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BMW M3 CRT

The BMW F80 M3 is set to debut later this year and that’s good news for everyone. For those looking for a return to an inline 6 configuration with the added bonus of turbos, as well as those who weren’t quite able to afford BMW’s current E90/2 models. The current crop of M3s are sure to hold their value on the used market (for a time), but the chance at secondhand ownership becomes a very real possibility in the next couple of years.

Reports from the Detroit Auto Show are also saying that BMW plans to sell more special edition variants of the M3 in the US over the next couple of years. Based on the success of the Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series, BMW are keen to enter the enthusiast market more heavily.

Any car guy would jump at the chance to own an enthusiast model. As a Subaru owner, I’d kill for the chance at buying an Impreza Spec C or S model from Japan. Everyone is already familiar with the E92 M3 GTS, a car featured heavily in the media as the “ultimate” of the current M3s, but another version exists in the form of an E90 sedan.

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The E90 M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) touts less of a track oriented driving experience and rather aims to be the ultimate M3 for the road. Armed with 4 doors and a full interior, it’s quite a different package than its GTS sibling.

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Cosmetically the car remains pretty much the same with the addition of a carbon front lip and trunk spoiler. Hits of red on the exterior trim help to distance the car’s looks from the standard model.

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A set of matte black mesh wheels and upgraded brakes add to the car’s more aggressive performance.

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The CRT is equipped with the same 450 HP, 4.4L V8 as the GTS coupe.

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One of the CRT’s biggest advantages over the GTS is the inclusion of a full interior. For some it’s not necessarily a game changer, but the lack of a roll cage and the ability to fit an additional 4 passengers means that you could use this car everyday.

Despite the bigger engine and brakes, the CRT manages to be 100 pounds lighter than the standard E90 M3. Unfortunately like most special enthusiast models, the CRT is limited to 67 units. While the chances of ever owning one is slim to none, it gives us all a glimpse of what may be available to the North American market in the future. Things are looking pretty bright.

Photos courtesy of BMW.

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BMW M4 Concept

Apparently this isn’t the new BMW M4. Whatever it is, it looks pretty good.

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I still don’t care for the way the headlights are linked to the grills by those chrome pieces on the 3-Series. However, it seems BMW’s designers have done a better job streamlining the styling for the “M4 Concept”.

I imagine the actual production model will look similar to this concept. I guess we’ll all find out at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Dear Santa…

Audi RS 6 Avant/Standaufnahme

I love estates. Why Americans haven’t embraced them with open arms remains one of life’s great mysteries. The idea of being able to haul 6 months worth of Costco goods, while hammering the pavement at Ferrari-like speeds is extremely appealing.

Audi RS 6 Avant/Standaufnahme

The Audi RS6 Avant is a thing of beauty. Where BMW continues down their road of love-hate styling (think new 3 Series grill), Audi’s been churning out attractive, contemporary designs that allude their the performance intentions.

The Avant’s 560 horsepower 4L V8 twin-turbo is enough to get even the most seasoned estate haters to take notice.

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Despite the power, the Avant allegedly gets 25 mpg. Even if it doesn’t, do you really care?

Please Audi, give us a break. Send them over and I guarantee you people will buy them! Americans are more sophisticated than we used to be!

The Avant is set to debut next March at the Geneva Motor Show.

Photos courtesy of Audi.

Red Death

I don’t think there’s anyone in the states building cleaner BMW’s than IND. Everything they touch seems to turn to gold, or in this case red.

This E90 M3 is just about perfect from head to toe. They’ve even managed to make TE37 SL’s look good on a car for a change.

IND has a blog called IND-Style. It’s all things BMW and features their latest builds and some beautiful photography. It’s one of the blogs that I frequent.

Photos courtesy of IND-Distribution.

Cars & Coffee

It seems only fitting that any automotive blog based in Southern California, do an obligatory Cars & Coffee post. This is by no means an in depth coverage; Mike Garrett and Albert Roxas already have that covered. These are just some cars that stood out for me, on my last visit in June.

Cars & Coffee gets started right around the crack of dawn. Getting up on time is never easy. It’s a struggle and you just have to deal with it. Once you’re there, the sleep deprivation subsides and the sights, sounds and smells take over. Waking up early was definitely worth it.

You’re always going to see something different at Cars & Coffee. It’s a great opportunity to check out all the cars in detail. This was my first time seeing the Ferrari 599 GTO in person. It’s quite a big car, more than I expected. The Tipo F140C is the most power production V12 Ferrari has ever produced. It’s very subdued compared to the polished velocity stacks on Ferraris of old.

A Ford GT40 in pristine condition. It could’ve rolled right off the showroom floor.

One thing you can be sure of at Cars & Coffee, there’s going to be Porsches. Next to Corvettes, I’d say there are more Porsches than any other make of car. I really liked the cream white and black combination on the 911 above. Does anyone know which version of the 911 this is? I’m pretty sure it’s a 2.7 from 1976, I could be wrong though. I’m terrible with 911 models.

The 550 Spyder is a thing of beauty. It’s easily one of the most gorgeous cars Porsche has ever produced. It’s also the car that James Dean fatally crashed in.

This particular 550 was completely spotless. Like the Ford GT40, it could’ve come straight from the dealership.

In stark contrast to the Porsches was this Frankenstein van by Slims Fabrication.

This is what I hate most. The popularity of Cars & Coffee has acted as a double-edged sword. The meet has definitely gotten bigger and better, but it’s brought in a bunch of wannabes. This dude needs to put his car in the parking garage like everyone else. I have a WRX too and you don’t see my shit on display. Subarus don’t belong at Cars & Coffee. Save your Rotas for the In-N-Out meets.

A Mosler MT900S, for sale no less. This car had a swarm of people around it all morning.

The owner was a great guy though. He was taking the time to talk to everyone about his car. That’s one of the other awesome things about Cars & Coffee, the opportunity to talk with the owners. It’s a very social atmosphere. Everyone is excited to share their passion for cars and it’s a very casual setting to do so.

Nearly every car at the meet owes something to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.

I’ll end things with this Porsche 997 on Work Meisters. It always turns up at Cars & Coffee and I always have to take a minute to stop and admire. I believe it’s a Carrera with an OEM trunk spoiler, but I could be wrong. There’s a lot of money invested in this car, something that becomes apparent upon closer inspection.

There have certainly been better turnouts, but you can be sure there will always be something cool to see at Cars & Coffee.

VRS X AMG

As if the looks of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG weren’t aggressive enough already, VRS has 3  new aero options for the car.

VRS is the European styling division of Varis and they’ve already gotten their name out with original parts for a range of BMW models. At last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, VRS debuted their C63 AMG demo car complete with an original front lip, trunk spoiler and rear diffuser skirt.

As with anything made by Varis you can expect the upmost attention to detail and near perfect fitment. The VRS front lip looks right at home on the C63 AMG, so much so it could be mistaken as OEM by some.

The rear diffuser skirt and trunk lip add a nice touch of carbon to the exterior.

Mercedes-Benz have definitely be giving their AMG division more attention lately and I’m beginning to see more and more on the road. The C63 still isn’t nearly as common as the M3, but it’s nice to see Japanese manufacturers creating new parts for the car. The VRS C63 AMG will be at Fuji Speedway along with the Sunbeam M3 for Euro Club Sport Meeting on January 22.

Photos courtesy of Varis.

964

Most of the cars you’ll find in Hong Kong are big money. Everytime I visit I come across some of the coolest Porsches. In the same parking lot as the Fiat Abarth, I saw this jewel.

The picture seriously doesn’t do the car justice. Had I been armed with the right camera, I would’ve taken more. This has got to be one of the most pristine 964 Turbos I’ve ever seen. It was in immaculate condition and looked as though it had just rolled off the showroom floor. I always wonder who owns these cars. In Hong Kong it’s usually some rich businessman that’s driving the car purely for the badge. People there seem crazy about names and badges. I see so many cars with upgraded badges like “AMG” and “M” that don’t even deserve them. I guess I’m a culprit myself with some undeserving “STi” badges on my WRX. It would be hard for me to own a fast car if I lived in Hong Kong because there aren’t the roads or speed limits that would allow you to really enjoy it. Still, it’s nice to see.

Black Series

I spotted a bit of a unicorn the other day. After grabbing some lunch in Tustin, I came across one of my favorite cars.

This is the first time I’ve ever had the chance to see the Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series in person. This is a car I’ve drooled over for a very long time. I’d easily trade up an M3 for the chance to own one someday. It is in many ways a DTM car for the streets. The Black is also equipped with the same epic V8 engine, found in Mercedes’ other AMG models.

I must say, the Black Series is incredibly discrete in person. I had to do a double take to realize it wasn’t any normal CLK. Once you begin to examine the car’s features though, it becomes quite a different animal. The wheel arches are the Black’s most defining feature and are a direct homage to the car’s racing roots. Unfortunately, I was armed with only an iPhone for pictures so this is the best I could do. They don’t do the car justice, it really is a glorious machine.