Friday, December 21, 2007

Nissan 350Z Review

Nissan 350Z

The Nissan 350Z is the modern interpretation of the original Datsun 240Z. It's fast. It's fun to drive. It's pure sports car. And it's affordable, or at least attainable. The new Z is as responsive as a hungry cheetah, with racecar handling, rear-wheel drive, and thrilling acceleration performance.

The new Z is a great value for the driving enthusiast. While the previous-generation twin-turbocharged 300ZX (discontinued in 1996) delivered stellar performance, it was too expensive for most of us. The new 350Z is far more affordable, starting at just $26,269. And that's no wimpy base model with a commuter engine. All 350Zs get the same sports suspension and Nissan's superb V6 engine, which punches out 287 horsepower and strong torque. That much power, along with a six-speed gearbox, carbon-fiber driveshaft, drive-by-wire throttle, anti-lock disc brakes vented front and rear with EBD, plus convenience features like automatic temperature control and a premium stereo, do not normally come on cars below 30K.

Nissan says the 350Z was designed to be a sports car an enthusiast can live with every day. While its firm ride, abrupt throttle response, and awkward cup holders don't necessarily make it a great place to drink coffee, eat doughnuts, and make phone calls on the way to work, it is a comfortable car with usable cargo space, and getting in and out isn't impossibly awkward. Order it with the excellent five-speed automatic, and you'll have a better commuter for the daily stop-and-go.

With its bulging front fenders and fast back, the Z reminds me of a Porsche 911. Not everyone agrees with this assessment, of course. Regardless, driving the new Z draws a lot of "nice car" comments, including one from a Porsche Carrera 4 driver.

The shape of the Z suggests a mid-engine design. The engine is in fact in front of the driver, but it's behind the front axle. That's why Nissan calls it a front mid-ship placement. (In that respect, it's somewhat similar to the Mazda RX-7 design.) The Z shares its architecture with the Infiniti G35 coupe and sedan. Moving the engine rearward improves weight distribution, which improves handling balance. The new Z weighs about 3,200 pounds, split front/rear 53/47 percent. It's balanced well for accelerating out of corners.

An extremely short front overhang and a short rear overhang makes for agile handling. It also means you don't scrape driveways like you do in a Corvette. Bulging fender flares make the Z look like it's ready for the racetrack, which it is.

Its shape, besides looking really cool, allows the Z to slice through the air with a minimum of drag (0.29 on the Track model). Airflow is managed well underneath, with zero lift on the front (and zero lift on the rear of the Track model). All this math adds up to relatively low levels of wind noise and a stable sports car at high speeds.

The interior of the Nissan 350Z is a cockpit designed for driving, helping the driver quickly become one with the car. The carbon-fiber colored cloth seats are form-fitting, supportive and comfortable, made of a soft material that grips the body in the corners. The driver's seat features a mound in the center to prevent the driver from sliding forward. Aggressive side bolsters grip the waist to hold the driver in place. The leather seats in the Touring model seem a little firmer than the cloth, and are available in charcoal, burnt orange or frost. Either cloth or leather is a good choice in this case. The supportive seats and a driver's dead pedal mean you never feel like you have to hang on to the car. The seating position should be good for drivers with long legs; I felt a little close to the wheel when the seat was adjusted for my legs. It's worth noting, however, that this feeling went away the moment the key was turned in the ignition.

The interior of the Z seems to suggest a carbon-fiber racecar tub. The material surrounding the shifter and forming the center dash looks like carbon fiber. Likewise, the large expanse of gray material lining the door panels suggests carbon fiber in appearance. The quality of the materials is okay, though some of the pieces would never be allowed in an Audi. It looked austere at first, but quickly grew on us. Stylish interior touches, such as the inside door handles integrated into aerodynamic pods for the side vents, give the Nissan 350Z a racy, modern look. Passengers often grope for the door release the first time they try to get out, distracted by the big grab handles adorned with genuine aluminum and relieved by the Z's dot motif.

Stylish audio controls include a big volume knob, clearly marked buttons for channel seeking, and six station buttons that can be preset simply by holding them down. We confess we were too focused on entertaining ourselves with the car to turn it on, and we drove various models of the Z on both coasts. Below are three large knobs for the automatic climate control system, which comes standard. Nicely designed wiper and headlamp controls are mounted on short stalks. The leather-wrapped steering wheel looks and feels great, and comes with cruise controls on the right spoke. Overhead are well-designed map lights and a bin for sunglasses. Power window switches are auto-up/auto-down.

Turning the key and hearing the engine roar to life is the first indication the Nissan 350Z is no poser. Turning onto a winding road proves this beyond a shadow of doubt. Sharp steering, terrific handling, and excellent grip make this a real driver's car. This car is very fast with brilliant acceleration.

Mounted longitudinally and driving the rear wheels is Nissan's excellent VQ V6 engine. It's smooth and sounds like a big sports car engine. It generates lots of torque at low rpm, pulling smoothly from about 2000 rpm. Maximum torque of 274 pounds-feet comes at 4800 rpm, tapering off as maximum horsepower of 287 hp is reached at 6200 rpm. The engine is still pulling smoothly as the rev limiter steps in somewhere just north of 6500 rpm, but this engine is more about low-rpm torque than high-revving horsepower. Nissan's Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System helps the V6 produce a nice, linear band of torque. Drive-by-wire technology reduces mechanical weight and complexity.

The short-throw shifter feels good and it's effective. The six-speed gearbox shifts quickly and deliberately. It's so well synchronized you almost don't need the clutch (though Nissan recommends using it). Clutch pedal effort has enough heft to remind the driver this is no Honda Accord.

The automatic transmission works great, really smooth and responsive. Driving the automatic, didn't leave me feeling like I was missing out by not having the manual. The Touring model with the automatic and 17-inch wheels felt like the perfect combination for hurtling down New York's Taconic Parkway.

The Z feels taut and well controlled. It really stuck when accelerating through fast sweepers on California's Palos Verdes Peninsula. The steering is sharp and accurate and the Nissan 350Z changes directions brilliantly in transient maneuvers, without excessive understeer turning in or sloppy oversteer coming out. Cornering is flat, without much body lean. The 17-inch tires generate lots of grip, even when driving in a rebellious manner. It's hard to imagine using it up outside a competitive event or emergency maneuver. The 17-inch wheels offer a better ride than the 18-inch wheels on the Performance model. In either case, the ride does get jouncy on bumpy roads, most noticeably when cruising slowly, but it doesn't beat you up and we expect that with a sports car like this.

The Nissan 350Z stands alone as an affordable, high-performance hardtop sports car. Its rear-wheel-drive chassis is rigid, its suspension is taut for excellent handling, and the V6 engine delivers lots of torque for strong acceleration performance.

Starting at less than $27,000, the new Nissan 350Z delivers with no-frills hardware, including a carbon fiber driveshaft. All models deliver stellar performance. Whether you opt for the six-speed manual gearbox or the five-speed automatic, there are no dogs in the lineup. The interior is the weakest link here, but it grows on you with a little time spent living with it.

Nissan Xterra Review

Nissan Xterra

The Nissan Xterra SUV is aimed at younger or more active consumers who need a midsize SUV with enhanced off-road capability. Built with stout body-on-frame construction and functional four-wheel drive, the Xterra continues to be a steady seller among those who use their SUV for outdoor recreation as well as those who want to give off that impression.

Compared to its car-based SUV competition, the Nissan Xterra's on-pavement performance is not as comfy or refined, but if serious off-roading is part of your routine then we'd recommend it as one of the better new or used sport-utilities on the market. The Xterra features solid build quality and a reliable nature, which translates into confidence-inspiring peace of mind as you head off into the wilderness of the urban - or more distant - jungle.

Current Nissan Xterra

The latest Nissan Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter, 265-horsepower V6 driving through a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. There are four trim levels: X, S, SE and Off-Road. The first three are offered in both rear- and four-wheel-drive versions, while the Off-Road is offered in 4WD only. The entry-level X is minimally equipped, while the S adds items like cruise control, remote keyless entry and full power accessories. The SE piles on more premium touches while the Off-Road model loses the luxe touches in favor of extra equipment that improves off-road performance.

In reviews, our editors have found that the second-generation Xterra's strengths include its powerful V6 engine and above-average off-road capability. It still doesn't deliver the sharp handling that a crossover SUV would, however. If you never plan on leaving the street, there are certainly better compact or midsize SUVs on the market.

Past Nissan Xterra Models

Nissan unveiled the rugged and functional Xterra compact SUV in 2000 against a competitive set comprised mostly of more fragile and less capable car-based competitors. While it sold well initially, early Nissan Xterras did have a few rough edges: The bare interior was constructed of hard plastic panels, the ride was harsh and the modest four-cylinder and 170-hp V6 engines barely had enough oomph to propel the truck-based SUV around town. Detail upgrades carried through to 2002 when Nissan attempted to fix these flaws in a midcycle freshening by adding a supercharged V6 to boost performance, modifying front-end styling - including a hood bulge on blown models - and refining controls, cabin trim and audio systems to help bring it up to date.

In 2003, the 3.3-liter V6 received a slight power boost, the SUV got trim and styling tweaks to further differentiate it and Nissan's VDC stability control system and head curtain airbags became available. To avoid the teething problems in 2000-'01 vehicles, shoppers may want to focus on these revised 2002-'04 models with V6s when searching for earlier, first-generation used Xterras.

In 2005 the Nissan Xterra was significantly reworked for the first time -- not sharing a single part with its predecessor yet looking vaguely familiar. The second-generation vehicle's overall length was unchanged, but the wheelbase was stretched by 2 inches. This not only resulted in a sleeker and more integrated look, but also improved ramp angles for increased off-road clearance. The Nissan Xterra now climbed more like a mad mountain goat thanks also to an all-new chassis and a powerful new 4.0-liter V6 producing 265 hp. For 2006, the big news was a new entry-level X trim level for the more budget-conscious.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Toyota RAV4 Review

Toyota RAV4

The previous generation RAV4 was the right car at the right time. Its overtly 4x4 look, funky bodyshape and excellent on-road manners, meant it was perfectly placed to pick up sales during the soft-roader boom of the mid-Nineties. Toyota stuck to the same formula for the re-launched model in 2000. The look is a little more sophisticated, it's a lot safer and there’s more kit, but the core proposition remains the same. It retains buyer appeal.

Both the VVTi units - the 1.8 and 2.0 - are willing and work well, the 123bhp 1.8 in the front-wheel-drive NV is based on the MR2 and Celica unit. It's reasonably economical, returning a Combined fuel consumption figure of 38.2mpg. It's quick for a 4x4 too - with a 0-60mph time of 12.2 seconds. But the main petrol unit is the 147bhp two-litre. It's swift (0-60mph in 10.9 seconds), but less refined than the 1.8 and fuel consumption is 32.1mpg. Diesel buyers can opt for the 2.0 D-4D, it's lively enough for most people, is quite refined and gives 39.8mpg.

The RAV4 range is made up of three and five-door estates and four trim levels: NV, NRG, GX and VX. NV has air-con, electric front windows, alarm and immobiliser (1.8 NV is two-wheel-drive; all others are four-wheel-drive). NRG is the high-spec three-door choice, with a CD player, colour-coded side panels and wheelarches and larger alloys. GX models have equipment similar to the three-door NV, plus an electric sunroof and CD player. Top-spec five-door is the VX with leather trim, a CD autochanger and colour-coded wheelarch extensions.

The high vantage point will suit drivers of most sizes and shapes and it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. The dashboard is well laid out and all the buttons and switches look good, fall easily to hand and are simple to use. Good all-round visibility helps with parking and motorway overtaking.

The front seats are well profiled for good all-round support, but the three-door is very cramped in the rear and only suitable for two passengers. Five-door is better and is good for two adults or three children.

Old RAV4 was a paragon of reliability and the new one should be no different. It's been on sale for a while and owners report very few problems indeed.

Models that command the best money are the 1.8-litre NV three-door (it's ideal for town-only driving), 2.0-litre VX five-door (generous specification and good performance) and the 2.0 D-4D (although there are few outside the Toyota dealer network).

Friday, December 7, 2007

2007 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid Review

2007 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid

The GS 450 Hybrid is an environmentally friendly luxury sedan that also delivers exceptional performance, attractive styling and a wealth of technological comfort and safety features. However, headroom can be tight for taller riders and the hybrid powertrain adds a substantial amount to the cost. If you're in the market for a large luxury sedan, you should also consider the class-leading BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes E-Class sedans, and if you are looking for a hybrid, take a look at our list of available Hybrid Vehicles.

The 2007 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid fuses eco-friendly power and fuel economy with luxury sports sedan performance and lots of technology. Edmunds credits the GS 450 Hybrid for taking "an important step forward in the use of hybrid technology to achieve a new level of driving pleasure." The Lexus was awarded IntelliChoice "Best in Class" winner for both Lowest Fuel Costs and for Lowest Operating Costs. Forbes calls the GS 450 Hybrid "a luxury sedan with an environmental heart that powers through turns and breaks new ground at the same time."

On balance, most test drivers admire the 2007 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid for its smooth, powerful acceleration both from a stop and during highway passing, noting that the technology in the car is impressive from almost every angle. Automobile Magazine calls the GS 450 Hybrid "a technological tour de force." Auto writers from Car and Driver compliment the Hybrid's "uptown interior, user-friendly secondary controls," and delivery on the "performance-hybrid promise." "It delivers a big dose of performance, it's quiet, it's as comfortable as you would expect of a Lexus and it has all the environmentally friendly qualities for which people buy hybrids," says Kelley Blue Book, adding that "if you want the quality, luxury and prestige of a Lexus, and you want to be in front of the crowd in performance, technology and environmental awareness, the GS 450h is for you."

The Lexus adds luxury and performance in its hybrid pricing, which auto writers generally find somewhat expensive. However, BusinessWeek notes that "one of the other ways in which the GS 450h differs from most hybrids is that its sticker price is not exponentially larger than that of the fuel-injected base model," adding that " Lexus has been very clever about the way the car is priced. The GS 450h not only comes with the hybrid power plant at that price but includes a lot of gear that costs extra on the GS 430." In fact, some reviewers note that the luxury and performance found in the GS 450 Hybrid makes it a viable alternative to the V8-equipped Lexus GS 430. MSN concludes that "if you can handle the price, the new Lexus hybrid offers the best blend of GS power, performance, luxury and environmental efficiency." IntelliChoice gives the GS 450 Hybrid a value rating of "excellent" for its predicted five-year cost of ownership compared to other vehicles in its class.

Auto reviewers agree, the Lexus GS 450 Hybrid is not solely about fuel efficiency, it also delivers impressive performance and luxury, comparable to other sport and luxury sedans. "Driving the GS 450h is a joy," cites Forbes.

The 2007 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid exterior is attractive and striking. Similar in body to its sister model, the non-hybrid 2007 Lexus GS, the GS 450 Hybrid has a few notable differences. Kelley Blue Book reports that the 2007 Lexus GS Hybrid "has a smooth and sleek shape, with an arching roofline, high belt line and long hood." Continue with Full Exterior Review.

Reviewers generally agree, the GS 450 Hybrid interior is almost flawlessly designed, with comfort, tech features and attention to detail. Although the seating is noted as comfortable for four to five adults, many test drivers conclude that for taller occupants, the headroom in the front seat may be an issue, and that the back seat can be somewhat tight and restrictive.

The GS 450 Hybrid is regarded by auto writers as a safe luxury sedan, protecting drivers and passengers with a long list of advanced and sophisticated safety-enhancing systems. The Detroit News calls the Lexus "world-class" with safety features and CNET also notes its "impressive lineup of advanced safety systems.

We are still compiling data for the predicted reliability of the 2007 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid. Lexus also offers warranty coverage on all of its cars, including a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty. Continue with Full Reliability Review.
Source: usnews

2007 Lexus GS 350 Review

2007 Lexus GS 350

Lexus redesigned its GS sport sedan for 2006. For 2007, it gains a bigger 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 303 horsepower and necessitates a name change. The newly dubbed GS 350 also gets new high-friction brake pads to accompany its bigger engine.

All-wheel drive is available for the GS 350. Hydraulic controls in the system vary the front/rear torque split from 30/70 to 50/50 and provide what Lexus calls the performance advantages of rear-wheel drive with the confident traction of all-wheel drive. The related V-8-powered GS 430 sedan comes only with rear-wheel drive.

An option group includes adaptive laser cruise control and a pre-collision system that helps determine if a crash is imminent and takes appropriate steps if it is. Other options include Intuitive Park Assist and adaptive headlights that swivel in accord with the front wheels.

Lexus says the sedan has a futuristic look, though the vertical grille and four independent headlights are reminiscent of its predecessor. Featuring uncluttered sheet metal, the GS 350 has a long hood, a very short rear deck and wide tapered C-pillars that flow back to the rear of the car. For 2007, Lexus adds Starfire Pearl, Obsidian, Black Sapphire, Smoky Granite Mica and Verdigris Mica paint options.

Long side glass and a steep back window enhance the GS 350's performance image. The sedan is 190 inches long and 71.7 inches wide with a 112.2-inch wheelbase. Aluminum wheels hold 17-inch tires. Options include a moonroof and a power rear sunshade.

As with many other Lexus models, the GS 350 gets an updated optional navigation system for 2007 with Bluetooth, voice activation and a rearview camera. A 7-inch dashboard screen works with the navigation system and also serves as a monitor for the Intuitive Park Assist system. A 10-speaker sound system is standard, and a Mark Levinson surround-sound system with 14 speakers is optional. Trunk space totals 12.7 cubic feet.

Five occupants fit inside the GS 350, which features leather-trimmed seats. Heated front seats are standard, and fan ventilation is an option. Premium wood and both polished and leather accents round out the upscale cabin. A Smart Access keyless entry system includes new push-to-start ignition, and the new gauge cluster features aluminum faces. A variable transparency lens reduces glare on the gauges on sunny days. A power tilt/telescoping steering wheel is installed. Hidden panels to the left of the steering wheel hold infrequently used controls.

The 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 303 hp at 6,400 rpm and 274 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The six-speed automatic transmission includes Power, Normal and Snow modes.

Front knee airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags are standard. Lexus' optional pre-collision system incorporates active braking, which can trigger the brakes automatically under certain conditions.
Source: cars

BMW X5 Short Review


In 1999 BMW introduced a "sport activity vehicle" X5 that promised to change the perception of the SUV. The X5 had set new standards in ride and handling. It’s a luxury SUV that is as pleasant to drive as a luxury sedan; it is more enjoyable for highway use than the typical SUV but still maintains its capabilities for light off-road use. The BMW X5 is definitely an all-weather vehicle rather than an all-terrain vehicle - ground clearance is limited and there is no low-range transfer case. When the X5 first went on sale, only a 4.4-liter V8 engine and five-speed automatic transmission were offered. A 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, with five-speed manual shift standard and automatic optional, became available in spring 2000. A high-performance, 340-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 went into the 4.6is edition introduced for 2002. A 6-speed manual transmission and an increase in horsepower from 290 hp to 315 hp on the 4.4-liter V8 were added in ‘04.

BMW X5 Strengths
Rides and drives like a sedan, sharp steering, multiple drivetrain choices, top safety scores, cabin fit and finish is of a high-end.

BMW X5 Weaknesses
Not much cargo space, lousy fuel economy, expensive optional packages.

Find BMW X5 Wheels at
Site: carcasher

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dodge Challenger SRT8 Review

Dodge Challenger SRT8
Dodge announced pricing today for the modern interpretation of the American muscle coupe. The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will arrive in showrooms next spring at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $37,995 (which includes $675 destination).Due to unprecedented demand, Dodge dealers will begin taking orders on Dec. 3 for the limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 models.

Each will feature a numbered dash plaque and a 6.1-liter HEMI® V-8 engine. 2008 Challenger SRT8 models will be available in Black, Silver and HEMI Orange. All will feature dual “carbon-fiber” hood stripes, harkening back to the original Dodge Challenger.

“The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 offers pure American pony-car muscle,” said James Press, Vice Chairman & President – Chrysler LLC. “With styling that stays true to Challenger’s original heritage, an abundance of modern amenities and cutting-edge technology, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will deliver the SRT credo of benchmark performance at a tremendous value.

“The Challenger SRT8 is only the beginning of the story, as we’ll soon follow with a complete lineup of Challenger models that will offer a wide array of features and deliver outstanding value for our customers,” Press added.

Customers may begin placing orders at their Dodge dealer on Monday, Dec. 3. They can expect to take delivery of their vehicle next spring.

The all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will be built at the Chrysler Canada Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario, on the same assembly line with the Dodge Charger, Charger SRT8, Magnum, Magnum SRT8, Chrysler 300 and Chrysler 300 SRT8 vehicles.

Pricing for the complete all-new Dodge Challenger lineup will be announced at a later date.

SRT performance vehicles – including the Dodge Viper SRT10, Dodge Caliber SRT4, Dodge Magnum SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8, Chrysler 300C SRT8, Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT8, and now, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 – are engineered by Chrysler’s in-house performance organization: Street and Racing Technology.

The all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 showcases the renowned, five key aspects of every SRT vehicle: exterior styling that resonates with the brand image; race-inspired interiors; world-class ride and handling characteristics across a broad range; benchmark braking; and standout powertrain. The all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will unquestionably deliver in all five areas.

With a U.S. market share of 6.4 percent, Dodge is Chrysler LLC’s best-selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2006, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market. In the highly competitive truck market, Dodge has a 15 percent market share.

Recently, Dodge introduced the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan with 35 new or improved features including the newest innovation, the Swivel ‘n Go seating system. Dodge is entering key European volume segments with Nitro, Caliber and Avenger. The all-new 2009 Dodge Journey will debut in 2008 calendar year, and will be available outside North America in both left- and right-hand drive in mid-2008. Also in 2008, Dodge will introduce its modern muscle car the all-new Dodge Challenger.

Brabus SLR Roadster

Brabus SLR Roadster

Is it possible to make a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster even more exclusive and individual? BRABUS proves that the topless Mercedes supercar can be made even sportier and more exciting with its sophisticated customization program.

To give the two-seater even more striking looks while at the same time minimizing lift on the front axle, the BRABUS designers have developed a front spoiler that attaches to the production bumper. The spoiler is made from exposed carbon fiber and its shape was fine-tuned in the wind tunnel. It is especially lightweight and extremely tough. A corresponding BRABUS rear diffuser made from exposed carbon fiber can replace its production counterpart.

The sporty BRABUS outfit for the SLR Roadster is dominated by BRABUS Monoblock VI 20-inch wheels that fill the wheel houses perfectly. The fully polished multi-piece wheels feature six double spokes and are mounted on the sports car in size 9.5Jx20 in front and size 11.5Jx20 on the rear axle. High-performance tires in sizes 255/30 ZR 20 and 305/25 ZR 20 are supplied by BRABUS technology partners Pirelli and YOKOMAMA. This low-profile tire/wheel combination is custom-tailored for the SLR coupe and roadster and benefits not only the car’s appearance but also its handling.

Thus equipped the topless SLR is ready for some additional power provided by BRABUS engine tuning. The power tuning for the supercharged 5.5-liter (335.5 cu. in.) engine consists of special camshafts, a fuel cooling system and a high-performance exhaust. With BRABUS tuning, power output of the V8 compressor engine increases by 24 hp (23 hp SAE net) / 18 kW to 650 hp (641 hp SAE net) / 478 kW at 6,500 rpm.

BRABUS also offers a special clutch-type limited-slip differential with a locking rate of 40 percent. It further optimizes traction and improves acceleration performance of the super sports car. The tuned roadster sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 337 km/h (209 mph).

Precision handwork down to the last detail characterizes the exclusive BRABUS interior design for the two-seater. The company-own upholstery shop specializes in fulfilling just about any request from discriminating SLR owners when it comes to customizing the interior. That includes a multitude of leather types and colors as well as custom upholstery designs.

An unusual BRABUS specialty is the waffle-patterned leather carpeting in the SLR’s footwells. Some 7,800 meters (25,600 feet) of the finest thread are sewn with utmost precision for it alone.

A sporty and functional BRABUS option is the ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel that is flattened on the bottom for markedly easier entering and exiting of the vehicle. The steering wheel features integrated buttons for manual shifting of the SLR’s automatic transmission.

Sporty BRABUS carbon-fiber applications for dashboard, center console and door trim transfer the racing look of the BRABUS body components into the interior. The exposed carbon-fiber trim can be color-coordinated with the leather color of the interior.
Source: brabus

2007 BMW X5 Road Test

2007 BMW X5

Deeper sculpting, increased dimensions and compelling power define the 2007 BMW X5 4.8i; a redesigned interior, which now includes a third row seat, is also new this year. The improvements and extended handling capabilities keep the X5 among the top of the heap when it comes to premium SUV capability and performance.

Like a weightlifter showing off bigger biceps and better-defined abs, the new X5 projects a more athletic, aggressive appearance than before. It's a look very much consistent with BMW's latest sedan styling, which is eye-catching to say the least. The daring lines do a good job of concealing the vehicle's extra 188mm of length.

Settling into the driver's arena brings with it the sedan experience as well. Seats are fabulously supportive and materials within reach speak of quality and richness. The beautifully honed, electronic shift knob feels like a precision instrument contoured to perfectly match every palm draped around it.

Although BMW continues to apply its i-Drive technology to its premium rides, the controls most often adjusted, such as HVAC are also found amid the buttons and dials on the instrument panel and centre stack. It's still however necessary to bump your way through multiple i-drive screens to add a little bad-boy-bass to your boogie.

Popping up the third row seat also requires manipulation of the second row. Once this bit of second row tug and pull is complete, the split-bench third row can be sprung into place, but be warned this is not a suitable perch for large adults or extended tours of duty. Pretty much every other seat in the house is.

Last year's meeker 4.4-litre V8 is no longer available in the X5. If you want a V8, it'll displace 4.8-litres while dispatching 350 horsepower @ 6,300-rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque @ 3,400-rpm. That's sufficient power to hustle the X5 very enthusiastically thanks in part to its six-speed automatic soul mate. Thrust off-the-line is seat sucking while passing ability is confidence inspiring.

I was impressed with the compliance of the X5's sophisticated suspension setup. BMW did a lot of on-track tuning, and it's quite evident when the mid-size SUV is pushed hard into turns. Despite this luxo cruiser's ability to effectively absorb roadway bumps and bruises, it retains composure far better than most similarly sized rigs when aggressively cornered; all without subjecting the kidneys to inhumane punishment- and that's a bit of automotive magic.

Steering response is sharp, precise and instantly reactive. Plenty of feedback accompanies a twist of the wheel, and that's commendable for this class of vehicle. Keeping both hands on the thickly padded, leather-wrapped wheel was a challenge. My right hand preferred to wrap itself around the gearshift lever, with my mind preferring to shift the X5's autobox manually.

This is perhaps the best manual-mode to be found in an SUV. An electronic program quickly spins-up revs to match the selected gear when downshifting. Doing so creates some of the heartiest V8 tones in any SUV. Unlike most manufacturers, BMW got it right; upshifts occur when the lever is pulled rearward while downshifts require a forward push. To me, this pattern is far more intuitive for folks accustomed to a manual gearbox than the opposite pattern.

The X5 4.8i is an automotive amalgam of sorts. It adeptly distills the attributes of a premium-level sports sedan with those of a competent off-roader to create an SUV that can inspire drivers on the tarmac and off. Unfortunately, it's an expensive distillation- something like that of fine single malt.

Find BMW X5 Wheels at
Source: auto123

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