BMW – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 These Radical EVs From Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche Arrive in Just a Few Years http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-bmw-mercedes-porsche-future-electric-vehicles/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-bmw-mercedes-porsche-future-electric-vehicles/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:00:13 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1138629 America might be awash with cheap gas, but China’s appalling smog problem and the growing backlash against diesels in Western Europe’s crowded cities have forced Germany’s premium automakers to re-evaluate their markets, especially since last year the Chinese bought more than 22 million vehicles and the Europeans bought 14 million. The major players in Munich,...

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America might be awash with cheap gas, but China’s appalling smog problem and the growing backlash against diesels in Western Europe’s crowded cities have forced Germany’s premium automakers to re-evaluate their markets, especially since last year the Chinese bought more than 22 million vehicles and the Europeans bought 14 million.

The major players in Munich, Stuttgart, and Ingolstadt are spending big on electric vehicles, which are expected to comprise up to 25 percent of new vehicle sales by 2025. Seeing how the combustion engine will be with us for decades to come, these manufacturers are inventing distinct, flexible vehicle architectures that meet the needs of the old and new worlds alike.

Audi

It has yet to be decided if Audi or its sibling Porsche will develop a bespoke premium EV platform for Volkswagen Group. The platform will have to be low, sleek, and easily adaptable because designers need these elements to make noncrossover EVs look good. Until the group bosses make a decision, Audi and Porsche are heading in different directions in terms of EV development.

Audi Q8 center console
This center screen is positioned between the rear passengers in Audi’s recently debuted Q8 concept. We hope to see it produced.

Audi could easily justify an exclusive, tailor-made, EV-compatible matrix for almost all of its models, A4 through Q8, replacing the MLB components they’re currently built on. However, if the A4 moves to the cheaper MQB architecture and the Q7 and Q8 SUVs plus the A8 sedan move to the front-engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive MSB hardware, that complicates matters. Audi is basing its midsize electric SUV, due in 2018, on the MLB Evo architecture used in the all-new Q5, and that same hardware will also be used for the Audi ESS (electric sports sedan) due in 2019, which is basically a battery-fed A7 look-alike. Both models can be built on existing assembly lines, but because they are based on MLB Evo, they’ll be heavier and less space efficient than they should be. Audi will also collaborate with VW on a five-seat, zero-emission crossover that will likely be badged EQ4 when it arrives in 2020.

BMW

After losing a lot of money on the ambitiously over-engineered Project i, BMW is now refocusing its efforts on more affordable EV architectures. The first to make its debut will be the highly autonomous i20, a coupe-like crossover due in 2021. A couple of inches taller yet barely longer than a 3 Series, i20 is as roomy inside as a long-wheelbase 7 Series, sources say, and it features a signature front end, eye-catching taillight design, and sexy proportions. Three versions are rumored: base, sport (both with two rear-mounted motors), and max (one motor up front, two in the rear). The motors are BMW’s own design, rated at 80 hp, 120 hp, and 148 hp with a max 444 hp combined available. The i20 will forgo the carbon-fiber platform concept used for the i3 and i8 in favor of a new aluminum-intensive platform, FSAR, which incorporates elements of existing front- and rear-wheel-drive architectures, FAAR and CLAR. FSAR will also use high-strength steel and composites, and its side panels will be made from carbon fiber.

BMW i20 front three quarter in motion

The second-generation i3 is scheduled to go on sale in 2022. It will be redesigned from bottom to top, grow at least half a size, and get a new model designation. Described as a premium urban EV, the new i3 features a monolithic under-floor battery pack. The side panels are recycled carbon fiber, the roof aluminum, and the FSAR chassis steel. Driving range will be between 250 and 370 miles, depending on specification. The exotic i8 is going to evolve into the high-performance electric sports car it should’ve been from the start. There’s been talk of a plug-in hybrid successor developed in conjunction with McLaren, but BMW’s inline-six won’t fit, an inline-four lacks prestige, and a V-8 is overkill, so an all-electric supercar makes sense. Not expected before 2024, the new i8 should benefit from significant reductions in battery weight, size, and cost. Two different concepts are under evaluation; one uses three high-revving motors to generate 750 hp combined, and the other has a motor at each wheel, creating a total system output of more than 1,050 hp.

Mercedes-Benz

For elegant styling, slick aerodynamics, good rigidity, and a low center of gravity, most of the batteries will be installed in a center tunnel.

Mercedes will launch 10 new EVs by 2025. The EQC SUV, a direct descendant of the 2016 Paris Show’s EQ concept, will appear in 2019. The top-of-the-line model gets an 80-kWh power pack and two 201-hp motors. In late 2018, the automaker plans to launch an experimental low-volume fuel cell EQC spin-off to test customer response and charging infrastructure.

Mercedes Benz EQC front three quarter in motion

The EQC will be followed by heavily modified A- and B-Class variants: the 2020 EQA, which is effectively an electric GLA, and the 2021 EQB, based on the seven-seat GLB. They will share their architecture with the front-wheel-drive MFA2 family, and both will be equipped with 60-kWh battery packs and 201-hp motors that should allow the crossovers to cover up to 300 miles between charges.

The dedicated EVA2 electric vehicle architecture comes out in 2020. EVA2 is a relatively straightforward modular arrangement designed to accommodate three battery sizes (60, 80, and 110 kWh), three electric motors (188, 241, and 335 hp), and deliver driving ranges of between 250 and 360 miles. For elegant styling, slick aerodynamics, good rigidity, and a low center of gravity, most of the batteries will be installed in a center tunnel. EVA2 will make its debut as a large sedan badged EQS, followed by a shorter version of the sedan known as EQE. The bigger model aims at the gap between E- and S-Class while the smaller model straddles C- and E-Class. In 2022, Mercedes intends to add EQS and EQE crossovers that offer as much interior room as today’s GLS and GLE models, despite smaller overall sizes. AMG is already toying with hotter S models complete with motors for each rear wheel and a third driving the front axle.

The recently revealed Mercedes EQ concept’s interior gives us a good idea of how Mercedes is approaching its foray into an electrified future. The touchscreen center console seems to be a common feature in future vehicles.

Porsche

More than 600 HP, 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, 300 miles of range, and an 80 percent charge in less than 15 minutes. Bring it to life already, Porsche.

Although the 2021 Macan will have an EV version built on a modified version of its present architecture, Porsche’s new Mission E, due in 2021, rolls on the bespoke and highly flexible J1 EV platform with a massive, T-shaped battery pack that feeds powerful front and rear motors. J1 may turn out to be one of VW Group’s best EV platforms; Audi Sport has expressed interest in a J1 spin-off, Lamborghini would love an electric Espada reincarnation, and Bentley may be tempted to convert its Speed 6 into an EV.

This four-passenger concept has suicide doors hinged to a carbon-fiber monocoque. The front and rear seats are beautiful and heavily bolstered, embracing both form and function.

Illustrations: BMW/Jan Schmitt; Mercedes/Jean Francois Hubert

Porsche Mission E Screencap Porsche Mission E Concept rear interior Porsche Mission E Concept rear end in motion Porsche Mission E Concept interior porsche mission e concept rear three quarters in motion1 Porsche Mission E Concept front three quarter porsche mission e concept rear three quarters1 Porsche Mission E Concept front quarter panel Porsche Mission E front end2 Porsche Mission E front three quarter 022 Porsche Mission E rear end1 Porsche Mission E rear three quarter 022 Porsche Mission E side profile2 Porsche Mission E rear three quarter 012 Porsche Mission E Porsche Mission E wheel2 Porsche Mission E front three quarter 012 Porsche Mission E front three quarter 032 Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car front three quarter in motion 02 Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car rear three quarter in motion Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car side in motion Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car rear three quarter Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car front three quarter 02 Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car interior seats Mercedes Benz Generation EQ electric car interior Audi Q8 Sport concept front three quarter Audi Q8 Sport concept headlamp Audi Q8 Sport concept front end Audi Q8 Sport concept interior view Audi Q8 Sport concept interior Audi Q8 Sport concept side Audi Q8 Sport concept rear three quarter Audi Q8 Sport concept rear quarter panel Audi-Q8-concept-front-three-quarter-04-57 Audi-Q8-concept-front-spoiler-56 Audi-Q8-concept-front-seats-57 Audi-Q8-concept-dashboard-57 Audi-Q8-concept-cabin-56 Audi-Q8-concept-front-three-quarter-01-57 Audi-Q8-concept-front-three-quarter-02-57 Audi-Q8-concept-front-three-quarter-03-57 Audi-Q8-concept-rear-view-02-57 Audi-Q8-concept-rear-view-01-57 Audi-Q8-concept-rear-three-quarter-01-57 Audi-Q8-concept-rear-three-quarter-02-57 Audi-Q8-Concept-badge-and-tail-light-57 Audi-Q8-Concept-front-bumper-lip-57 Audi-Q8-Concept-front-spoiler-57 Audi-Q8-Concept-grille-57 Audi-Q8-Concept-tail-light-56

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Collectible Classic: 1956-1962 BMW Isetta 300 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/1956-1962-bmw-isetta-300-collectible-classic/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/1956-1962-bmw-isetta-300-collectible-classic/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:04:34 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1135605 If you’re the self-conscious type, a BMW Isetta 300 might not be the best personal transportation choice because it is, in essence, a motorized fishbowl. The fact that you enter through the front, not to mention how the steering wheel articulates out with the car’s only door, is something of a sideshow unto itself. Motoring...

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If you’re the self-conscious type, a BMW Isetta 300 might not be the best personal transportation choice because it is, in essence, a motorized fishbowl. The fact that you enter through the front, not to mention how the steering wheel articulates out with the car’s only door, is something of a sideshow unto itself. Motoring in an Isetta is, of course, the main event, and it’s lots of fun. Driving an egg-shaped car, for better or worse, certainly attracts attention, as we found on the sunny streets of Palm Springs, California. Even the mayor greeted us!

Fortunately for BMW, its management in the early 1950s couldn’t afford the luxury of self-consciousness. The company was floundering, its product line consisting mostly of warmed-over prewar relics that were far from competitive at a time when Germany struggled with economic adversity. BMW took the bold step of licensing the right to build a car not of its own conception—and a very silly looking car at that. It was a product of Renzo Rivolta’s Milan-based Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A, a former refrigerator maker that had branched into scooters, motorcycles, and light delivery vehicles. It was tiny, so the diminutive of Iso, Isetta, seemed an appropriate name. And doesn’t that front door have something in common with a refrigerator? Just thinking out loud here.

1957 BMW Isetta 300 side profile in motion 1
The Isetta is a great place to experience the phenomenon of scale speed. It doesn’t go all that fast, but it feels like you’re breaking the sound barrier at 30 mph.

BMW improved Iso’s original in many ways, not the least of which was the installation of a tried and true motorcycle engine. Its efforts yielded a hit, with production running for eight model years, and there was even a successor. The single-cylinder 300 evolved into the twin-cylinder Isetta 600, and that served as the underpinning of the BMW 700, formatted more like a normal car. Soon came the 1600/2002 series of BMW compact cars linking us to the present, when the acquisition of Rolls-Royce was the equivalent of rounding up an accounting error. Speaking of the British, bubble cars of Isetta’s ilk found favor in the U.K. at the time, prompting the development of the original Mini as a domestic response to the latest German invasion. Mini is now a BMW division, so the company has its own Isetta to thank for that circular circumstance.

We recently encountered this delightful 1957 Isetta 300, finished in Tuerkisweiss (turquoise) and Weissblau (white/blue), owned by Wick and Allison Zimmerman for the past six years. When they bought the car it was far from cute: just a paintless body shell and most of the parts in plastic bins and Ziploc bags. “We were told it was 98 percent complete,” Wick says, “but we were dubious.” There was really no way to tell what was missing until they tried to put their automotive Humpty Dumpty back together. “We had no idea what we were doing,” Allison remembers. “And we found out that a lot of people get Isettas and start restoring them but ultimately give up. The body had been stripped, but it didn’t look like much else had been done.”

Allison recalls the circumstances of the car’s purchase on eBay. “Beverages were involved. And we never saw the car in person, so it was something of a blind date.” Drunk blind date? What could possibly go wrong? Ultimately, they farmed out the restoration and found another Isetta, a rusty barn find but intact, and snapped it up to serve as a template for the restoration of the one seen on these pages. Beverages were involved in that impulse buy as well.

1957 BMW Isetta 300 rear three quarter in motion

The car is absolutely lovely, crafted beautifully, and it’s very much a jewel. The fit and finish are top flight. It doesn’t scream cheap car, and it’s not; Isetta prices, especially for restored ones, are on the uptick these days. Virtually every detail has been researched to a fare-thee-well, and Allison is justifiably proud of the perfect paint job. The colors were specially mixed to replicate the originals.

Driving an Isetta is a singular experience, once you get the hang of the upside-down shift pattern — first gear is to the right and down — and shifting with the left hand. You don’t so much enter the car as put it on like a shiny two-tone jump suit. Close the door, and the proportionally large steering wheel presents itself to you. The driving position is a bit Ralph Kramden-esque. The comfy front bench seat offers unparalleled visibility, both for the occupants looking out and for the world looking in. Invariably, the faces from that world are smiling because the sight of an Isetta is a guaranteed joy bringer. Wiggle into one of these and tear up your Zoloft prescription.

1957 BMW Isetta 300 interior 1957 BMW Isetta 300 speed gauge 1957 BMW Isetta 300 shifter 1957 BMW Isetta 300 steering wheel

Instrumentation is minimal, and there’s no gas gauge, but there is a lever to open a reserve tank should you run out of fuel. That would be a rare occurrence as a full, 3.4-gallon tank will get you almost 200 miles, and trust us, you’re not going to want to go that far in a love seat on wheels, charming though it is.

Because the Isetta is so light, the little motor doesn’t strain much to propel it to adequate speed, but you do feel a bit intimidated sharing the road with larger vehicles — make that any vehicle. Wick says he’s gotten this one up to 45 mph and calls the experience frightening, which might well be an understatement. Truth be told, it feels not unlike an original Volkswagen Beetle but sounds, perhaps, a tad more like a lawn mower. The car corners fairly well at moderate speeds. You have the most fun making U-turns; it just begs to be driven in circles. There’s not a whole lot of suspension travel. Where could it go? This means that enhanced road feel is part of the Isetta package.

Although it’s actually competent from a 1950s microcar perspective, the Isetta simply can’t be taken seriously, and that sense of mirth is what makes it so appealing. As Wick puts it, “There are a lot of cool cars out there but not that many with hinged front doors.”

The Specs

Engine 0.3L single cylinder/13 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 14 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission 4-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Front Suspension Swing arm
Rear Suspension Leaf springs
Brakes F/R Drums
Weight 780 lb

The Info

Years Produced 1956-1962
Number Sold 161,728
Original Price  $1,050
Value Today $25,700*

*Hagerty insurance average value (www.hagerty.com)

1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter 01

Why Buy

There’s no rational reason to buy an Isetta. But if you’re interested in having fun and seeing others smile, laugh, or guffaw often with but sometimes at you, this might be your car. An Isetta attracts more attention than a Lamborghini, and you’ll meet a lot of nice people who will take photos. So you’ll have no anonymity, but who does these days? Although most will have no idea what it is — “Huh? This thing a BMW?” — some might remember Steve Urkel drove one in the 1990s TV series “Family Matters.” If you’re comfortable being associated with the top nerd of all time, the Isetta is a great choice. It’s like a Smart Fortwo but smarter and smaller in every dimension. It appreciates in value as the seconds tick by, and you can actually use it to go places if you’re brave and outgoing.

1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter 03 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front view in motion 02 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front view 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter in motion 02 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter with door open 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter in motion 04 1957 BMW Isetta 300 door 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter in motion 06 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter in motion 05 1957 BMW Isetta 300 rear end detail 1957 BMW Isetta 300 badge 1957 BMW Isetta 300 interior overview 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front three quarter in motion 03 1957 BMW Isetta 300 side profile 01 1957 BMW Isetta 300 headlamp 1957 BMW Isetta 300 front view in motion 01 1957 BMW Isetta 300 wheel 01 1957 BMW Isetta 300 manufacturer badge 1957 BMW Isetta 300 rear three quarter in motion 1 1957 BMW Isetta 300 wheel 02 1957 BMW Isetta 300 side profile 02 1957 BMW Isetta 300 side profile detail 1957 BMW Isetta 300 side profile in motion 02 1957 BMW Isetta 300 side detail

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BMW Registers as a Formula E Manufacturer http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-registers-formula-e-manufacturer/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-registers-formula-e-manufacturer/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 21:49:07 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1138008 BMW has announced that it has registered as a Formula E manufacturer for the 2018/2019 season. The automaker’s motorsport division, currently paired with MS Amlin Andretti, will add its own entry for season 5 of Formula E. BMW i and BMW M will see more involvement in Formula E as it is now part of the BMW...

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BMW has announced that it has registered as a Formula E manufacturer for the 2018/2019 season. The automaker’s motorsport division, currently paired with MS Amlin Andretti, will add its own entry for season 5 of Formula E.

BMW i and BMW M will see more involvement in Formula E as it is now part of the BMW Group’s long-term global motorsport strategy. The cooperation with MS Amlin Andretti, which includes sharing resources and working together on engineering, will continue this season as the automaker expands its presence in the first racing series for single-seat electric vehicles. BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said that planning for its own team, which will enter in season 5, is already in the works. The automaker has also started Formula E powertrain development at its Munich, Germany headquarters.

BMW i vehicles have been used in Formula E since the first season with the i8 serving as the series’ safety car. The i3, on the other hand, is used as the medical car and the “Race Director” car. Recently, the BMW X5 xDrive40e was added as the newest Formula E support car, acting as the rescue and extrication vehicle.

2017-BMW-i3-with-i8-Supercar BMW-330e-plug-in-hybrid-charging-05 BMW-X5-xDrive40e-profile-charging 2017-BMW-i3-with-i8

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Watch a BMW X6 Take on Romanian Roads http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-bmw-x6-take-romanian-roads/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-bmw-x6-take-romanian-roads/#respond Fri, 17 Mar 2017 19:15:35 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1135841 File this one under gigs that don’t suck. Take one BMW X6 M50d xDrive, a small camera crew, a couple of drones, and head to Bran, the Dracula Castle in Romania to shoot a video. Add -4 Fahrenheit temperatures, icy, winding roads of the Transfăgărăşan in the Carpathian Mountains, and you have yourself an adventure....

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File this one under gigs that don’t suck. Take one BMW X6 M50d xDrive, a small camera crew, a couple of drones, and head to Bran, the Dracula Castle in Romania to shoot a video.

Add -4 Fahrenheit temperatures, icy, winding roads of the Transfăgărăşan in the Carpathian Mountains, and you have yourself an adventure.

2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Transfagarasan

Stanislav “Stanly” Cociorva and Ecaterina “ Katya” Cernei are the creative couple behind the short film that took two weeks to shoot in the frozen Romanian mountains. They covered over 1,500 miles in the BMW crossover in the process — now that’s a proper test drive. We are totally jealous.

“As we already had acquired experience filming Romania in the summer, we were tempted to make another movie in winter. Using the knowledge we had gained during our previous trips we chose locations which offered a rich diversity of natural landscapes and cultural landmarks,” said Cernei.

The BMW X6 M50d xDrive packs a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter straight-six diesel engine with 381 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque.

It seemed to handle the extreme winter conditions and snow covered mountain roads with ease. The AWD SUV took the duo to 10 locations around the country which added some incredible scenery to the short film that is titled simply “Frozen Romania.”

2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Snow

“The greatest challenge we faced during our trip was the weather. Specifically mountain hairpin turns covered with snow and ice. The BMW X6 M50d is not only an epic presence in the film, but also got us to remote locations uncompromisingly and helped realize our project on time,” said Cociorva.

“Regardless of the extreme winter conditions and rough state of the mountain roads, we always managed to reach our destination.”

No doubt about that.

2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Rear 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Transfagarasan 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Snowy 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Snow 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Snow 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania River 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Rear 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Dusk 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Bran Castle 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Above 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Above 2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive

2017 BMW X6 M50d xDrive Frozen Romania Rear

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2017 AUTOMOBILE All-Stars: The Winners http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-automobile-magazine-all-stars/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-automobile-magazine-all-stars/#respond Sat, 11 Mar 2017 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1125108 The danger with an exercise such as this annual shakedown — aside from driving off a mountain face, careening into a 12-point buck as it sprints from the underbrush (almost happened), or spinning off the track into an unprotected wall — is that it’s all too easy to become infatuated with big money, big horsepower,...

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The danger with an exercise such as this annual shakedown — aside from driving off a mountain face, careening into a 12-point buck as it sprints from the underbrush (almost happened), or spinning off the track into an unprotected wall — is that it’s all too easy to become infatuated with big money, big horsepower, almost impossibly aspirational items. So it speaks well of this year’s winning class that it spans an impressively diverse range, from a Japanese technological tour de force (admittedly a pricey proposition out of our personal reach) to a practical, all-electric American offering to a sub-$25,000 compact mainstay, not to mention two decidedly different apex stalkers from Germany and a refreshingly original and elegant Scandinavian.

The voting was closer than in many years past, but in the end none of our crew disputed the results with much vigor. The six winners proved over the course of a week that they are undoubtedly special. These, then, are the 2017 Automobile All-Stars.

Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter in motion

Acura NSX

A Force for Good: Acura’s supercar delights with its tech-friendly approach

Despite its Rube Goldberg-like drivetrain and bogglingly complex electronics, the Acura NSX earned its All-Star status the old-fashioned way: by consistently putting a grin on drivers’ faces. The prevailing concern regarding Acura’s techy two-seater was that 21st century overthinking and automation would diminish the basic joys of turning a wheel and hugging a curve. The NSX’s myriad computers, motors, and clutches certainly make that threat more possible.

But Acura’s flagship delighted on both public roads and race circuit because it defies its 3,803-pound curb weight by conducting its three electric motors and longitudinally mounted, twin-turbo V-6 so they work together harmoniously. That inscrutably satisfying sensation is difficult to achieve at any level, let alone in a car intended to challenge superstars (and past All-Star winners) such as the McLaren 570S, which is priced tantalizingly close to our NSX tester’s $199,200 sticker.

With its glued-to-tarmac handling and effortless acceleration, the NSX devoured the winding stretches of Deer Creek Road on Mount Charleston, seemingly defying physics as it sorted corners. But it also delivered in the most demanding setting: the racetrack. “The surprise of the week for me and a huge sigh of relief,” features editor Rory Jurnecka said. “The NSX isn’t all whirring motors and butt-saving technology. There’s a real driver’s car in there.” Online editor Ed Tahaney raved about it. “The mid-engine marvel can make a track star out of almost anyone with its ridiculous precision, handling, and sporty grace,” he said. Although the NSX leaps when prodded, it also has an understated side. “I like the Quiet mode and ridiculous economy,” contributor Andy Pilgrim remarked. “I got 33 mpg on one 35-mile drive, including stop-and-go rush hour.”

Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion
Nevada’s stunning Valley of Fire State Park plays host to our equally alluring herd of automotive delights.

Despite its aspirational target demographic, the NSX’s whiz-bang technology begged comparison to the other supercar contender from Japan, the Nissan GT-R. “Think less Ferrari, more GT-R in a tailored suit,” suggested daily news editor Conner Golden. “No-drama Acura,” added Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa. “Like the GT-R, far more digital than analog and only two pedals but conversely, it’s quick, smooth, and steady around corners instead of the Nissan’s point-and-shoot digital nervousness.” Its semisensible functionality and easy-chairlike usability flow with its capable athleticism, inspiring contributing writer Nelson Ireson to observe, “The NSX spans a breadth of performance, from quiet daily commuting to raucous weekend track work, that few if any supercars can match.”

Although its elevated dynamics inspired us, the NSX’s mystique remains debatable. “A great car, no doubt,” automotive design editor Robert Cumberford said. “But distressingly disappointing in beauty and ferociously high-priced.” Senior digital editor Kirill Ougarov called the NSX a true All-Star with a “brilliant drive, smart interior, and distinct styling.” But, he also suggested, “Badge snobbery is real, and I don’t know too many people outside of hardcore enthusiasts who would pay almost $200,000 for an Acura just because it drives well. The original NSX was a success in part because it offered Ferrari looks and driving ability for a lower price with Honda reliability.” Putting that thought in perspective, Ougarov added, “Ferrari reliability is no longer a joke, and a 488 GTB is only $50,000 away, as is the Lamborghini Huracán. And there’s also the Audi R8.”

Despite its fearsome exotic-car competition and our inherent instinct to compare the modern car to its wonderfully organic, quarter-century-old predecessor, the NSX scores
its All-Star status by using technology for the forces of good — an amazing driving experience rather than automatonlike sterility. The self-proclaimed New Sportscar eXperimental is exactly that. In the case of the NSX, the venture succeeds brilliantly.

– Basem Wasef

2017 Acura NSX Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $157,800/$199,200 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.5L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/500 hp @ 6,500-7,500 rpm, 406 lb-ft @ 2,000-6,000 rpm; two front electric AC motors/36 hp, 54 lb-ft; one rear electric AC motor/47 hp, 109 lb-ft; 573 hp combined
LAYOUT 2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, AWD coupe
TRANSMISSION 9-speed dual-clutch automatic
EPA MILEAGE 21/22 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H 176.0 x 87.3 x 47.8 in
WHEELBASE 103.5 in
WEIGHT 3,803 lb
0-60 MPH 3.4 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 191 mph

BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter in motion

BMW M2

Back in the Groove: M2 proves BMW still has plenty of that old black magic

“Just when you thought BMW had lost the thread, it finds it again and wraps that thread around the compe-tition,” contributor Steven Cole Smith noted. “What a wonderfully balanced car, certainly the best all-around BMW in years.” He’s right. The M2 is one hell of a grin-inducing package. It’s a welcome turn back down the right path for BMW’s M division.

We were beginning to wonder if the German company’s long-standing reign as the king of engaging cars was coming to a close. Rewind to All-Stars 2015. BMW sent an M3 and M4 to the battle, but both unexpectedly departed sans a trophy. So many of us were skeptical as we gazed upon the Long Beach Blue Metallic M2 staged in a parking lot filled with a substantial collection of formidable contenders, all vying for a 2017 Automobile All-Star award.

All it took was a blast up Mount Charleston to bring us back to BMW M adoration. Actually, some of us didn’t even need to depart the Las Vegas city limits. “The M2’s willingness to move around on the road at sane speeds is what makes it such a blast to drive,” Jurnecka said. “Paired with great steering and a hair-raising soundtrack from the turbocharged straight-six, even around-town driving is something to look forward to.”

BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner front view in motion

The mischievous, $54,495 M2 is also quite the smokin’ deal — about the same, in fact, as an equivalently optioned wannabe M, the M240i. And the 365-horsepower M2 looks better, too. Chunky 19-inch wheels and tires complement its menacing stance and wide fenders, improving the somewhat frumpy profile of the lesser 2 Series. It’s still not pretty, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a focused tool built for hooligan fun.

Zero costly extras are needed on top of the base price to obtain the full, undiluted experience. How refreshing. The M2 comes standard with everything you need, unless you’re looking to water down BMW’s smallest M car with frivolous luxury items or, gasp, pay extra to bin the six-speed manual. BMW’s M DCT gearbox is a $2,900 option, and, yes, the dual-clutch version swaps ratios faster than the three-pedal setup. But the M2 is about pure driving pleasure. “Livelier than expected on public roads, so much so that it wanted to kick the tail out gratuitously in third gear,” contributor Basem Wasef said. “While its rambunctiousness may rub some the wrong way, I think it’s a riot.”

All of this praise came before we played with the M2 at Speedvegas. “On track, the M2 comes alive, cohering to the driver’s will in a way no recent M car has,” Ireson gushed. Fully disable the overly intrusive stability control, and the stubby little BMW coupe really shines. It’s not a laser-precise circuit dancer like Porsche’s 718 Cayman S, but it offers boundless fun nonetheless. The short wheelbase and torque-rich engine made thrashing the M2 around the tight track an absolute blast. Massive, childish drifts are only a wiggle of your right foot away.

The BMW M2 is an overdue reappearance of what M car enthusiasts have been waiting a long time for. It may not be perfect — it shouldn’t weigh almost 3,500 pounds, for one. But the M2 isn’t about perfection. It’s about honest amusement in a reasonably priced package. Consider it BMW’s more expensive take on the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ — or a less pricey take on Porsche’s Cayman GT4. It’s about producing an automobile that is, first and foremost, entertaining. Please, please, BMW, remember the M2 when you develop future M models. You got this one right.

– Marc Noordeloos

2017 BMW M2 Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $51,700/$54,495 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.0-liter turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6/365 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 
343 lb-ft @ 1,400-5,560 rpm
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
TRANSMISSION
6-speed manual
EPA MILEAGE 20/27 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H 176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in
WHEELBASE 106.0 in
WEIGHT 3,461 lb
0-60 MPH 4.4 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph

Chevrolet Bolt EV 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter in motion 02

Chevrolet Bolt EV

EV for All: Chevy’s Bolt is a real car for real people

A long-time proponent of electric drive, I’ve enjoyed every electric car I’ve ever driven, but the only one I ever have been willing to use on a daily basis, Tesla’s groundbreaking Model S, is absurdly overpriced for me. All the others, however pleasant in use, were impractical for my personal needs. Until now.

Chevrolet’s Bolt, specifically designed and engineered as a battery-electric, all-purpose, all-weather vehicle with enough range to make running-out-of-juice anxiety a thing of the past, is not only a perfectly adequate small commuting and grocery-getting family car, it’s actually very agreeable to drive. Our consensus was represented in phrases such as, “drives like a real car,” or, “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a Bolt as a daily driver to many people I know.” A clear statement of why was summed up with, “The Bolt can be used like a normal gasoline-powered vehicle.”

Ever-acerbic contributor Michael Jordan stated, “Now that we’ve all driven the Chevy Bolt, it’s clear that anyone who still doubts the era of practical EV motors is upon us should be awarded honorary membership in the Climate-Change Denial and Flat Earth Society.” He went on to say, “A low center of gravity from the battery packaged under the floor sounds like a good deal, but often the price is a high step-in height and heavy-footed dynamics. However, the dynamics of this package are as impressive as the cruising range.”

Chevrolet Bolt EV 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion
Lively handling, mounds of torque, and impressive range make for a package that both satisfies and entertains.

Not all comments were completely positive. Associate editor Jonathon Klein said, “While I applaud General Motors for delivering a cheap mass-market electric vehicle before Tesla, the interior feels like a rushed afterthought and far too cheap for the price point. It has none of the essence that makes Tesla such a dominant force in the public’s mind. It won’t outsell the Model 3.” Meanwhile, Pilgrim and executive editor Mac Morrison returned from our mountain route chuckling about the driver and passenger seats, which Morrison compared unfavorably to “low-end, turret-style removable seats common in the bows of aluminum fishing boats.”

Lassa found the Bolt to be much more confident on the mountain road than the Toyota Prius Prime. “The Bolt’s impressive range makes the BMW i3 pretty much obsolete, even with the bigger battery pack for 2017,” he said.

For me, this was the most compelling car in the group. I drove it back from Mount Charleston to Speedvegas. When I took the wheel, the dash readout announced 114 miles of range remaining. When I arrived at the track, having maintained a good pace all the way — being passed by only one of our All-Stars contenders, the Aston Martin DB11 — I was astonished by the stated remaining range: 113 miles. The power regeneration switch really works well. Yes, on average the drive was downhill, but even so, that was amazing. The Bolt is an electric car that I — and tens of thousands of others — could easily live with. Dynamics, ergonomics, and comfort are perfectly satisfactory for a daily driver. I was slightly cold on the drive from the mountain because I didn’t want to use power to heat the cabin, but that was totally unnecessary on my part.

If I was told I could take home any one of our candidates, could keep it as long as I liked, and maintain it at my expense, but when I was through I could not realize any income from selling it, the Bolt would have been my choice. Its size, utility, and simplicity are ideal for my real-world needs in a personal car for local driving. As Golden declared, “Such a damn good car and absolutely deserving of the All-Star designation.”

– Robert Cumberford

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $37,495/$43,905 (base/as tested)
ENGINE Permanent magnet drive motor/200 hp, 266 lb-ft
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-motor, FWD wagon
TRANSMISSION
Single-speed
EPA MILEAGE 128/110 mpge (city/hwy); 238-mile total range
L X W X H 164 x 69.5 x 62.8 in
WHEELBASE 102.4 in
WEIGHT 3,563 lb
0-60 MPH 6.3 sec
TOP SPEED 91 mph

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter in motion

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

Baby’s Come Back: More utility, better platform, and improved overall performance pay off

The arrival of a new Honda Civic is always kind of, you know, momentous. Ever since it first appeared in 1972 with its 50-horsepower, 40-mpg CVCC engine, the Civic has made it possible for car enthusiasts like us to embrace clean air and socially responsible practicality without losing our souls. Sure, we’re impressed that the Civic is always one of the most popular cars in America, and it reached the highest sales volume in the model’s 44-year history during 2016 with 366,927 examples sold. But what matters is that the all-new, 10th-generation model is fun to drive even as it delivers solid fuel economy.

Honda engineers might be among the nerdiest on the planet, but with the 2017 Civic Hatchback Sport, they tried hard to transform the Civic into something that even the young and dumb like us can appreciate. By stretching the wheelbase of the Civic’s new platform to 106.3 inches, they created not just a more spacious passenger package with 97.2 cubic feet of passenger volume here in the four-door Hatch but also a more poised platform for serious driving. The Civic Hatch Sport also reflects the reawakened appreciation for the utility delivered by hatchbacks, a configuration Honda has always promoted, with 22.6 cubic feet of cargo volume. And it delivers a new kind of Honda performance with a 180-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine.

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion 01
Whether you’re a fan of the wannabe Type R-look, $22,000 is a screaming deal for this much competence, fun, and personality.

On the slopes of Mount Charleston, our drivers were quick to appreciate the Civic Hatchback’s unique appeal. “This is the Civic we’ve been waiting for in the U.S. for a long time,” Jurnecka said. “Built in the same factory in England where the awesome Civic Type R comes from, the Hatch Sport is very good dynamically — excellent road manners with a comfortable though taut ride.” Executive editor Mac Morrison added: “This is a revelation. Great steering feel, great handling, and a smooth manual gearbox make for about three times more fun than you might expect just seeing this car drive past you on the road.” And Ireson said: “Honda hasn’t lost its magic. Instead, it apparently just decided not to use it except on the Civic Hatchback Sport. The turbocharged engine is powerfully elastic yet revvy, and the chassis is balanced and fun to drive at any speed.” Pilgrim concluded: “Giggle factor off the charts, and yet I also got 37.8 mpg driving it back to L.A.”

We predictably liked the car’s interior, especially the hugely expansive forward field of view of 84.3 degrees. “Packaged very nicely with good head- and legroom both front and rear, plus generous cargo room,” Jurnecka said. Contributor Marc Noordeloos noted the comfortable driving position. Unfortunately, our admiration doesn’t extend to the exterior. “Sure is a strange-looking car,” contributor Ronald Ahrens said. Smith chimed in, “If there is an uglier car from the rear, I haven’t seen it — nor would I want to.” Wasef observed, “Something out of ‘The Transformers,’ the Saturday-morning cartoon version.”

Design lashings aside, the Civic Hatch Sport is a new favorite of ours. Lassa put into perspective why we named it an All-Star: “The new Civic remains best in class, combining the Mazda3’s appetite for twisty roads with refinement and comfort. This is a car I’d consider buying with my own money.”

– Michael Jordan

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $21,300/$22,135 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 1.5L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/180 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 177 lb-ft 
@ 1,900-5,000 rpm
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
TRANSMISSION
6-speed manual
EPA MILEAGE 30/39 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H 177.9 x 70.8 x 56.3 in
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
WEIGHT  2,864 lb
0-60 MPH 6.9 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 126 mph (est)

Porsche 718 Cayman S

A Day at the Office: There’s no place we’d rather work than in a 718

I do understand how there are car enthusiasts who don’t quite understand the apparent journalistic love affair with the Porsche Cayman, never mind agree with it. So, let’s see if I can shed some light on this with the help of the army of editors on hand for All-Stars.

Driver connection with the 718 begins at standstill. I’m talking cockpit feel, seat, steering wheel, pedals, gauges, control placement, road view — even smell. From my vantage point as a professional racer, the 718 is a functional driver’s office. Even before I set off, I know I’m in the correct position for doing my job. If you’ve never sat in one, I suggest you do it sometime. And make sure you close the door.

Then we get to the driving. Klein said: “Every automaker looking to build a small, lightweight, mid-engine sports car, you can stop now. The 718 wins.” Smith was more measured: “All-around athlete, all 350 horses are usable, housed in a forgiving chassis.” My take? The 718 provides a wonderfully rewarding driving experience, affording a connection to the car and road seldom found in a contemporary vehicle, regardless of price.

The 718’s suspension is more refined than the previous Cayman’s. It is well damped and compliant while taking nothing away from the sports-car feel. Approaching the absolute handling limit with any vehicle on the street is risky in more ways than one. However, driving the 718 enthusiastically on our test route was a total joy at less than the limit. On-track performance allowed me to work the car however I wanted. I wasn’t the only one. “It’s hard not to giggle out loud when you’re tackling a technical road or a tight section of track with the 718,” Wasef said. Morrison concurred: “The Cayman S allows you to push it incredibly hard, and whether you’re on the road or a closed circuit, it grows your confidence at an exponential rate without ever feeling sketchy or out of shape.” A couple of notes mentioned understeer when pushing the 718 hard on the track. I found the chassis allowed me to counteract that reasonably easily with some left-foot braking and by varying my steering speed.

Thanks to its newfound torque, the 718 Cayman S laps racetracks as fast as the Cayman GT4, a 2016 All-Star.

The Automobile team might be split on the manual-versus-dual-clutch-gearbox debate, but the Porsche PDK transmission is the benchmark for providing fast, seamless shifts. I do, however, understand that many people enjoy shifting gears and using the third pedal. As Noordeloos admitted, “I love manual gearboxes, but Porsche’s magical PDK reminds me why they are on borrowed time.”

There was a remarkable spread of opinion and emotion about the new flat-four turbo engine and how it sounds compared to the old flat-six. In the red corner: “Brilliant chassis, brilliant gearbox, and an engine that sounds like butts,” Ougarov said. “Lovely car, absolutely horrible sound,” Cumberford added. In the blue corner: “Criticize the new flat-four all you like, but this is the future, and I think it sounds just fine,” Jordan said. To my knowledge no blows were traded, but I’m adding, “Don’t mess with the flat-six” to politics and religion as things not to bring up at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Regardless of how it makes power, the 718’s light weight, coupled with the 350-hp boxer-four, make for a measurably quicker package than the old car. I particularly like the way the power continues to pull high into the rev range, unlike other turbocharged engines that quickly fall off the boil.

Although most of the talk around the campfire concentrated on how well the 718 drives and on the new engine, thoughts on its design, look, and presence were plentiful as well. “This is the best-looking thing you can buy with a Porsche badge, including wristwatches,” Jordan said. I had about as many strangers come up to ask me questions about the Cayman as I did when out and about in the Acura NSX. That speaks volumes.

There are always questions about whether any Cayman is worth almost $100,000. Views on this were mostly yes but not overwhelmingly so. The answer will ultimately be in the eyes and wallets of the buyers.

The Porsche 718 Cayman S ignites the passion for driving like few cars do. Hell, it ignites passion, period. It is a true driver’s car and a true All-Star. A story to prove the point: It wasn’t until day three of four that I actually got to drive it. The keys were constantly absent from road test editor Eric Weiner’s beloved key safe. It seems nobody could get enough of the 718.

– Andy Pilgrim

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $67,350/$95,925 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 2.5-liter turbo DOHC 16-valve flat-4/350 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 309 lb-ft @ 1,900-4,500 rpm
LAYOUT 2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, RWD coupe
TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
EPA MILEAGE 20/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H  172.4 x 70.9 x 51.0 in
WHEELBASE 97.4 in
WEIGHT 2,988 lb
0-60 MPH 4.0 sec
TOP SPEED 177 mph

Volvo S90 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter in motion

Volvo S90

Two Timer: Volvo’s stunning sedan scores another well-deserved honor

With Automobile’s 2017 Design of the Year award already under its belt, it should come as no surprise the Volvo S90 is also worthy of All-Star status. But this sculpted Scandinavian is more than a pretty face. It’s a powerhouse of thoughtful engineering and brilliant balance.

As I noted in my first drive of the car in June 2016, the S90 shakes up the luxury segment not with Hellcat-conquering power or sports-car handling but with ride quality rarely seen in the luxury segment in recent decades. Comfort, grace, and control are the best descriptors for the S90’s driving characteristics. They’re standout features in a segment populated primarily by harsh-riding if well-handling luxury four-doors. Unlike the competition, which transmits not only road feel but also vibrations, jarring bumps, and undue noise to the cabin and its occupants, the S90’s unflappable suspension absorbs the harshest aspects of often-broken western pavement without deviating from the driver’s intended line.

Indeed, during our days of All-Stars testing in the mountains above Las Vegas, the S90 stood out among the year’s best luxury sedans for its comfortable, controlled ride. But its design came even more to the fore, looking like one of the more expensive cars in our multimillion dollar fleet of test vehicles, despite its sub-$50,000 starting price. From the subtle simplicity and graceful lines of its exterior to the elegant wood, leather, and metal interior surfaces, the S90 pleases the eye with an aesthetic that’s at once Scandinavian and global chic. Gone are the days of boxy, awkwardly lovable Swedish bricks. There’s a sensuality to go with the sensibility that underlies every modern Volvo.

Volvo S90 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion 01

“Most of the pleasure to be found in this car comes from simply being in it,” Jordan said. “The cabin is filled with light and trimmed with natural materials, a breathtaking exercise in Scandinavian design. The Volvo S90 is simply modern, and German cars look tired and stodgy in comparison.”

Sensibility is still a core trait, too, however: Under the hood of the all-wheel-drive T6 model is a turbocharged and super-charged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Small and high-tech for greater efficiency, the inline-four still generates six-cylinder levels of power and torque, with 316 hp and 295 lb-ft on tap. Even the entry-level front-drive, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder T5 model manages a respectable 250 hp and 258 lb-ft. A plug-in hybrid option is also available, packing a combined 410 hp.

While some editors took issue with the four-cylinder’s power, others disagreed. “It does the job well enough to make the S90 scoot as quickly as you need it to. But don’t let the performance part distract from this big sedan’s ultimate mission of delivering a unique design experience, first and foremost,” Wasef said. Editor-in-chief Mike Floyd echoed those sentiments. “This car has more than adequate power. With the S90, it’s not about how fast it gets you there; it’s about how it makes you look and feel as it does,” he said.

More sensible yet is the S90’s suite of safety features, building on Volvo’s reputation for putting safety at the forefront of its engineering. Standard on all S90 models is Volvo’s latest in semi-autonomous driving technology, Pilot Assist, which gives steering assistance to keep the car within its lane of travel at speeds up to 80 mph. Combined with IntelliSafe Assist, Volvo’s name for its adaptive cruise control and distance-alert systems, the S90’s semi-autonomous driving aids shoulder much of the load of highway driving. For those who live in deer, moose, cattle, or elk country, the S90 also adds large-animal detection to its City Safety obstacle detection suite, which warns drivers and offers braking assistance to help avoid or mitigate crashes.

Rolled into one cohesive package, the 2017 Volvo S90’s safety, style, sensibility, and supple ride make it not just a standout luxury sedan, but a car truly worthy of All-Star standing. Jordan summed it up well: “This is one of only a handful of modern cars that persuades me there’s a future for the increasingly irrelevant four-door sedan.”

– Nelson Ireson

2017 Volvo S90 Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $55,450/$66,105 
(base/as tested)
ENGINE 2.0L supercharged 
and turbocharged DOHC 16-valve 
I-4/316 hp@ 5,700 rpm, 295 lb-ft 
@ 2,200-5,400 rpm
LAYOUT 4-door, 5 passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
EPA MILEAGE 22/31 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H 195.4 x 79.5 x 56.8 in
WHEELBASE 115.8 in
WEIGHT 4,222 lb
0-60 MPH 5.7 sec

TOP SPEED

130 mph

Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner cabin Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner center console Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner engine 02 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner engine start push button Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner engine Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner exterior detail 02 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner exterior detail 03 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner exterior detail 04 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner exterior detail Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner floormat Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner front end detail Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner front view 02 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner front view Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner headlight Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner infotainment Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner instrument panel Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner interior detail Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rear end Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rear spoiler Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion 02 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion 03 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion 04 Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner rotary knob Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner side mirror Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner steering wheel Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner tail light Acura NSX 2017 All Star Winner wheel BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner badge 01 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner badge 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner burnout 01 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner burnout 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner cabin BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner center console BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner dashboard detail BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner engine 01 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner engine 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner engine cover BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner exterior detail BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner front three quarter in motion 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner front view in motion 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner grille 01 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner grille 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner grille 03 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner instrument panel 01 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner instrument panel 02 BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner interior detail BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner radio BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner rear three quarter in motion BMW M2 2017 All Star Winner seat detail

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Exquisite BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition Revealed http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-6-series-m-sport-limited-edition-details/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-6-series-m-sport-limited-edition-details/#respond Fri, 10 Mar 2017 17:20:04 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1130921 BMW is known for making special edition models with very subtle design updates, and its latest creation is no different. Building off the recently updated M Sport package for the 6 Series, the M Sport Limited Edition brings a few extra touches to BMW’s lineup of grand tourers. BMW is offering the Limited Edition in...

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BMW is known for making special edition models with very subtle design updates, and its latest creation is no different. Building off the recently updated M Sport package for the 6 Series, the M Sport Limited Edition brings a few extra touches to BMW’s lineup of grand tourers.

BMW is offering the Limited Edition in coupe, convertible, and four-door Gran Coupe variants. Inside the cabin, the Limited Edition boasts a unique Black/Fjord blue theme that’s highlighted by the Merino leather seats and the floor mats. Special badging can be found on the door sills.

For the new model year, BMW added carbon fiber interior trim to the regular 6 Series with the M Sport package. This feature is also headed to the Limited Edition model, as are the new bi-color 20-inch M wheels. The Limited Edition model also receives a Sonic Speed Blue metallic paint job, which was recently added to the 6 Series lineup. Mirror caps are finished in carbon fiber.

BMW isn’t saying exactly how many units it will produce, or how much the car will cost. The BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition arrives in global markets next month, but unfortunately it’s not coming to the U.S. Luckily, the 2018 BMW 6 Series with the M Sport package available on our shores captures all the same magic, just without the fancy door sills and black and blue interior details.

BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition side profile BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition side mirror BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition front interior BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition front end BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition gear knob BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition door sill BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition center console BMW 6 Series M Sport Limited Edition front three quarter 1

BMW-6-Series-M-Sport-Limited-Edition-front-end-1

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Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs. 2016 BMW 340i http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-nissan-maxima-sr-vs-2016-bmw-340i/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-nissan-maxima-sr-vs-2016-bmw-340i/#respond Mon, 06 Mar 2017 14:31:15 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1100577 Spend an hour at AUTOMOBILE headquarters and odds are you’ll witness at least one spontaneous staff debate about the latest new car to roll through our test fleet, or maybe a mostly forgotten, obscure model of the 1980s or ’90s. Lately, though, our Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR has been a semi-regular topic. Our editors agree...

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Spend an hour at AUTOMOBILE headquarters and odds are you’ll witness at least one spontaneous staff debate about the latest new car to roll through our test fleet, or maybe a mostly forgotten, obscure model of the 1980s or ’90s. Lately, though, our Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR has been a semi-regular topic.

Our editors agree almost unanimously: The Maxima is a top-notch effort. Its initially polarizing styling grew on us quickly — the car receives a fair amount of compliments from strangers, too — and drivers and passengers alike appreciate its roomy, comfortable cabin on both short and long drives. But question whether or not the Maxima SR has serious performance chops — or bring up Nissan’s “four-door sports car” marketing rhetoric — and prepare to spend the ensuing 20 minutes hearing about it from all sides.

The doubters’ common stance goes something like this: Calling the Maxima a legitimate sport sedan is a big stretch. No one disagrees it’s a fine mid-level conveyance, but beyond that the Maxima’s specifications surely mean it offers little more than a sterile, understeering experience best left to cruising along in straight lines, while drivers of German sport sedans have all the back-road fun.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 04

To find out what the Maxima SR can really do at its limit, we drove the car to California’s Willow Springs International Raceway. For fun and benchmark’s sake, we brought along a 2016 BMW 340i sedan, a rear-drive four-door the naysayers assumed would crush the front-drive Nissan in every way. But each time the Maxima debate cropped up, some of us recalled how Nissan representatives at the car’s launch were bullish about its handling compared with the historically lauded 3 Series platform.

We did not expect the ultimate lap-time battle to go the Maxima SR’s way. Its naturally aspirated V-6 makes 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque compared to the turbo I-6 340i’s 320 hp and 330 lb-ft. The Nissan had slightly less-grippy tires (300 treadwear vs. 280), and its apparently not-track-ideal continuously variable transmission faced the BMW’s six-speed manual. Stopwatch notwithstanding, we aimed to find out once and for all if the noticeably larger Maxima, with its 61/39 percent front/rear weight distribution compared to the BMW’s 51.4/48.6 split, delivers dynamic behavior approaching anything close to Nissan’s claim.

Let’s get the timesheet out of the way: In relatively cool conditions with ambient temperatures fluctuating from the high 60s to low 70s and with each car’s electronic driver-aid nannies switched off, the 340i lapped the fast, 2.5-mile, nine-turn Big Willow circuit in 1 minute, 37.9 seconds, 3.0 seconds quicker than the Maxima SR. That’s a universe away if you’re competing in an actual race, but it told only one part of the story. The BMW found almost all of its advantage thanks to its superior power and, notably, its torque coming out of the corners.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR cabin
The 340i’s six-speed manual transmission is more engaging than the Maxima’s CVT, but it doesn’t necessarily spell doom for the Nissan.

Handlingwise, the Maxima’s steering response and feel were excellent. Torque steer that predictably plagues the front-driver at times on public roads, especially when accelerating hard on uneven pavement, was a non-issue on the track. The nose points into corners a little better than the BMW’s does, and the steering communicates more about what the tires are doing. Coming off the fast front straight — the Maxima topped out at 122 mph compared to the 340’s 136 — and hard on the brakes into Turn 1, its initial turn-in and grip through the corner impressed us.

Both cars were easy to rotate into Willow’s turns. However, it was more difficult in the BMW to hold the slide in most of the bends, barring the long, medium-speed Turn 2, where a little left-foot tap of the brake pedal allowed us to keep the throttle open and the nose pegged. If you just barrel into a corner, both cars will naturally understeer and you’ll never get the front end under control, but it is possible in each to balance the rotation and kill a lot of understeer with a little bit of left-foot braking or by lifting off the throttle. Both cars were solid in this regard, with the Nissan just plain better at it, in part perhaps due to its front-drive layout making the rear end relatively light.

2016 BMW 340i front in motion 2016 BMW 340i shifter 2016 BMW 340i side profile in motion 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 03

Braking was good, not spectacular, in both cars. The 340i came with optional M Sport brakes, which resisted activating ABS better than the Maxima did. The latter triggered its anti-lock function too easily, likely the result of the system’s tuning as well as the heavier front end causing the rear to lift more under braking. The BMW’s better stopping performance helped its lap time marginally, as did its manual gearbox. The Nissan’s CVT is not aggressive, manual-shift mode included, and it does not kick- down quickly, making it a bit more difficult to keep the engine in its optimum powerband.

The braking and transmission differences, however, did not ruin the fun. Flying into the ultra-fast Turn 8, we found we could run the Nissan far deeper into the corner before needing to slow. We could then get right back to full power, as the rear end again worked all the way through. Mid-corner and apex speeds were almost identical in both cars, but the 340i tended to transition toward more understeer by mid-corner, making it more difficult to keep the chassis moving forward quickly.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 02
It’s a shame the sight of a Maxima chasing a 3 Series around a fast racetrack is a rarity, considering the former’s true performance.

Overall grip was similar between the two, but the Maxima has slightly more, particularly when off the power from corner entry to apex, thanks to its sharper front end. A badly understeering car is never fun at Willow Springs, and neither of these sedans fits that description. The Nissan, though, was the more relaxed of the two and simply felt more enjoyable in through the turns, with the BMW walking a fine line between controllability and going too far out of shape when sliding. The Maxima’s better steering feel inspired confidence, while we had to be more careful with steering input in the BMW. Some of that was down to the 340i arriving faster into corners, but its chassis movements once you get it sliding imply it will be easier to make a mistake at the limit.

The Maxima’s better steering feel inspired confidence, while we had to be more careful with steering input in the BMW.

That’s the main difference at play here, and for someone to enjoy a track day — if you had these two cars to choose from — the Maxima SR is a little easier to handle and more fun as a result. It legitimately delivers on the pure-handling front as the company claimed it would, and if it’s not a legitimate sport sedan, then neither is the BMW. This won’t appease old-school purists who insist on heel-toeing and shifting their own gears, several of whom occupy AUTOMOBILE HQ. But the next time an argument breaks out regarding the Maxima SR, perhaps the best answer is this: The 3 Series has become a more approachable sport sedan capable of placating those who don’t know and don’t care to know about its roots, and the Maxima SR — provided fine dynamics are your bag — has clawed its way onto the sport-sedan playing field. Throw a manual gearbox or twin-clutch transmission on it, and remaining doubters would almost certainly come around. Regardless, it is no longer a pretender as an edgy, performance-orientated four-door. Of that, we are now confident, there is no debate.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR

ON SALE Now
PRICE $38,750/ $38,750 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6/300 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 261 lb-ft @ 4,40 rpm
TRANSMISSION Continuously variable
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 22/30 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H 192.8 x 73.2 x 56.5 in
WHEELBASE 109.3 in
WEIGHT 3,564 lb
0-60 MPH 6.0 sec
TOP SPEED 135 mph (est)

2016 BMW 340i

ON SALE Now
PRICE $46,795/$61,920 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.0L turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6/320 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 330 lb-ft @ 1,380-5,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, RWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 20/30 mpg (city/hwy)
L X W X H 182.8 x 71.3 x 56.3 in
WHEELBASE 110.6 in
WEIGHT 3,675 lb
0-60 MPH 4.9 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph
2016 Nissan Maxima SR front view in motion 01 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front end detail 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front three quarter 01 2016 Nissan Maxima SR side profile in motion 2016 BMW 340i drift 01 2016 BMW 340i front end detail 2016 BMW 340i front three quarter in motion 01 2016 BMW 340i engine 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 05 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 09 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front three quarter 02 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 08 2016 BMW 340i front three quarter in motion 02 2016 BMW 340i wheel and caliper 2016 BMW 340i drift 02 2016 BMW 340i cabin 01 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 11 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front three quarter 04 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 22 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 10 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front three quarter 03 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front three quarter in motion 02 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 16 2016 BMW 340i cabin 02 2016 BMW 340i engine badge 2016 BMW 340i seats 2016 BMW 340i steering wheel 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 13 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front view in motion 02 2016 Nissan Maxima SR cabin 1 2016 Nissan Maxima SR front three quarter in motion 01 2016 Nissan Maxima SR center console 2016 Nissan Maxima SR drive modes 2016 Nissan Maxima SR seats 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 14 2016 Nissan Maxima SR steering wheel 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 06 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 12 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 15 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 20 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 17 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 24 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 18 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 23 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 19 2016 Nissan Maxima SR vs 2016 BMW 340i 21

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Four in the Afternoon http://www.automobilemag.com/news/four-in-the-afternoon-asphalt-jungle/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/four-in-the-afternoon-asphalt-jungle/#respond Sun, 05 Mar 2017 16:00:51 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1102110 “You realize how crazy this is, the time and money we’re investing in this little expedition of yours. It’s the cost-reward ratio. People would laugh.” At first my friend Cal didn’t respond and kept pushing against the Piper Archer II’s fuselage as I pulled the tow bar to maneuver the aircraft out of the hangar....

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“You realize how crazy this is, the time and money we’re investing in this little expedition of yours. It’s the cost-reward ratio. People would laugh.”

At first my friend Cal didn’t respond and kept pushing against the Piper Archer II’s fuselage as I pulled the tow bar to maneuver the aircraft out of the hangar. Then he stopped and stood up straight. “The licorice one is mine. I’m calling it right now.”

It was daybreak in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a beautiful spring morning. Soon I had the Piper warmed up and was taxiing to the runway threshold. “I get orange,” I said, before radioing the tower for clearance. Cal smiled, gave me a big thumbs up, and leaned forward as if to help us go faster.

The plane climbed easily in the cool morning air, the sunlight low and bright behind us as we turned northwest, the trees casting long shadows across the lakes multiplying all around us as we gained altitude and perspective. Cal turned to his right for a moment to gaze down at a neat white farm below, then swung forward to savor the flat fields of green spilling into forever. “My brother Ben won’t be up for another four or five hours,” he said, now craning his neck to follow some marshmallow cumulus passing overhead. “And then he’ll go straight to the couch for a nap.”

For the next hour or so we talked the usual stuff: the cars I’d test-driven in the past few months, America’s recent victory in Operation Desert Storm, how in the world “Dances with Wolves” could’ve beaten “GoodFellas” for the Oscar. It was only the two of us and the steady hum of the Lycoming as we floated along the invisible river, the world right there and a part of us and seemingly all ours.

Soon we were descending to runway 30 at tiny Lowell City Airport in Kent County. “I can see Jack’s F-150 down there,” Cal said as I dialed up the Unicom frequency to announce our position. “He’s waving.”

“When you guys called I really didn’t think you were serious,” Jack said after we landed and he wrapped us in bro hugs. “Comin’ all this way for …”

“Licorice and orange are taken already,” Cal cut him off. Jack shuffled his feet for a moment as I finished securing the Piper. “All right. Then I’m going for cherry.”

We piled into Jack’s big Ford and briefly detoured north to cross the historic Fallasburg covered bridge, built in 1871, before rumbling south and west toward Holland, three old friends who hadn’t been together in far too long, laughing, lying, enjoying being on the road, the warming wind whistling through the open windows, each of us wondering why we didn’t do this more often. We stayed mostly on rural two-lanes, slipping below the bustle of Grand Rapids. We passed old barns and silver-metallic silos and newer homes on big grass lots flying American flags on tall poles, Jack’s pickup reflected in the windows of the old general store in Dutton and the Countryside Inn in Byron Center and Frank’s Restaurant in Zeeland. Something caught Cal’s eye, and he twirled his head to look. “You know what I like most about these small towns?” he asked.

Jack and I shot him the same expression. “What?”

“Personalized kung fu instruction.”

It was early afternoon when we pulled into Holland. The annual tulip festival was still a week or two away, but the flowers were everywhere — red, yellow, pink, white, purple, a rainbow settled to Earth. A few old-fashioned windmills cemented the Dutch illusion. “You know what this place reminds me of?” asked Cal as we rolled through town.

Jack shrugged his shoulders. “Wooden shoes?”

“Heineken.”

1989 BMW E34 front view

We turned a corner, and there it was: a black BMW M5, a 1990 E34 edition. “Ryan’s been doing pretty well for himself,” said Jack as he parked next to the car. We piled out of the F-150 as Ryan climbed from the M5’s driver’s seat to clap our backs. I hadn’t seen him in almost three years — before he’d struck gold as an investment banker in Grand Rapids. “Movin’ up in the world, I see,” I said, patting the M5. “Your last ride, it wasn’t so …”

“Ah yes,” Ryan whistled, “the old Toyota Tercel: 1.5 liters of female repellent.” The four of us caught up for a few minutes, then Ryan turned to Cal. “Your plan was so ridiculous I couldn’t say no. Anyway, I figured it’s a good excuse to see you guys again, so …”

“I could never own a car this nice. I’d be afraid to drive it without showering first.”

“The only ones left are lime and lemon,” Cal jumped in. “Sorry.”

Ryan stared at him. “And I call you a friend.” He shook his head. “Fine, let’s do this. We’ll take mine.”

We climbed aboard the M5, and Ryan powered us south onto the Blue Star Memorial Highway, a leafy two-lane that winds past small villages, farms, and occasionally Lake Michigan’s coastline. “Damn, this thing purrs,” Jack said from the front passenger seat as Ryan gunned the BMW through a few sweepers. Cal offered his own opinion. “I could never own a car this nice. I’d be afraid to drive it without showering first.”

Nearly two hours passed in what seemed like 30 minutes, the conversation loud and raunchy and hilarious. Except for our awesome wheels, it could’ve been 10 years earlier, stomachs sore from laughing, all present concerns forgotten in the comfort of familiar repartee, the pull of unfamiliar scenery, the joy of being free and out on the road.

We rolled up to the little train station in tiny St. Joseph and climbed out. Cal led the way. “I hope it’s still here,” he said, heading inside. We looked around, then Cal pointed to a dusty vending machine in the corner. “There!”

With a smile and a flourish he pulled a dollar bill out of his pocket, snapped it tight between his two hands, turned dramatically and fed it into the machine. “OK … we want … E4.” He pressed the buttons, a motor whirred, something fell to the bottom tray with a thunk. He reached in, pulled out a small packet, held it up. A package of Chuckles candies. Cal tore the cellophane.

“And here you go. Cherry for Jack, orange for Arthur, licorice for me, and …” he raised his eyebrows at Ryan.

“Lime.” Ryan took the jelly square, popped it in his mouth. The four of us chewed. “Kinda stale,” said Jack.

We all started laughing. Then Cal held up his hand. “Thanks, Jack, for proving my point.” He smiled. “When it comes to the perfect getaway, what matters is the going, not the reason why.”

 

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2017 All-Stars Contender: BMW M2 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m2-2017-all-stars-contender/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m2-2017-all-stars-contender/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:50:20 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1119670 When the BMW M3 switched to a V-8 for the E90/E92 generation, the spiritual line that started with the E30 M3, in the eyes of many, was broken. In their opinion, the lineage would only resume with the limited edition 1M — also known as 1 Series M, continuing with the M135, M235, and now,...

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When the BMW M3 switched to a V-8 for the E90/E92 generation, the spiritual line that started with the E30 M3, in the eyes of many, was broken. In their opinion, the lineage would only resume with the limited edition 1M — also known as 1 Series M, continuing with the M135, M235, and now, finally, the 2016 BMW M2.

Dimensionally, the F22-generation M2 is within two inches of the E36 and E46 M3s in terms of overall and wheelbase lengths, while its 3,450-pound curb weight is only slightly greater despite the additional number of safety and tech features found with the modern interpretation. Natural aspiration has given way to turbocharging, however, but the M2 uses it to coax 365 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque out of the 3.0-liter I-6 from the old M235i, the latter being available from 1,400 all the way to 5,560 rpm.

Knowing that track time was in order, BMW sent us a manual transmission-equipped example with just one option, the $1,250 Executive Package, which adds a heated steering wheel, rear-view camera, park-distance control, automatic high beams, and an active driving assistant.

2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Rear Three Quarter 02

“The M2 is super sporty in all aspects,” observed contributor Ronald Ahrens. And, “Just when you think BMW has lost the thread, they find it again and wrap it around the competition,” noted fellow contributor Steven Cole Smith

Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa, who has spent time with our recently arrived long-term M2, added some context: “Wish our M2 had this gearbox. Not a perfect six-speed manual, but very organic.”

On paper, the M2 appears to have the right ingredients to be an All-Star. Come back on March 11 to find out if that is, in fact, the case.

2016 BMW M2 Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $52,695 (base), $54,495 (as tested)
ENGINE 3.0L turbocharged DOHC 24-valve I-6
365 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 343 lb-ft @ 1,400-5,560 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE 18/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in
WHEELBASE 106.0 in
WEIGHT 3,450 lb
0-60 MPH 4.3 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph
2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Front Three Quarter 05 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Front Three Quarter 04 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Rear Three Quarter 04 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Rear Three Quarter 03 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Front Three Quarter 02 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Front Three Quarter 01 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Rear Three Quarter 01 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Left Side 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Rear 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Wheel 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Headlight 01 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Headlight 02 2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Grille

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AC Schnitzer Releases 30th Anniversary ACL2S Package for BMW M240i http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ac-schnitzer-releases-anniversary-acl2s-package-bmw-m240i/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ac-schnitzer-releases-anniversary-acl2s-package-bmw-m240i/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:13:28 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1119309 Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AC Schnitzer has moved “beyond the standard” with a special anniversary edition ACL2S based on the BMW M240i. Set to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the ACL2S is said to encompass the AC Schnitzer ethos for high-quality conversions that the company has been doing for the past three decades....

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Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AC Schnitzer has moved “beyond the standard” with a special anniversary edition ACL2S based on the BMW M240i. Set to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the ACL2S is said to encompass the AC Schnitzer ethos for high-quality conversions that the company has been doing for the past three decades.

The basic conversion takes the M240i from just 340 horsepower to “a generous” 400 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque thanks to an ECU reflash, a new exhaust, downpipe, and different intake. Additionally, AC Schnitzer included its fully adjustable RS suspension kit, lowering the car as well as giving the customer the option to adjust height, compression, and rebound.

AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Side Black

The majority of the kit, however, is comprised of AC Schnitzer’s special ten-piece ACL2S wide-body kit. Included in the kit is a carbon front spoiler, front slitter, carbon side mirrors, a new set of side skirts, a rear roof spoiler, carbon fiber wing, and a carbon rear diffusor meant to keep the ACL2S planted firmly on terra firma. The company also included a set of AC Schnitzer AC1 Alloy wheels that can be had in either black or silver.

AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Side Green

Finishing the ACL2S off, a host of interior trim pieces have been added, including an aluminum pedal set, special “One of Thirty” badging and a 3-spoke leather steering wheel with color-matched stitching.

But its performance and upgrades aren’t the real talking point, its price, however, is. The total ACL2S conversion kit, including all the fitting and registration, will cost owners $38,000, not including the cost of the car. If you include the cost of the donor car, $44,450, its price comes out to be nearly $83,000 for the ACL2S. That, is a lot of money for something that barely makes more horsepower than BMW’s own $55,000 M2.

AC Schnitzer will build only 30 examples of the ACL2S and will debut the car at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Front AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i 2 AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Above AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Rear AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Side by Side AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Rears AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i side AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Front AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Moving AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Passenger Side AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Side Green AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Side Black AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Side Green AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i Rear

AC Schnitzer ACL2S Special Anniversary Conversion limited to 30 for BMW M240i 2

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