BMW 1M Coupé really makes its mark

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

A couple of weeks ago we showed how the BMW 1 Series M Coupé was beginning to make its mark with owners. Since then the press reviews have started rolling in and it’s all good news for the baby M.

First, 1addicts brings news that German rag Sport Auto has run the 1M through one of its famous track tests at Hockenheim. The result? A best lap time of 1:14.1. That’s one tenth slower than a manual equipped Porsche Cayman S. Impressive, hey? Well, consider this; it’s one tenth faster than an E92 M3 with DCT.

Autocar said: “The longer you spend at the wheel of the M Coupé, the more you come to appreciate its overall ability. Its focus is perhaps a little broader than we’ve come to expect from BMW M… It’s not a junior M3, as many suggested it would be. No, it has its own distinct character and, in real-world terms, is a good deal faster than its more expensive sibling.”

Car said: “The 1-series M is a proper M car, no doubt… It’s definitely not a hotted-up 135i, and now we’re looking forward to the future of M.”

Inside Line said: “Let’s not extend the suspense any longer. The 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe is a fantastically compelling machine. It is fast… It has a truly brawny engine that sounds great at wide-open throttle, handles with all the precision expected of a car wearing the evocative M badge, and is super practical given its performance brief.”

Yeah, you’d like one too?

[Pic: Sport Auto]

Green Machines Volkswagen

Volkswagen confirms limited production for lean, green XL1

Volkswagen XL1 concept

According to German publication Automobilwoche Volkswagen chief Dr Martin Winterkorn has confirmed the diesel-electric hybrid XL1, revealed at the Qatar Motor Show earlier this week, will be built. It’s due in a couple of years and just 100 are likely to be made utlising the production facilities at Wolfsburg or Dresden.

At a mere 795kg and with a combined fuel consumption figure of just 0.9l/100km the XL1 shapes as being one of the best eco-conscious cars money can buy. But is it likely to be any good, or will it be little more than a meek marketing gimmick? With such limited production plans it looks like Volkswagen is hedging its bets.

However, Autocar journo Hilton Holloway was in Qatar during the week and he had the opportunity to drive the two-seat city car concept. If his thoughts are anything to go by, Volkswagen should feel optimistic. Here are a few of his comments:

“I’ve just been scurrying around Doha in the sole Volkswagen XL1. And although it’s a very early prototype, the concept is clearly right on the money.”

“What was so surprising was that the XL1 felt so safe and secure, despite me having to mix it with wayward Toyota Landcruisers.”

“One other thing struck me. With a bigger motor, the XL1 would probably make the most amazing eco-supercar.”

    [Source: Automobilwoche (translated) via engadget]

    Ferrari Formula 1 McLaren Red Bull Racing Video

    One last look at the 2010 Formula One season

    2010 F1 highlights

    The recent launch of Ferrari’s F150 challenger marks the unofficial beginning of the 2011 Formula One season. So, for a quick reminder of the immediate season past, take the jump to watch an excellent highlights clip which celebrates the sport’s 60th anniversary year.

    It’s a very entertaining piece of footage and is the perfect complement to our 2010 pictorial season review.


    So, what is the Audi quattro concept like to drive?

    Audi quattro concept

    When the stunning Audi quattro concept made its debut in Paris it was little more than a show car queen. It had a modest engine designed only to get it from transporter to show hall. Now, though, Audi has fiddled with the car and installed a few herbs. 402 of them to be exact, or around 300kW if you want the straight version. Powered by the wonderful 2.5 litre inline five cylinder found in the TT RS and now the RS3, as well, and tipping the scales at a whopping 235kg less than the RS3, this 21st century Quattro should be the duck’s guts. But is it?

    Well, luckily for us, or perhaps more luckily for them, Matt Prior from Autocar and Henry Catchpole from Evo have been given the chance to drive the car to find out.

    Matt Prior: Encouraged by Audi to press on a bit faster, I give it a bootful, at which point it feels rather less like a concept car. The Quattro really flies. Once you’ve a few revs wound on – anything over 2500 is fine – most of the lag disappears and the distinctive five-pot warble kicks in, followed by some whistling and chattering of the wastegate when you lift and start the process in the next gear. It feels R8 V10 kind of fast, but that acceleration is easier to get at. The shift is sweet too. The brakes perhaps a tad over-servoed, but manageable enough. Engine response is fine for heel and toe downshifts.

    Henry Catchpole: Despite steering that could do with being a bit quicker, you can feel how light it is and what a short wheelbase it has as it snaps into corners with the rear end feeling particularly keen. It also rides amazingly well for a concept car with big 20in wheels. Even after a limited drive I want one.

    While it’s very early days yet—the concept is yet to be approved for production—it sounds as though Audi’s engineers have a great platform to work on should the top brass give them the okay to build it.

    We especially like this last line from Catchpole’s review, “If you put the sat-nav into ‘Race’ mode then it will apparently read you pace notes for the road ahead like a rally co-driver!” For the full text follow the links below.

    [Source: Autocar & Evo]


    “It is absolutely clackers!”

    Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

    Well, with 1200 horsepower, 1500 Newton metres of torque and costing around £2,000,000 what else would you expect him to say?

    Him is Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar and the car is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. Yep, that’s the one that set a new landspeed record back in June. The magic number then was 431km/h and that stands as the fastest speed set by a production vehicle.

    In case you haven’t already done the sums, the Aussie dollar conversion is around $3.2 million.

    Check out Sutcliffe’s review after the break. Lucky sod!

    Fifth Gear Saab

    Fifth Gear on the new Saab 9-5

    Saab 9-5

    It’s been almost six months since the Saab 9-5 began production under its new owners Spyker. The car is now on sale and reviewers are stating to file their reports. Can the new 9-5 usher in a new era of stability for Saab? Can the 9-5 shed its humble GM origins? More importantly, and more simply, is the new 9-5 any good?

    Take the jump and see what VBH from Fifth Gear has to say.

    Audi Drive Thru Reviews

    Drive Thru: Audi TT RS

    Audi TT RS

    The Audi TT RS has some very healthy numbers on its side. Let’s start with the 2.5 litre turbocharged inline five cylinder that produces 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque. That torque is all yours from a low 1600rpm, as well. The TT RS is only available with a six speed manual transmission and Audi reckon it can reach 100km/h in 4.6 seconds.

    Nice numbers aren’t they. Then, consider the TT is one of the best looking mid-sized sports coupés on the market and you soon realise Audi could have a real knock out winner on its hands.

    A catch. There must be a catch, right?

    RS purists will bemoan the fact the TT RS uses a Haldex all-wheel drive system and not a Torsen-based setup, which does have genuine roots to the rally-bred Ur Quattro. They might also have hoped Audi pushed the envelope a bit on the body styling. Where are the beefed up and flared guards seen on other RS models, such as the highly acclaimed B7 RS4?

    Take your seat behind the wheel, though, and you soon get a sense this car is something special. There’s the race-inspired Recaro seats, a thick and beautifully styled steering wheel and, of course, all housed in another class leading interior from Audi.

    Turn the key, fire up that engine and senses are further heightened by the glorious five-pot growl that lies deep inside the TT RS (listen to the audio sample below).

    This is all well and good, but is its bark bigger than its bite? The only way to find out was to head out to AUSmotive’s favourite test route and see how the TT RS fared.


    Jeremy Clarkson on the 911 GT3

    Porsche 911 GT3

    For every Chris Harris there is a Jeremy Clarkson. That is, for every person who will always find something positive to say about a Porsche 911, there is always someone to find the negative.

    Clarkson is well known for his dislike of all things 911, too. This following comment is a perfect example of that, “I don’t remember what sort of 911 I drove first, but I’d heard so many horror stories about the wayward handling that I didn’t dare go more than 4 mph. Which meant I had more time to examine the ridiculously basic dashboard, and the heater controls which appeared to be connected to nothing at all.”

    However, has Jeremy seen the light? Maybe be has, “But then along came the new GT3 and I won’t dwell on the whys and the wherefores, but I loved it. Not liked it. Loved it.

    “Despite the aesthetic shortfalls, and the fact it’s a 911, this is a great car. It goes round roundabouts like nothing I’ve ever driven. In a test of pure handling and grip, it would be a match for anything. And it only costs £86,000. That’s just shy of half what you’d pay for a Ferrari 458. Half.”

    Was the 911 GT3 really able to turn Clarkson’s opinion around 180 degrees? Follow the link below to find out.



    Chris Harris on the 911 GT2 RS

    Porsche 911 GT2 RS

    Chris Harris from Evo has just filed a report on the stonking Porsche 911 GT2 RS. He’s rated it five stars. Sure, he might be a bit of a Porsche fanboi at heart, but here’s how he explains his thoughts, “This is a remarkable car. Veyron aside, it’s the fastest road car I’ve driven – but it’s completely useable and it still involves you in the process. Want.”

    Make sure you follow the link below for the full review. There’s at least one GT2 RS coming to Australia, too. It will be in the calm guiding hands of Jim Richards. He’s selling not one, but three race-prepped 911s to help pay for it—I bags the 997 GT3 RS!

    [Source: EVO]

    Drive Thru Reviews Volkswagen

    Drive Thru: Volkswagen Golf R

    VW Golf R

    Details of the all-paw Golf R first came to light in September last year. Since then there’s been a sense of anticipation building here at AUSmotive HQ. On paper, Volkswagen’s 188kW hero puts forward a compelling case. As with any car the final judgement can only be revealed through first hand experience.

    First, a quick glance at how Volkswagen have set the R apart from its lesser siblings. Up front there’s an angular lower grille with large open vents. Fog lights have made way for LED daytime running lights; the only Golf in the range to feature the latest in lighting fashion. Xenon headlights, with cornering assist, are standard fitment, too.

    At the back of the car centre-mount twin exhaust tips have carried over from the Mk5 R32. Continuing the nod to current lighting trends are trick LED rear lights, as well.

    The front grille, wing mirrors and rear skirt feature gloss black paint detail. Likewise the brake calipers, which are adorned with R badges up front. Model specific 18” alloys complete the look and 19” wheels in the same style can also be optioned.

    Inside, think Golf GTI without the tartan seats and red contrast stitching. The steering wheel loses the GTI’s metal insert in favour of a gloss black finish. There are three seat trim choices, including cloth/micro fibre standard trim and optional leather. There’s also racing-style Recaro buckets to tempt your cash reserves.

    The overall look of the Golf R is classic Volkswagen and, in this case, the term velvet sledgehammer is perhaps most appropriate. Actually, inside and out, the Golf GTI offers more drama with its splashes of red detailing and standard tartan seat fabric. Despite that, the Golf R gets it pretty much bang on in the looks department.

    Under the skin is a 2.0 litre turbocharged four cylinder with peak numbers of 188kW and 330Nm. The engine was first seen in Australia in 2007 under the bonnet of the Audi S3. Like the current model S3, the Golf R is fitted with the latest Haldex IV all-wheel drive system.

    But, the real story of the Golf R is told out on the road.

    Motorsports Porsche

    Behind the scenes with the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

    Porsche GT3 R Hybrid

    Here is a real treat for you, Autocar have just posted a video of Steve Sutcliffe driving the Porsche GT3 R Hybrid. This is the same car that very nearly won the demanding Nürburgring 24 hour race at its first attempt.

    In his written review Sutcliffe says driving the GT3 R Hybrid is, “Quite spooky, incredibly efficient but also just very, very exciting to use. When you press the magic button for the first time it actually feels a bit like a cheat, the rush of extra acceleration comes at you that fast. But when you get used to the way it works – the way it can alter not just your speed along a straight but also the handling balance mid corner even – the hybrid GT3 R is quite clearly a highly significant piece of kit; the beginning of a brand new era.”

    Piers Ward from has also had a drive in the GT3 R Hybrid. Here’s a bit of what he had to say, “This thing is utterly brilliant. It’s not about chasing fuel figures or CO2, it’s about trying to maximise performance.

    “By the end of three braking zones, the flywheel is fully re-charged. The weirdest part of the whole thing is the noise is makes as it’s getting charged up – like a hoover on speed, whirring away frantically.”

    In closing his review Sutcliffe says, “hybrid power is not the future for companies like Porsche and cars like the 911, it is the present. Not so much the end of the road for high performance cars, but the beginning of a brand new chapter.

    Take the jump to watch the Autocar clip.

    Drive Thru Jaguar Reviews

    Drive Thru: Jaguar XF V6 Diesel S

    Jaguar XF

    The Jaguar XF is a beautiful car. From any angle, it doesn’t matter. It’s a good thing, too. Until the XF came along Jags had become a 1960s time capsule, while the rest of the world had moved at broadband speed into the noughties.

    Styling cues such as the chrome grille and rounded headlights remind us of Jaguar’s great legacy. Importantly, though, Jaguar has shed tired clichés in favour of a new direction that enables it to compete alongside the established German players.

    This would all count for nothing if its beauty was only skin deep. But it’s not. Step inside and, again, the interior is clearly defined by the century in which it was created. A pleasing mix of materials give the XF a New England feel.