Friday, November 9, 2012

“2012 BMW M5 Test Drive Review” plus 6 more Motorbeam

“2012 BMW M5 Test Drive Review” plus 6 more Motorbeam

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2012 BMW M5 Test Drive Review

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 07:05 AM PST

2012 BMW M5 Test Drive Review

2012 BMW M5 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car tested: 2012 BMW M5 (F10)

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,28,08,220/-

BMW is known for developing driver’s cars, offering splendid handling and sheer performance. While the 5-Series is a luxury sedan, offered with the best of equipment and comfort, it does have the BMW genes in it. But what if the folks at M-Technik take a 5-Series and convert it into a complete monster? The result is the BMW M5, which is one of the fastest 4-door saloons in the world. The first M5 was born way back in 1985 and was based on the E28 5-Series. Today the BMW M5 is in its fifth generation with the F10M model boasting of almost double the horse power over the original. BMW’s M-division tunes and tests all the M models on BMW’s private facility at the Nürburgring. How does this beast perform? We take this high performance sports sedan for a spin to find out.

Exteriors – Since the M5 is based on the 5-Series, the styling is very similar too. The changes to the exteriors are few. At the front, one will immediately notice the aggressive bumper sans fog lights, which have been removed to accommodate the air intakes. The slats on the kidney grille are now finished in black instead of chrome. On the side, the BMW M5 gets air intakes on either side, which are surrounded by chrome and also incorporate the turn signals.

The most eye catchy part of the BMW M5 are the massive 20-inch forged wheels. These 5-slim double spoke wheels flaunt the massive brakes and blue callipers. There are side skirts too, which transform the look of the car to a great extent. At the rear, the BMW M5 gets a boot integrated rear spoiler, M5 badging, new rear bumper with diffuser and quad exhaust pipes. Overall the styling of the BMW M5 is very subtle and doesn’t give onlookers any hint of what is under the hood.

Interiors – Everything inside the BMW M5 is similar to the regular 5-Series. However there are a few M specific changes. The steering wheel gets the M badge on it while the colors used inside are slightly different too. The instrument cluster too gets the M badge and the speedometer is calibrated all the way up to 330 km/hr, instead of the 260 km/hr in the regular 5-Series. A 10.2-inch screen is offered in the M5, instead of the 7-inch one found on the regular car.

The other changes to on the inside are on the center console. The M5 gets a M gear lever along with various M buttons placed around it. These M buttons help you to choose Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus mode for the steering, suspension and engine. Every time the car is restarted, the BMW M5 shifts all settings to comfort mode. One can also toggle between three speeds for gearshifts. One can save their preferred configuration via the steering wheel and toggle between them by just pressing a button. Side cameras are placed around each front wheel, a feature which is lifted from the 7-Series.

The BMW M5 also features a heads-up display, which is very different from the one found on the 5-Series. The M5′s heads-up display shows vehicle speed, gear and tachometer. This heads-up display has a full spectrum of colors. Apart from these changes, the M5′s cabin is identical to the 5-Series. Built quality is top notch and the M5 is an extremely comfortable vehicle for 4 occupants. The seats are splendid, having excellent side bolstering, which helps you to stay comfortable when you hit the high G-forces this car is capable of generating. A big boot of 520-litres makes the M5 a very practical car for a weekend getaway.

Performance – In the interest of down-sizing, BMW has removed 2-cylinders from the M5. While the E60 M5 had a 5.0-litre V10 engine, the F10 M5 gets a 4.4-litre V8 engine. However this downsized motor has twin-turbochargers which enables it to produce 560 HP of power between 6000-7000 RPM and an insane 680 Nm of torque right from 1500 – 5750 RPM. The F10M model produces 10% more power and 30% more torque than its predecessor. Even with the increased output, BMW claims the new M5 is 30% more efficient.

The most surprising part about the new BMW M5 is daily usability. One can drive around congested city conditions like a wolf in sheeps clothing. Thanks to the high amount of torque being produced lower down the revv range, the new M5 feels at home in traffic. When driven sedately, the M5 is silent, without much of noise from those quad exhaust pipes. But on full steam, the M5 growls loud and clear. Once you are out in the open, simply shift the M settings into Sports Plus mode and smack the throttle, the M5 turns into an entirely different machine.

At full steam, the BMW M5 feels and sounds like an aircraft ready to take off, it feels brutal and is massively quick.

Performance is simply mind-boggling and the thrust from the V8 motor is addictive. In fact so strong is the performance, that you need to mentally prepare yourself every time you stand on the accelerator pedal. This engine loves to be revved and redlines at 7200 RPM. The turbo kicks in so strong that even after lifting off the accelerator pedal, the M5 is still going strong. BMW claims the M5 will hit 100 km/hr in just 4.4 seconds, while 200 km/hr takes just 13 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/hr but the M Drivers package will remove the limiter, boosting the top speed to 305 km/hr. It is amazing to witness how the M5 is a sedate sedan at one time and a complete super car thrasher the other.

Mated to this direct injection motor is a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, which shifts like lightning. In manual mode, the transmission will simply not up-shift till you do so yourself. Steering mounted paddle shifts work well and shifts are butter smooth. With so much performance on tap, the BMW M5 does sip fuel and naturally so. Our test vehicle was returning 4 km/l, which is slightly better than most cars having similar power output.

Driving Dynamics – One would expect the M5 to have a bone jarring ride courtesy the 265/35/20 tyres at the front and 295/30/20 tyres at the rear but BMW engineers have pulled out a surprise. The M5 rides well, absorbing bumps with ease. It doesn’t feel stiff nor does it get unsettled by bad roads. One can choose comfort mode for the suspension thanks to the electronically controlled dampers. Braking performance is splendid and the massive 400 mm discs at the front and 396 mm discs at the rear, along with various systems (ABS, Dynamic Brake Control, Brake Assistant, Cornering Brake Control, Brake Drying function, Fading Compensation) ensure the M5 comes to a halt quicker than you can imagine. The M5 doesn’t run on run flat tyres and there is no spare wheel either.

Even with a weight of close to 1.9 tonnes, the BMW M5′s handling remains true to its name. You can push the M5 through any corner at any speed and it maintains splendid balance. The traction control system works very well to put all that power down sanely. It cuts down power to stabilize the vehicle when there is loss of traction. The Active M Differential channels power to the right rear wheel and left rear wheel to maintain traction. The electronic limited-slip differential controls wheelspin while the rear diffuser helps in better aerodynamics and keeps the car glued to the road at high speeds. The BMW M5′s hydraulic steering (regular 5-Series has an electric steering) has terrific feedback. It is well weighed at all speeds and is extremely communicative. In comfort mode, it is light and easy to maneuver in low speed conditions.

BMW M5 vs Mercedes E63 AMG - Earlier this year we drove the E63 AMG on the Buddh International Circuit (read more about it here). While the E63 AMG is slightly more comfortable it doesn’t feel as glued and sharp as the BMW. The E63 AMG is much louder too and we loved the throaty roar from the V8 motor. Both car’s traction control can be switched off but the E63 AMG’s automatically turns on when you start to loose grip. The M5 will not switch on the traction control until you manually do so. However the BMW M5 is slightly quicker than the E63 AMG.

Verdict – The new BMW M5 pleases with its dual characteristics. While it offers supercar performance, razor sharp handling and extreme high speed stability, the M5 doesn’t compromise on daily usability. This high performance 4-door saloon is very drivable and offers an extremely good ride quality too. The generous interior space and big boot give it practicality, while the monstrous V8 engine can turn it into a beast with a minor dab on the throttle. No wonder the BMW M5 is known as the best performing super saloon in the world throughout its five generations.

At the BMW M5′s price, there is no other vehicle which offers such a good combination of comfort and breathtaking performance.

Mark Webber Test Drives The Renault Duster

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 06:28 AM PST

Renault Duster Mark Webber

Renault, the engine supplier to the Red Bull Formula One Team, earlier this week invited Mark Webber to test the Duster 1.5-litre 4×4 diesel compat SUV in the deserts of Oman. Mark Webber was quite surprised by the agility of the car and impressed with the way the Renault Duster was tackling the desert sand. The Renault Duster is a monocoque compact crossover SUV based on the Dacia Logan platform. The monocoque chassis gives the Duster car like driving dynamics on road. We don't expect it to do the job of a hardcore off-roader, but the car seems to have done a commendable off-road job especially in a F1 driver's hand.

This 4×4 version on the Renault Duster is only available in European markets. Renault Duster in India is only available in 2-wheel drive version which has two engine options, 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel. This SUV has received a very good response in the Indian auto industry. It was launched in July this year for a starting price of Rs. 7.19 lakhs, the new Renault Duster now features in the list of top 15 cars sold in India. Renault has even increased its price recently by up to Rs. 40,000/-, but we don't think it will affect the sales much until its rival Ford EcoSport is launched.

Apart from India, Renault Duster is also available in other auto markets around the globe. In markets where Renault is not present, Duster is sold by Dacia, a Renault owned Romanian vehicle manufacturer. In the UK, the Dacia Duster became the cheapest SUV with a launch price of £8,995. It has already received 1000 pre-bookings with sales starting in January 2013. Renault plans to launch the 4-wheel drive version of the Duster in India by 2014. Nissan will launch a re-branded Duster next year.

Renault Duster Mark Webber Oman

Tata Nano Special Edition Available Pan India

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 06:00 AM PST

2012 Tata Nano Special Edition

A few days back, Tata Motors launched the special edition of the Nano in select cities. The company has now made the special edition available pan India. The Tata Nano Special Edition comes at the time of the festive season and is expected to boost volumes of the world’s most affordable car. Only limited number of units are available of this special edition. There will be no discount available on the special edition, while the regular variants get a cash discount.

The Tata Nano Special Edition is available in LX and CX variants. Both LX and CX variants get alloy wheels, audio system (with USB and AUX ports), twin glove boxes (first for a hatchback). The LX variant also gets body graphics which are missing on the CX variant. Tata Motors claims the Nano has the best AC in its class. The Nano is also the most fuel efficient petrol car in the country, delivering an ARAI certified mileage of 25.4 km/l. It also has the lowest CO2 emission of all cars sold in the country, although not many people look at vehicle emission while purchasing a car.

Sales of cars increase marginally during the festive season. In order to lure buyers, Tata Motors is offering extra features in the Nano special edition which are worth Rs. 25,000/-, for no additional cost. The company recently revealed its plans to bring in the CNG version of the Nano early next year, while the diesel version will only arrive in the second half of 2013. Sales of the Nano have declined in the past few months, but have improved compared to last year.

Renault’s Photo-Voltaic Network Hits 2 Birds With 1 Stone

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 02:58 AM PST

Renault Photovoltaic Panels

Photo-voltaic systems are environment friendly way of producing electricity which also helps in reducing the carbon emissions. Renault is making use of this technology to come up with the ‘World’s largest photo-voltaic system in the auto industry’. This new project by Renault will solve two problems at one go. The photo-voltaic panel would act as a shed for the company’s cars before they roll out of the premises. This would help in protecting them from the natural elements especially the hails.

Apart from the basic protection it would offer, the major outcome would be the production of electricity itself. The plan is to introduce a whooping 40 hectares (equivalent to 400,000 sq.ft.) of photo-voltaic panels at six of its production sites. The locations that have been finalized are Douai, Batilly, Sandouville, Maubeuge, Flins and Cléon. These would be implemented at the delivery centres, shipping centres and also employee parking areas. Thus it would be the best utilization of the available space.

The panels would be designed in a way to resist the natural impacts. It is estimated that these panels would generate 52,600 MWh of electricity per year. Well, that is the amount of electricity that can support a small town with around 15,000 people. As mentioned earlier, the system would reduce the carbon emissions by almost 200-tonnes. The complete plan will be implemented in a phased manner. Initially 100,000 sq.ft. of panels will be installed at the Valladolid and Palencia plants in Spain and 300,000 sq.ft. will be covered at the Busan site in South Korea. That will be done by the end of this year. The rest of the sites will follow soon.

MINI Cooper Diesel India Launch In 2013

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 02:11 AM PST

MINI Cooper Diesel India

BMW owned MINI Cooper hasn’t set the sales chart on fire in India yet. The reasons for the low demand of the highly desirable MINI vehicles can be attributed to the pricing and lack of diesel engines. In order to gauge customer response for the MINI range of vehicles, BMW chose to bring MINI to India via the CBU route. The high import duties and the increase in CBU taxes has resulted in this small yet powerful vehicle to be very heftily priced.

While BMW is considering local assembly of the MINI hatchback in India, the company might push CKD operations to 2014, when the next generation of the MINI Cooper gets launched globally. However, BMW Group is quite determinant to make MINI a success in India. The German automaker is already the leader in the luxury car segment with BMW, while Rolls-Royce is enjoying massive success with the Ghost performing exceptionally well for them. It is only MINI which is yet to taste success in the Indian market.

Read The MINI Cooper S Review

Read The MINI Cooper Convertible Review

In order to boost volumes, BMW India has confirmed its plans to launch diesel-powered MINI’s next year. Internationally BMW already sells the MINI range with diesel engines. A 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine powers the MINI Cooper hatchback, producing 112 HP of power at 4000 RPM and 270 Nm of torque between 1750-2250 RPM. With a light weight of 1165 kgs, the Cooper D reaches 100 km/hr in 9.7 seconds, with the top speed being 190 km/hr. This engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and returns a claimed mileage of 19.61 km/l.

The MINI Cooper Convertible and Countryman crossover get a more powerful 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine. This motor is also offered in the Cooper hatchback and produces 143 HP of power at 4000 RPM and 305 Nm of torque between 1750-2700 RPM. The Cooper SD sprints to 100 km/hr in 8.1 seconds, Cooper Convertible SD in 8.6 seconds and Cooper Countryman SD in 9.3 seconds. All vehicles with the SD engine come equipped with auto start/stop function, brake energy regeneration system and shift point display. Expect the diesel powered MINI Coopers to be priced around Rs. 2 lakhs more than their petrol counterparts.

MINI Countryman Diesel India

Jaguar Starts CKD Operations For XF 3.0

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 02:10 AM PST

2012 Jaguar Track Experience Video

Looks like it is the season of CKD operations. Just a couple of weeks back we reported about Jaguar’s aggressive plans with the XF and now our friends at IndianCarsBikes report that the British automaker has commenced CKD operations of the XF 3.0-litre V6 diesel in India. The local assembly is taking place at what is now Jaguar Land Rover’s India assembly unit at Chikli. The Chikli facility is owned by Tata Motors and was used by Mercedes-Benz earlier. The Freelander 2 is being assembled at the same unit since May 2011.

Read The Jaguar XF Diesel Review

With the Jaguar XF now saving heavy CBU duties, the pricing of the vehicle has come down marginally to Rs. 48.37 lakhs, which is less than the Rs. 48.50 lakhs pricing of the BMW 530d, Rs. 49.75 lakhs pricing of the Audi A6 3.0 TDI and Rs. 53.82 lakhs pricing of the E-Class E350 CDI Avantgarde (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi). Jaguar dealers have already started taking bookings and deliveries will commence early next month.

The Jaguar XF 3.0-litre V6 Diesel S produces 275 PS of power and 600 Nm of torque. It reaches 100 km/hr from standstill in just 6.4 seconds and returns a mileage of 13.5 km/l. Jaguar will also start local assembly of the 2.2-litre diesel engined XF next year, pricing of which should start around Rs. 41 lakhs. This 4-cylinder diesel engined XF would become the entry level Jag in India and will help boost sales for the company. Currently 80% of German luxury cars sold in this segment are 4-cylinder diesels.


Sounce –

KTM Releases Exhaust Sound Of Duke 390

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 12:10 AM PST

2013 KTM 1190 Adventure R

With the EICMA motorcycle show nearing, KTM has started to tease the upcoming Duke 390 motorcycle. The Austrian motorcycle manufacturer remains silent about the name, specifications, features of the upcoming Duke. However KTM has gone ahead and released a 30-seconds sound clip of the Duke 390 idling and revving, which can be heard below. The sound doesn’t reveal much but it does seem to come out of a straight pipe configuration.

KTM Duke 390 EngineSound

The KTM Duke 390 will be powered by a 375cc, single-cylinder engine which will be liquid-cooled with 4-valves. The fuel injector motor will produce 45 BHP of power which is amazing for a motorcycle which weighs just 150 kgs. Expect hair raising performance with the Duke 390 rushing to 100 km/hr in less than 7 seconds. Top speed is expected to be around 160 km/hr, which is quite good a non-faired bike, having a single-cylinder engine.

Bajaj Auto will manufacture the KTM Duke 390 at its Chakan plant near Pune. This will result in very aggressive pricing of this Austrian monster. The Duke 390 will be exported to other countries as well. This 375cc motorcycle will share quite a few parts and styling elements with the younger Duke 200. Bajaj Auto will also share parts and components of the Duke 390 with the upcoming Pulsar 375.  Expect the KTM Duke 390 to be priced around Rs. 2 lakhs.

Update - The teaser was not of the Duke 390, but instead of the 1190 Adventure R.

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