The News for February 17th, 2012

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of all the big news in the automotive industry that you should know about without the fluff of a hyper salesman and without the dullness of a guy reading off the press release in a suit.  I also throw in some opinion, just because I can. This week:

  • BMW shows off the new M6 Coupe and Convertible

  • Ferrari refreshes the California

  • BMW rolls out new performance parts and accessories

  • The new SRT Viper logo is revealed

  • McLaren MP4-12C officially arrives stateside 


2012/13 BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible

BMW took a break from applying ‘M’ badges to anything that moved to show the world what a proper modern M car looks like. Annoyingly, they revealed it the day after the last Hooniverse News went live, so now I get to talk about it after everyone else (I’ll email BMW PR about this, ridiclous. -KK). Nevertheless, what you need to know about the 3rd generation of the BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible is below.

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In typical M6 fashion, the powertrain is exactly the same as the M5’s – and now the X5M and X6M – which is to say it’s a really good one. A 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 pumping out a cool 560 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque – which is available at just 1,500 RPM and beyond thanks to the twin turbochargers. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed M Dual Clutch Transmission, and having driven an M3 equipped with DCT, I can tell you that’s an option box worth ticking. The new “Low Speed Assistance” function promises to make stop-and-go traffic less annoying and jerky like with many performance-oriented automatic-ish transmissions are. BMW has hinted that a 6-speed manual option is coming as well but has yet to confirm it, but if it exists in the M5, chances are that it will for the M6 as well.

0-62 mph comes in just 4.2 seconds and 0-124 mph takes 12.6 seconds for the one with the carbon fiber hard-top. The cloth-top cabriolet takes 4.3 and 13.1 seconds to do the same. Top speed is limited to 155 mph according to German laws (booo), but if you don’t mind voiding the warranty, I’m sure someone will be happy to liberate the M6 from the electronic limiter.

Helping to keep that power on the road is an Active M Differential, a finely-tuned M chassis (that’s what they do best, after all), and Dynamic Damper Control which uses electro-hydraulic damping force adjustment to cope with changing road conditions and driver maturity levels. The M6 will be the first M car ever offered with carbon-ceramic brakes (16.1 inch front / 15.6 inch rear) as an optional extra, not that BMW ever had a problem with sufficient braking power in the first place. Those monstrous brakes hide behind standard 19-inch alloy wheels or optional 20-inch forged alloy wheels.

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That performance doesn’t completely kill the car’s comfort and usability as typical BMW interior and technology features, like the infotainment center, the heads-up-display, and lots and lots of leather, still remain. As a result, the car isn’t exactly a lightweight. BMW won’t officially say how heavy it is, but some clever calculating with the HP/weight ratio they released tells me the Coupe weighs just under 4,100 lbs. and the Convertible weighs over 4,300 lbs.

The 2012 BMW M6 Convertible will go on sale this summer and the M6 Coupe will be released a few months later as a 2013 model. No pricing info yet.  


Ferrari Refreshes the California

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Ferrari will be headed to the Geneva Motor Show with a new, refreshed version of the California, which used to be my least favorite Ferrari until the FF came along. The new version will be lighter, more powerful, and will feature a new “Handling Speciale” package.

New aluminum fabrication techniques result in a 66 lb. weight loss compared to the “old” model, which brings the car’s weight down to “probably too much”. The 4.3-liter V8 that used to make about 460 horsepower now makes 490 horsepower thanks to new exhaust manifolds and more aggressive ECU tuning. Its 0-60 mph time is now 3.8 seconds according to factory estimates, but chances are it will be a bit quicker still in the real world. The Handling Speciale package gives the California a much-requested suspension overhaul that reduces body roll and improves responsiveness to driver input. Tweaked  Magnetorheological(r) dampers are thrown in to further increase the car’s agility without sacrificing ride quality, or so they say.

The “new” California will also be offered in a wider range of colors, including two-tone finishes and classic colors from the Ferraris of yore. Pricing info is not available yet, but whatever it is, it comes with a 7-year warranty! Trophy wives, rejoice.


BMW Shows off New Parts and Accessories 

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BMW just recently revealed their latest line of BMW M Performance Parts and Original BMW Accessories destined for various new models and making their official debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Buyers who like their cars looking different than the rest will want to pay attention.

M Performance Parts is a line of performance-oriented parts offered through authorized BMW centers that offers unique aero kits, wheel styles, and interior upgrades for various BMW models. Their latest additions to the parts range cater to the new 1 Series, 3 Series, and 5 Series. 19-inch light alloy wheels, carbon fiber aero kits, powertrain and suspension modifications, and carbon fiber and Alcantara interior upgrades are just some of the many new parts that are coming this summer. And since these parts are all sold and installed at BMW dealers, you won’t need to hit up that sketchy wheel-and-audio shop by the highway off-ramp to look different from the rest. Or you can, if that’s your thing.

On a more practical side, Original BMW Accessories offers everything from BMW-branded backrest bag things and rear seat storage things solutions to lockable roof boxes and custom-fit car covers. So if you actually use your BMW every day, you might want to check out BMW dealerships starting this summer when these go on sale.


SRT Reveals the New Viper Logo

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The world is still waiting for the new SRT Viper, but SRT is ready to show off the new logo for the car. The new logo, nicknamed “Stryker”, is the 3rd different design Dodge and SRT have used and it’s probably the most sinister looking of them all. Sadly, you no longer see Daffy Duck when you turn it upside down. The logo was drawn up by Chrysler designer, Vince Galante, and the name was voted on by Viper owners at the 2010 Viper Owners Invitational in Salt Lake City, Utah. So there you go. The whole car will be shown off at this year’s New York International Auto Show in April… Which we will be covering LIVE!!!!-ish.

News and photo source: Drive SRT


McLaren MP4-12C Arrives in America

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The first customer-ordered McLaren MP4-12Cs have finally arrived on North American shores. The first few dozen McLarens arrived at the Port of Baltimore recently and were eventually sent on their way to one of ten authorized dealers on the continent – nine in the United States and one in Canada. If you live anywhere near Greenwich, Philly, Tampa, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Newport Beach, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, or Toronto, keep your eyes and ears open because this is one car you don’t want to miss.

For those that don’t want to drive a couple hours to maybe see one, an awesome video directed by J.F. Musial shows the unloading process and the $229,000 McLaren’s first miles on American roads with the owners at the wheel.   

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