Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience.
With 555 hp from a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, the newest M5 is sure to continue the nameplate’s heritage as one of the fastest, most aggressive luxury sedans on the market. The 2012 BMW M5 will get a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the U.S. market is even slated to receive an optional six-speed manual. Massive upgraded brakes, firmer suspension with adjustable damping, and a clever torque-biasing rear differential are all expected to create fearsome track performance. It will arrive in the U.S. in spring 2012 -- we can’t wait.
This camouflaged Ford C-Max was spotted in the parking lot adjacent to the Automobile Magazine offices. The Europe-only five-door appeared to have an intercooler and boost gauge, hinting that it may have one of Ford’s EcoBoost powertrains, but our sources reveal this car has a normally aspirated, direct-injected engine. Of course, the petite people mover is only coming to the U.S. market with hybrid drivetrains, it’s anyone’s guess as to why this car was traveling southeast Michigan.
Buick promised the Regal GS would be powerful, but this is more power than we expected: The Regal GS will bestow 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine. That power is routed through a six-speed manual to the front wheels; an automatic transmission will join the options list at a later date. The horsepower figures put the Regal GS squarely on par with cars like the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T and Volvo S60 T6. It goes on sale this fall.
With the announcement of the new 2012 M5, we decided to dig through BMW’s history to trace the footsteps of the four-door performance machine. Over five generations of cars and almost 30 years, the M5’s power rating has jumped from 272 hp to today’s massive 555-hp. The M5’s true ancestor is the 1979 BMW M535i, a Europe-only model of which just 1400 were built. After a brief absence in the late 1990s, the M5 returned to the American market in 2000 with a 4.9-liter V-8 engine. Take a trip through M car memory lane with us as we highlight the most key moments in M5 history.
Volkswagen officials have long told us that a bringing a diesel-powered Tiguan to the U.S. was “under investigation.” With a revised Tiguan launching for 2012, Volkswagen confirms that a Tiguan TDI is still on its way to American shores -- but not for a few years. For now the company must tackle the cost of certifying its diesel engines for American regulations, as well as finding enough production capacity to build more Tiguan TDIs. When the next-gen Tiguan launches in 2015, it may come with a diesel engine option.
Chevrolet initially said that the burly Camaro ZL1 would only be offered with a six-speed manual transmission, but the company has since changed course. Partially in response to customer demand for a two-pedal option, the 2012 Camaro ZL1 will now be made available with both a manual and automatic transmission, each with six forward speeds. The transmission is said to be related to those employed by the Corvette and Cadillac CTS-V, with manual-shift controls and aggressive shift programming.
BMW is bringing a special-edition M3 to the U.S., with unique matte-black paint, 19-inch wheels from the M3 GTS, and red-painted brake calipers. The special Frozen Black car was inspired by the Chinese-market Matte Edition M3, and follows the success of BMW’s prior Frozen Gray M3. Just 20 copies are to be produced, and each costs a cool $79,650.
First Drives: 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, 2011 Lotus Evora S, 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, 2012 Jaguar XKR-S
This week we strapped into the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, which has been face-lifted to keep the car fresh until the next generation debuts in 2015. Mildly revised sheetmetal provides for a more mature look, while the powertrain and chassis components remain mostly unchanged from the 2011 Tiguan. We took the 2011 Lotus Evora S for a blast around Laguna Seca raceway. Picking the S model adds a supercharger to the Evora’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine, providing 345 hp to propel the featherweight sports car. The XKR-S is Jaguar’s fastest production car ever, boasting 550 hp from its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine. It proves perfectly at home at maximum-attack on the track or cruising through scenic backroads. Finally, we took a turn in the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible, the worst nightmare of Ford Mustang fans. The SS convertible has a meaty 426 hp on tap, and rewards owners with bundles of style and performance for not much money.
- NASCAR Nationwide Series, Alliance Truck Parts 250, Michigan International Speedway, Saturday June 18 at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
- NASCAR Sprint Cup, Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, Michigan International Speedway, Sunday June 19 at 1:00 p.m. on TNT
- Indycar, The Milwaukee 225, The Milwaukee Mile, Sunday June 19 at 3:30 p.m. on ABC