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BMW unveils 3-Series coupe

BMW’s all new 3 Series Coupé range goes on sale in the UK in September. Engines include the 218 hp inline-6 325i and the 306 hp twin turbo inline-6 335i. Key highlights in exterior design include restyled headlamps and broad rear LED lights. Future models will include the 320i, 330i and the 320d. Oddly enough, they're not referred to with the Ci moniker any more, such as 335Ci, etc, and known simply as 335i Coupe.

Porsche unveils all-new 911 Turbo

The latest version of the Porsche 911 Turbo premiers at the Geneva Motor Show. The 911 Turbo Type 997 now has 480 hp at 6000 rpm from a 3.6-litre boxer engine.iter of displacement. Rated torque is around 470 lb-ft, available from 1950 to 5000 revs. The Turbo with six-speed manual transmission requires 3.9 seconds for the standard sprint from zero to 62 mph. The coupe reaches the 125 mph mark in 12.8 seconds. The optional Tiptronic S automatic transmission puts in an even more impressive performance, powering from zero to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds, reaching 125 mph in 12.2 seconds. An optional “Sport Chrono Package Turbo” can activate a short-time “overboost” at full throttle, increasing boost pressure in the mid speed range by 0.2 bar for up to ten seconds at the push of a button.

Mercedes-Benz unveils all-new S65 AMG

The hottest version of the new S-class, the Mercedes Benz S65 AMG includes the previous-generation engine in a new S-Class body. Nevertheless the 612 hp twin-turbo 6.0L V12 is a capable engine. The gearbox is also the same 5-speed automatic, with AMG's fast-shifting Speedshift program, while Active Body Control is standard. Performance is virtually unchanged, taking 4.4 seconds to do the 0 to 62 mph run, while the 0 to 124 mph run takes 13.3 seconds. Top speed is again limited to 155 mph, although customers can pay more to raise the limiter to 186 kph.

Lotus unveils new Europa two-seater sports car

The new Lotus Europa S has been revealed, and it turns out to be a two seater GT and not a 2+2 as speculated. The 2200 lbs coupe packs a 200 hp 2.0L turbo engine supplied by Opel. Performance stats include a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds, and a 0-100 mph time of 14 seconds, with a top speed of 140 mph. Lotus defines the Europa S as "business class", marketed as a more refined and comfortable car than the race-oriented Elise. Price should be around $50,000.

BMW to build road-going version of 320si touring car

BMW has announced details of a limited-edition version of BMW’s 2006 World Touring Car BMW 320si Saloon. Designed to comply with FIA homologation regulations, only 2,600 cars will be available worldwide. All feature a hand-built four-cylinder engine made at BMW’s engine plant in England. The high revving 2.0-litre unit delivers 173 hp at 7000rpm near its red line of 7300rpm, and about 152 lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm. This engine powers the BMW from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and, if left unchecked, onto a top speed of 140 mph. The front wheels are 8J x 18 fitted with 225/40 R18 tires while at the rear the 8.5J x 18 wheels are fitted with 255/35 R18 tires. Production begins March 2006 and ends in September 2006, with no word yet of U.S. availability.

BMW launches Z4 M Roadster and Mini JCW GP

BMW has finally unveiled the M version of the funky Z4 roadster on the heels of a mid-life facelift. The new Z4 M is directly fitted with the 3.2L 6-cylinder M3 engine, producing 333 hp in US trim, along with the obligatory body and suspension mods. Also of interest from BMW is the news that the Mini Cooper S will soon be available with a John Cooper Works GP Kit that loses weight and gains power for a hefty price tag reaching $30,000. The special edition features a boost in power to around 215 hp and 180 lb-ft. It will be produced as a limited edition of 2,000 units.

Nissan shows prototype Skyline GT-R at Tokyo

At the Tokyo Motor Show 2005, Nissan showed of the latest prototype of the next-generation GT-R that will be rolled out in 2007. The GT-R PROTO has front fenders are uniquely designed through intensive analysis of the airflow around the tires, and the air vent behind the front fender also optimizes aerodynamics. The unique c-pillar crease is designed for optimum aerodynamics, while the rear has the signature four ring-shaped tail lamps provide an immediate visual link to previous GT-R models. Four large-bore exhaust pipes complete the purposeful look, which could only be that of a pure GT-R.

Mini shows off future derivative model

MINI's first concept car since its 2001 launch was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The MINI Concept Frankfurt provided early hints towards a potential future derivative. A longer wheel base, added practical storage and access solutions plus bespoke interiors and exterior styling cues generated much interest. The concept MINI's character is emphasised by retractable aluminium headlamps, air vents that turn into cup holders, and a central navigation screen that flips round to be replaced by a globe. The lack of a B-pillar allows the rear passengers to be serviced with windows that slide back rather than down. The back window that electronically drops and lifts, and front seats pivoted centrally allowing them to swing round rather than tip up to aid rear passenger access.

Mitsubishi introduces Lancer Evo Wagon for limited release

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Wagon is the first station wagon model in the Lancer Evolution series. Derived from the Lancer Evolution IX sedan, the Wagon uses the body side panels and roof panel from the Lancer Wagon with reinforcements mainly focused on the rear end to create a lightweight and very stiff station wagon body. The powertrain mates a 280 hp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine to an electronically controlled 4WD driveline to realize unparalleled vehicle dynamics for a station wagon. The Wagon is offered in two grades--the GT with a 6-speed manual and the GT-A with a 5-speed automatic. The Evolution Wagon is to be produced in a limited run of 2500, with production due to cease at the end of December this year. It is expected to be sold in Japan only.

Chevrolet releases 2006 Malibu SS pair

Chevrolet have unveiled a pair of six-cylinder Impala SS models, one a sedan and the other the MAXX wagon. From the Pontiac G6 GTP comes the 240-horsepower, 3.9L high-value pushrod engine. Unlike the G6 GTP, there's no manual transmission option, just the four-speed automatic. The interior is designed in ebony, but you get a three-spoke steering wheel, an SS feature--and a choice of all-season or summer 225/50R18 tires. As for styling, all Malibu models receive a new front end for the 2006 model year.

Volkswagen unveils new Jetta GLI

Based on the redesigned Jetta, the new GLI is bigger than previous GLI models in nearly every dimension, including occupant space, legroom and trunk volume. The heart of the 2006 GLI is the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 200 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 207 lb-ft of torque from 1800 to 4700 rpm. With a standard six-speed manual transmission, the new GLI accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. The 2006 GLI is available with Volkswagen's new six-speed DSG™ automatic transmission with Tiptronic® as an option. Features include standard Xenon headlights and optional 18-inch alloy wheels.

Volkswagen reveals new Golf R32 in Europe

The R32 is the most powerful Golf made by Volkswagen. Based on the Golf V generation, it packs 250 hp under the bonnet and includes permanent four-wheel drive. The new model premieres at the 59th Frankfurt Motor Show with market launch at the end of September. From the outside, the Golf R32 is recognisable by R32 logos, unique aluminium-effect shield-shaped radiator grille at the front, and a fully painted bumper that has two round tailpipes integrated prominently its the center at the rear, along with 18-inch light-alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 tires, and large brake calipers painted blue. Other features include sports seats and xenon headlights. The Golf R32 has a top speed of 155 mph and comes either with a 6-speed manual gearbox or the optional dual clutch gearbox (DSG). The DSG version races from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds while the manual takes 6.3 seconds.

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The Pit Stop

Porsche, as a company, is bent on betraying their loyal followers. After introducing the most hated vehicle in Porsche history--namely the Cayenne--it is getting ready to introduce a four-door sedan, of all things. Granted, the Cayenne is Porsche's biggest seller, but it introduced a whole bunch of bling-wannabes into the Porsche club, who bought the SUV because they want a Porsche in the garage but are too wimpy to drive a real sports car.

That being said, the Porsche Panamera sedan will probably be a seriously cool four-door, joining the ranks of the Mercedes Benz CLS and the Maserati Quattroporte. Too bad it will be too expensive for most folks.

The Editor

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