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]


    Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster spy shots

    Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

    Pistonspy have some nice shots of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster in action at the Nürburgring. It’s expected we’ll get a proper look at an undisguised SLS AMG Roadster before the end of the year. It may even be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October.

    Engine specs from the tintop SLS AMG aren’t likely to change, so there might be a slight performance drop due to the extra weight needed to strengthen the roofless chassis.

    [Pic: Pistonspy]


    Ferrari 458 Challenge testing at Fiorano

    Ferrari 458 Challenge

    German publication auto motor und sport have posted up video footage of the Ferrari 458 Challenge undergoing allegedly secret testing at the company’s Fiorano test track. It’s all pretty straightforward really, so watch the clip below and marvel at the clinical efficiency the 458 Challenge displays.


    VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster test

    Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

    Those of you who think gullwing style doors are a bit passe might be interested to learn the Roadster version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is getting closer to a release. This video filmed at the Nürburgring shows the car in action. As with its tin top sibling the engine note is pretty special. Check out the clip after the break.

    [via The German Car Blog]

    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.

    Reviews Tried & Tested Volkswagen

    Tried & Tested: Volkswagen Golf VI 1.4 TSI

    Golf VI 1.4 TSI with DSG

    Welcome to AUSmotive’s second Tried & Tested review. This time, with a bit of a difference. As you can see we’re discussing the new Mk6 Golf, and with the new Golf not making its Australian debut until later this month I have had to follow a few leads via the VWvortex forums to file this report. This has led me right to the heart of Volkswagen, with the owner of this Mk6 Golf, Jimmy, an ex-pat US citizen now residing in Wolfsburg. Jimmy has been kind enough answer a few questions about his new wheels…

    Q. Can you please list the full spec of your car, how long you have owned it and kilometres travelled.

    A. I have the 1.4 litre TSI 160PS (approx 117kw) engine and the 7-speed DSG transmission, with flappy paddles on the steering wheel. It is only a few months old and I have completed just 1500 kilometyres so far.

    It also has heated leather seats with power lumbar, the new generation RNS-510 sat nav system (with the hard disk drive). There is also Park Assist, although no reverse camera, just sensors in the bumpers, and it can also parallel park automagically.

    Obviously by the pictures you can see it is a three door version. As of right now new Mk6 Golf is still quite rare, even here in Wolfsburg. I’ve only seen one or two others like it, quite unique for a town that renamed itself “Golfsburg” a few years ago.

    My car was made in Mosel (Zwickau) and not in Wolfsburg.

    [Ed: This is interesting, as I had previously heard that all Mk6 Golf production was to take place in Wolfsburg, perhaps all Golf production will now be in Germany, rather than Wolfsburg itself.]

    Safety Issues

    Getting a grip on reality

    Autocar Tyre Test 2009

    A brief snippet here from UK magazine Autocar, who recently ran a tyre test with a difference. Usually, when magazines run tyre comparos they get a few examples from across the price range and try to establish the best tyre on the market. This time, though, Autocar used an established tyre from Continental and tested it against cheaper tyres made in China and Taiwan.

    One in five sets of tyres sold in the UK now are sourced from these markets and the test would see how the less expensive tyres compared. The press release presented is a bit light on detail (might have to buy the mag for the full story I guess), but the conclusion is no real surprise.

    The results given were for an 80km/h–zero wet weather braking test. A Volkswagen Golf was used, fitted with OEM fitment 205/55R16 sized tyres. As one might expect the Continental performed best, stopping in the shortest distance. Amazingly, however, the worst performing tyre in this test, from Linglong, was still travelling at 44km/h at the same point the Continentals had brought the test car to a halt. Ouch!

    Of course, no test can be consclusive for each individual buyer, but when it is nigh on impossible for consumers to test tyres before buying, comparisons like this can prove quite valuable. Remember, tyres are the only things between you and the road. If you’re considering a cheap set of tyres next time, you might want to consider your other options.

    Fifth Gear Volkswagen

    Fifth Gear reviews Golf VI

    Fifth Gear returned to UK screens last week with the premiere episode of Series 15. This makes them the first major UK car show to get their hands on the Mk6 Golf. Here’s Jonny Smith’s review.

    For more on the new Golf, check out this previous AUSmotive post, including the Trackback links at the bottom of the article that will take you to a wide range of Golf VI related articles.

    Audi MINI Reviews

    AUSmotive – Best Reviews 2008

    From somewhat humble beginnings this blog started in March 2008. In that time I have enjoyed maintaining the site and keeping the information ticking over. Of course, the best parts to date have been the test drives. While I may not have been able to complete as many reviews as I would like, I have had a great time testing the cars I have been granted access to. Thanks to all who have assisted in this regard and special mentions must go to Jonathon from Audi Centre Canberra and Brad from Rolfe Classic MINI Garage for their generous cooperation and support.

    So, with that preamble in mind, the three cars I have enjoyed testing most in 2008 are the Audi R8, the Audi RS6 Avant and the MINI John Cooper Works.

    Audi R8 – “Mash your right foot to the floor and you’ll be creating smiles on a demographic far broader than Audi ever planned. While putting a grin on your face that has you giggling like a mischievous school boy.”

    Audi RS6 Avant – “No car I have ever driven has given me the thrill the RS6 delivered. I’m loathe to make the cliched comparisons to sex, but, after handing back the keys yesterday afternoon, I had a smile on my face that lasted well into the night.”

    MINI John Cooper Works – “The MINI John Cooper Works is a fantastic point to point weapon that keeps MINI at the forefront of the hot hatch category. There may be cheaper alternatives out there, but few can match the MINI’s cachet, and fewer still can match the John Cooper Works for driving thrills.”

    MINI Challenge

    Ben Tune on a roll in the MINI Challenge


    With all the MINI CHALLENGE highlights we couldn’t forget Ben Tune’s rollover! Tune is a former Australian test rugby player and was part of the UBER-STAR CAR program at Round 3, held at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway. This accident happened in Race 1 and while he did spend the night in hospital he was released with no serious injuries. A full statement from the MINI CHALLENGE organisers can be read HERE. Further commentary and a brief pre-race interview with the former Wallaby international can be seen HERE.