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BMW introduces the M3 CRT

P90079403 BMW is set to release yet another special edition M3, this time with a unique name and unique features. The BMW M3 CRT (short for Carbon Racing Technology) uses carbon fiber elements to shave some pounds off the M3 as well as stylize the new sedan. The 4.4 liter 450HP M3 will be 154lb lighter than its stock counterpart pushing the vehicle to 62 MPH in 4.4 seconds flat. The M3 CRT will use carbon fiber trimmings from the BMW i3 and i8 plant and repurpose those for use in a CFRP mat which is Carbon fiber layers wrapped around a “honeycomb” structure providing immense strength with low weight gain.  

 This CFRP process is used on various aspects of the vehicle including the seats, Hood, front splitter and rear spoiler. The Special edition M3 will be hard to come by as it is limited in production to only 67 units and will retail at $185,000.

2012 BMW M5 Leaked Photos

2012_bmw_m5_21  The internet is ablaze with the leaking of some photos of the 2012 BMW M5 ahead of its official release this September at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. The new M5 is going to pack a punch with a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 pumping out 552 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque all the while only taking 4.4 seconds to accelerate from 0-60. The 2012 M5 is slated for the dual clutch transmission even though Americans can expect a six-speed version to drop as well. We will have a full list of details closer to its official unveiling in Germany this fall, until then enjoy the pictures:

Source: AutoGuide.com

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Mugen Supercharged CR-Z… this time WITH VIDEO

Almost a month ago details surfaced regarding Mugen’s newest project the Supercharged CR-Z. We reported on its 1.5 Liter hybrid motor pushing 197 HP and 181 lb tq along with the news that there would be 110lbs dropped off the stock CR-Z. We were mildly impressed and numbers are nice and all, but we didnt have any video of the Mugen CR-Z in action. Thanks to Honda UK’s Youtube page thats all about to change, check the video out below:

911 GT3RS 4.0 Video Review from AutoExpress

The good folks over at AutoExpress got a chance to get there hands on one of the last generation of the 997 Supercars, the Porsche 911 GT3RS 4.0. With only 600 being built this rare variant is setup with the largest engine ever put into the 911, the 4 liter flat six-cylinder engine. This engine configuration is slated to push the GT3 RS from 0-60 in a blistering 3.8 seconds. For the full review check out the article from AutoExpress Here. In the meantime check out the video review from AutoExpress below:

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2011 Kia Sportage First Drive

 There is a weird and mostly unexpected phenomenon that occurs at times. When I got the word that I would be receiving the 2011 Kia Sportage EX for review I couldn’t recall in my mind ever seeing the mid-level SUV on the road in person. As I stepped outside the restaurant that I was in, I just happened to see a silver Sportage passing through the intersection. A few days later I spotted a bright Red Sportage EX driving down I270. It seems that only when your attention is turned to it that you can see just how many are out there on the road. After my run in experiences with the Sportage and seeing its striking styling I was very excited to finally get my hands on one. Ever since Blake Griffins eye opening dunk over the Optima in the 2011 NBA Dunk contest, Kia’s market exposure has shot through the roof, and I was anxious to see how the Sportage measured up.


The 2011 Kia Sportage is one good looking Crossover


Kia’s implementation of its Audi inspired LED’s

The exterior of the Sportage is very attractive, especially compared to previous models . The sleek body lines and slender headlights give the vehicle a very modern look. It seems to me that the new “in” thing to do in the automotive industry is to have LED’s in your headlights and I tell you what, Kia hit the nail on the head with their incorporation of that feature. When riding through the parking lot at near dusk I had someone approach me and ask if I were driving an Audi SUV, I would definitely take that as a compliment. The model I had the task of reviewing came in Kia’s “Signal Red” a very bright color but it looked great along with the 18” alloy wheels it came on. As is stands I feel the Kia Sportage is one of the better looking crossover SUV’s on the market today as Kia’s designers have incorporated some of the more up to date features and trends found in higher end cars in the industry.


The Panaramic Sunroof really opens up the interior


Clean easy to navigate interior


Chronometer style gauges

As we focus on the interior of the Sportage you can automatically tell it’s another one of the high points of the vehicle. Our EX test model came fully loaded with ebony leather as well as dual climate controls, Navigation, Push button start and backup camera/ warning system. One of my personal favorite optional features on our Kia Sportage was the panoramic sunroof. Once you enter the vehicle you cannot help but to look up and marvel at the wide open windows that span the entire length of the vehicle allowing in tons of natural light. Another noted feature of the interior was the leg room. I had a good friend of mine check out the car to see if he would be able to find a comfortable setting. Within a few min of adjustments he was able to find the appropriate settings for his comfort in the driver’s seat and still have enough leg room behind him, not bad for someone who stands 6’ 5”. From the modern easy to read chronometer style gauges to the USB/iPod inputs and even the smart key with push button start, the 2011 Sportage was easy to love. The interior styling was one that wasn’t overly done nor was it a cheap reiteration of higher end interiors, but instead it was a refreshing twist of its own identity.


Kia’s 176HP motor in the EX Model

Out of all the high points in the Sportage I can’t say that I was at all impressed with what the crossover SUV had on the performance side of things. The EX model comes standard with a 4cyl 176HP engine with 168Lbs tq but on a vehicle that weighs in at over 3100lbs power isn’t exactly a strong point. On the few occasions I needed to apply heavy throttle, the Sportage seemed to hesitate to downshift. When the vehicle did finally respond and down shifted the throttle output was a bit underwhelming. In my week with the Sportage I noted that I was just about on par with Kia’s MPG estimates with about 19MPG city and 25 Highway which sort of offsets my initial concerns on performance. If performance is still a feature that is really important to your purchase I would suggest looking into the Sportage SX model which comes with a turbocharged 269hp engine forking out 269lbs tq. That should be enough beef to satisfy any worry of performance.

Road noise and ride quality were also a negative notation as the cabin and ride quality wasn’t as quiet and smooth as we expected it to be. These various concerns are mostly attributed to the type of tires on the 18” wheels installed on our test model . A day or so after receiving the Sportage we had a few sweeping thunderstorms roll through the DC Metro area overnight. The storms caused some serious wet road conditions and from the few experiences I had from having to go out in the rain, proved quite impressive. From the first corner taken on the wet roads in the Sportage the AWD system held tight and the suspension, even though it’s a bit stiff, still felt comfortable enough for me to make confident turns in the rain. The handling was indeed a plus as it was very responsive on both wet and dry conditions.

The Sportage EX model that we tested retailed at about $30,000 due to the various upgrades and optional features installed. In my personal opinion even though the vehicle was fully loaded it still felt as if the Sportage’s price tag was a bit weighty considering other crossover choices at that price. Overall the 2011 Kia Sportage is a solid outing for the Korean car company. I believe when looking for a new crossover SUV you would have to give the 2011 Sportage a fair shake. Even though the performance output is a bit disappointing the attractive styling, comfortable interior coupled with Kia’s outstanding 10 year 100,000 mile warranty makes this a must see for any looking to make a purchase in the near future.