

    BMW has traveled to the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to introduce a show car called Concept M4 GTS.

    The M4 GTS packs a water-injected version of the stock M4′s twin-turbocharged 425-horsepower 3.0-liter straight-six engine. BMW’s oft-promoted water-injection system promises to significantly lower the temperature inside the engine, to improve fuel efficiency and to boost both power and torque by up to ten percent, but more specific technical details haven’t been published yet.

    The water-injection system is complemented by one of the most advanced cooling systems in the industry. In addition to a main radiator, the coupe is fitted with additional radiators for the high- and low-temperature circuits, the transmission and the turbochargers.

    Finished in Frozen Dark Grey metallic, the M4 GTS is equipped with a manually-adjustable front spoiler and a huge wing out back. The hood is crafted entirely out of carbon fiber in order to shave weight and lower the center of gravity, and the GTS gains organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) tail lamps. Light alloy wheels with Acid Orange accents add a finishing touch to the track-ready look.

    Although the M4 GTS is officially billed as a concept, BMW isn’t shy about admitting that the coupe will be added to its lineup as a limited-edition model in the near future. A precise launch date hasn’t been released yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the coupe make its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show that will open its doors in November.

    When it lands, the M4 GTS will earn the honor of being the first M3-/M4-based special production model sold on our shores.

  • Lexus unveils new LX 570 at Monterey Historics

    August 14, 2015

    Lexus has chosen the Historic Car Week in Monterey to unveil its updated LX 570. The marque’s flagship SUV has received significant mechanical and cosmetic improvements for the 2016 model year.

    The first thing you’ll notice — and how can you not — is that the body-on-frame SUV has a new face. Revealed in spy shots recently, the look is now confirmed by the company. A massive one-piece spindle grille dominates the nose, surrounded by a satin chrome edge. As we predicted, the new schnoz is flanked by LED headlights that start at the grille and sweep further back and fall in line with the rest of the Lexus lineup. Restyled turn signals and foglamps are both LED as well.

    Lexus says that every body panel has been reskinned, and only the door panels carry over from the previous year. The rear fascia take on a more chiseled shape, and the taillights now include a nestled “L” design element concordant with other Lexus models. Brand new 20-inch mesh-style and 21-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels finish the exterior.

    The cabin has been thoroughly redesigned as well. A tasteful and contemporary dashboard, bisected horizontally by wood trim, greets occupants. Sitting front and center is an analog clock that Lexus says is carved from a solid aluminum ingot. The most noticeable change is a humongous 12.3-inch screen with Lexus’s remote touch interface that seems to rise up from the upper half of the dash.

    The driver is now treated to a handsome 3-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel and a larger 4.2-inch multi-information display. Meters and gauges are now bathed in chrome and metal finishes, but if you’d rather ignore them there’s an available heads-up display as well. There’s even a wireless charging tray for phone equipped to do so.

    Passengers too have not been left out. LED ambient lighting can now be found throughout the interior and cargo area. Second-row passengers are pampered with sun shades, heated and ventilated rear seats if the Luxury Package is ticked off, and gigantor 11.6-inch screens if the vehicle is equipped with Rear Seat Entertainment System.

    Drivetrain-wise, the brawny 5.7L V8 remains the same, providing produces 383hp at 5,600 rpm and 403 lb.-ft peak torque at 3,600 rpm. However, a new 8-speed automatic transmission replaces the outgoing 6-speed. The new transmission brings with it multiple driving modes, from Eco to Standard to Sport to Sport+.

    Carried over from the previous years is the four-wheel Active Traction Control system (A-TRAC) that can be combined with the Multi-Terrain Select system for traversing a variety of terrains, with modes for Rock, Rock and Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, Mud and Sand. The transmission retains a driver-selectable low range for loose surfaces and steep inclines.

    A slew of new safety features also brings the LX in line with the rest of the brand portfolio. A panoramic view camera with rear cross traffic alert is now standard, as is a blind spot monitor. The Lexus Safety System+ is standard as well, and includes an active pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts, and radar cruise control. There’s now even a tire pressure monitor that will identify exactly which wheel has the deflated tube.

    While not a complete redesign, Lexus’s go-anywhere body-on-frame luxury SUV soldiers on. Pricing and on-sale date have yet to be announced.

  • Lexus introduces GS 200t, previews restyled GS line

    August 14, 2015

    Lexus has unveiled a minor model change for its GS series of luxury sedans. On top of the expected visual updates, a new turbocharged four-cylinder model will be added to the mix.

    Starting with the big news, the 2016 Lexus lineup will be joined by a new model, the GS 200t. Powered by the same 2.0L turbo four that powers the IS 200t, the new entry-level GS will have 241hp and 258 lb-ft of torque on tap.

    The GS 350 will get a power bump, albeit slight, from 306 to 311hp. Torque also creeps up, from 277 to 280 lb-ft, but the 3.5L V6 remains the same.

    No mechanical changes are slated for the GS 450h, but all three cars get a noticeable visual revision in front. A yawning new spindle grille is the new prow, bringing the sedan further in line with the rest of the Lexus lineup. It is huge, it is jutting, and it is surrounded by a satin chrome finish. New bi-LED headlights and DRLs, as well as restyled foglamps, all seem to peel back to make way for the massive maw.

    Out back, changes to the rear bumper and nested “L” taillights seem tame in comparison. The GS 200t receives a new 17-inch multi-spoke wheel design while the GS 350 gets 18-inch alloys standard. New multi-layered, twice-baked paints have been added to the palette as well.

    The interior receives an enormous new 12.3-inch central display. The accompanying remote touch interface now has extra side “enter” buttons for ease of use, and navigation is now standard. A redesigned three-spoke steering wheel and larger 4.2-inch multi-information display are at the helm, and the analog clock can now recognize time zone changes thanks to GPS.

    Lexus’s Safety System+ is available on the new GS, giving drivers the reassurance of a pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts, intelligent high beams and dynamic cruise control.

    Pricing and on-sale dates have yet to be announced.

  • Mercedes-Benz introduces 2017 C-Class Coupe

    August 14, 2015

    Mercedes-Benz has lifted the veil on its all new 2017 C-Class Coupe. The C-Class Coupe is scheduled to arrive in U.S. showrooms during Spring 2016 after making its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

    As you might expect, 2017 Mercedes C-Class Coupe arrives with front end styling lifted from its sedan counterpart. That means a sporty front bumper design with three distinct air inlets, projector headlights with LED accents and a sculpted hood. In order to visually separate the C-Class Coupe from the sedan, the number of bars across the Coupe’s radiator grille has been reduced to one from two.

    From the A-pillar back the 2017 C-Class Coupe mimics the larger S-Class coupe. A kinked-up window line at the rear of the car is also reminiscent of the Honda Accord Coupe.

    The rear of the C-Class Coupe features a subtle ducktail spoiler and the same taillight treatment seen on other Mercedes coupe models. A pair of exhaust outlets are neatly integrated into the C-Class Coupe’s lower valance.

    The interior design of the C-Class Coupe is essentially a carbon copy of what you’ll find inside of the C-Class Sedan. Highlights of the C-Class Coupe’s interior include a high-mounted infotainment screen, available open-pore wood accents and a 2+2 seating arrangement.

    Buyers coming from the previous C-Class Coupe will appreciate the larger interior dimensions of the new model. The 2017 C-Class Coupe is longer (+3.7-inches) and wider (+1.6-inches) than the model it replaces, netting additional shoulder, elbow and head room in both rows of seats.

    At launch the C-Class Coupe will be available in C300 and C300 4MATIC forms. Both models will use a 2.0L turbocharged engine, rated at 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft or torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The standard C300 will use rear-wheel drive while the 4MATIC model adds the stability of all-wheel drive.

    All C300 models will ship standard with a sports suspension that lowers the car’s ride height by 0.6-inches compared to the C300 Sedan. Buyers can also select Mercedes’ AIRMATIC Air Suspension for an additional charge.

    On the safety and technology front, the C-Class Coupe will come standard with Collision Prevention Assist Plus, PRE-SAFE, Mbrace Services and keyless start. All C-Class Coupe models will also get 18-inch wheels and a panoramic sunroof.

    Advanced autonomous features will also be available. The optional DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist package includes adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist functions that can be used from 0-124mph. At speeds below 81mph the system is able to follow the vehicle ahead if no lane markings are present.

    Pricing for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 and C300 4MATIC will be announced at a later date.