The Good Oil: BMW changes the numbers

BMW 6 series coupe. Photo / Supplied
BMW 6 series coupe. Photo / Supplied

BMW traditionally launches its M3 as a coupe and follows later with the sedan. Not next year, however, when the new flyer surfaces. Word in Europe is that the M3 badge will appear only on the sedan.

The reason is, apparently, that BMW wants something on which to pin a 4-Series badge. So what has been the two-door M3 will now become the M4. BMW is said to be spinning the two-door version of the 3-Series off into a 4-Series - more closely mirroring the 5-Series sedan and its coupe/convertible counterpart, the 6-Series.

Depp's little red Corvette

Johnny Depp has finished work on the film version of the Hunter S. Thompson novel Rum Diary. Depp plays journalist Paul Kemp in 1950s Puerto Rico as he tries to survive alcohol, powerful figures and a beautiful woman. Many period vehicles appear in the film, including a Fiat 500 and a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette. Depp loved the Corvette so much he asked producer Graham King if he could buy it. King went one better: he gave Depp the keys and said "Keep it."

Blackout it's mega-Merc

The most extreme Mercedes-Benz road car ever - the SLS AMG Black Series - is on the way.

A prototype pictured testing in Germany shows all the signs of the Black Series family - including the blacked-out grille, flared bodywork and widened rear axle fitted with large cross-section tyres.

And it's not only in looks that this mega-Merc will rewrite the rule book. Under the vented and stretched bonnet will be the same 6.2-litre V8, but tuned to around 485kW - trailing only the 490kW V12 SL65 AMG Black Series, but putting the new 380kW C63 AMG Black Series firmly in its place. Throw into the mix carbon-fibre body panels, which will slash the weight, and performance should be extraordinary.

A 0-100km/h sprint in three seconds and a top speed of more than 325km/h is expected, putting this car firmly in Ferarri 599 GTO and Lamborghini Aventador territory. To cope with the huge forces at work, stiffened and lowered suspension and bigger carbon-ceramic brakes will be fitted as standard to ensure handling is up to scratch.

Expect to pay upwards of $600,000 for the ultimate SLS.

One, two, three - an exclusive Lotus

Lotus is building another special edition of the Evora S. Taking inspiration from the Lotus Formula One car, the Evora S GP Edition has the same black-and-gold livery, plus centre-locking gold alloys and a huge rear wing. The car - which is based on the 2011 Evora rather than the updated 2012 version - retains the same 255kW supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine. This delivers 0-100km/h in 4.8sec and a 285km/h top speed. Only three will be built - all for the British market.

Kwaka power

Kawasaki says its new ZX-14R motorcycle is the fastest-accelerating production bike in the world. It gets new electronics, a reworked 1441cc engine and restyled bodywork. It also gets traction control for the first time, as well as a throttle-by-wire system. The KTRC traction control system will offer three different settings, all selectable from the handlebar and viewable from the gauge cluster. There are also a few changes to the frame for a little more rigidity.

McQueen machine
Triumph is paying homage to the late movie star Steve McQueen with a special motorcycle, the Triumph Steve McQueen Edition.

The Bonneville T100 is inspired by the actor's own Trophy TR6 and wears a matte-green paint scheme with stencilled Triumph logos in black along the bike's tank. Both side covers are adorned with McQueen's signature, while a solo seat and blacked-out hardware wrap up the changes. Triumph plans to produce only 1100 examples of the McQueen Edition.

'Toyobaru' on show

The coupe being co-developed by Toyota and Subaru will almost certainly be unveiled at the Tokyo motor show. When it reaches the market, the "Toyobaru" will be sold under at least three different marques - as the Subaru BRZ, a Toyota and, in the United States, a Scion.

Word on the street has it that the Subaru will be the most powerful. Toyota has said its model will deliver around 150kW. Subaru says its version will pack "less than 300 horsepower", or upwards of 210kW. There are also reports of a convertible. Insiders say the chassis was engineered from the get-go to lose its roof and accommodate a droptop. Both carmakers have refused to comment.

- NZ Herald

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