Archive for February, 2012

Volvo’s 2012 S60 perfects safety test of NHTSA

According to the latest report of the NHTSA or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2012 MY of the Volvo S60 is the second vehicle to garner perfect scores to each of their crash testing evaluation.

The S60 received 5 stars for the protection of its driver and its front passenger for the frontal crash at 35 mph test, protection of its driver and its rear passenger for the side impact test at 38.5 mph, and protection of the driver during the side impact test at 20 mph which simulates a slide to a tree or a pole.

The NHTSA has tested 73 cars released as 2012 models and so far about 21 of these vehicles have earned an overall grade of 5 stars for safety but aside from the Camaro of Chevrolet, only the Volvo S60 has perfected the ratings for each of the sub-section.

The safety standards of the NHTSA has been more stringent after a lot of 2011 model cars aced their standards. The crash tests of the NHSTA serves as a complementary test to the evaluations done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which tests similar but not entirely the same crash scenarios.

Some newly posted scores on the NHTSA website tag the Hyundai Sta Fe and the Jeep Liberty with a low score of 3 of 5 stars. The compact SUV from Hyundai did not do well on the side impact protection for the rear passenger. The Jeep Liberty was got a ding for the side and frontal impact tests.

So far only six of the 73 tested 2012 MY vehicles have garnered three stars but four of these vehicles are scheduled for a redesign or for axing from their respective lineups. Most cars were given 4 stars like the Honda Fit and the Subaru Outback.

Check out the videos below to have an idea how these tests go:

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BMW set to introduce diesel models for M-division lineup

BMW is set to roll out a new line up of diesel models built for performance for their M-division this year. This M-division vehicles are set to make their debut during the motor show in Geneva this March.

First in the pipeline is the X5 M50d 4-wheel drive and the X6 M50d which are set to arrive this June. The rear drive versions of the M550d saloon and the Touring M550d which are designed for the UK and other markets using the right hand drive setup will be released by October.

The four vehicles is a first for the M-Division of BMW with all of them running on the newly engineered 6-cylinder 3.0L that runs on diesel. The new engine has an induction system with triple turbo which according to BMW insiders will set the new bar for performance and efficiency for the combustion engines in petrol or diesel formats.

The new vehicles will be the basis for the range of M Performance models. These line up will be marketed in between the top of the line standard BMW models and the M models based on their dynamic ability, performance, equipment and pricing. Like the M550d saloon, for example, will be placed between the M5 and the 550i.

The new diesel engine developed for the range of M Performance vehicles outguns the in-line six 3.0L twin turbo engine that is already widely used. It can output 376 bhp while revving 4000 thru 4400 rpm and a torque of 5545 pound feet while revving at 2000 thru 3000 rpm.

These numbers show that the new engine is 74 bhp more powerful and 103 lb feet more potent than the existing 3.0L six twin turbo, and when fitted to BMW’s 740d it gives out 126 bhp and a torque of 182 lb ft which on standards for diesel engines are very good numbers.

Although the M5 4.4L V8 petrol engine is 176 bhp more powerful, the M550d has 44 pound feet more torque.

The new engine for the M Performance units are coupled with the improved version of the automatic gearbox with eight speeds. This set up brings the M550d xDrive from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 4.7 seconds which is just 0.3 second slower than the M5. The saloon has a fuel mileage pegged at 44.8 miles per gallon for a combined cycle and a 165 g/km of carbon dioxide.

The M Performance units will receive subtle changes in styling so they can be distinguished from their M-car and standard BMW siblings.