And yes, the first thing that came to mind upon viewing the photos of the CrossTour was that the new Honda appears to be surprisingly close in philosophy (but far apart in price) to the BMW 5-Series GT. Hopefully next time the Japanese carmaker decides to take an "adventurous" lesson from the Bavarian firm it will be for something more in the likes of the M3 or M5...
Although the sales program is opening for American dealers, according to Autonews, so far no one has enrolled from the States for the college's first year. The price for each four-week course has been set at 45,000 YEN or about $470 US with the current exchange rates with food and lodging being provided by local distributors in the dealer's home country
Via: AN (Sub. Req.)
It is also said, but not verified, that Hamann Motorsport's Phantom package also includes an engine kit that boosts the 6.75-liter V12's output from 460HP to 535HP and maximum torque from 720Nm to 835Nm (615-lbs/ft). Along with the removal of the speed limiter, it is claimed that both Phantoms reach a top speed of 300km/h or 187 mph.
Unique exterior features include the black finish on the openings on the engine compartment lid and the exterior mirror caps while the BMW kidney grille, the side gills and the dual tailpipes on the exhaust system come in dark eloxy-plated chrome.
The M3 Edition Models rides on 19-inch forged M light-alloy rims in double-spoke design that are available either in black or in the classic rim color. Furthermore, on the Alpine White, Black and Monte Carlo Blue models, BMW offers the same rims in a special white contrasting color with polished spokes.
BMW has also upped the M3 Coupe's interior. All models come with black leather seats feature contrasting seams (white on the Alpine White and Black models, yellow on the Dakar Yellow and blue on the Monte Carlo Blue) as well as vertical trim stripes on the upper section of the backrest and at the front of the legrest.
Same goes for the leather/ plastic trim on the center armrest, the center console and the armrests on the door panels. The entry trim bars in Checkered Flag Design bearing the "M3" model designation round up the interior upgrades.
The special edition M3 Coupe models also come with a sportier suspension set up that lowers the entire body by 10 millimeters or 0.4-inches. Other than that, there are no other mechanical changes with the M3 Edition Models holding on to the 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 420HP with power being transferred to the rear wheels either through the standard six-speed manual gearbox or via the optional M double-clutch seven-speed gearbox. As a reminder, the manual version goes from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.8 seconds while the twin-clutch gearbox model in 4.6 seconds.
According to General Motors, the introduction of the small car will boost the company's percentage of U.S.-built cars and trucks sold in the States from about 67 percent today, to beyond 70 percent by 2013.
"Small cars represent one of the fastest growing segments in both the U.S. and around the world," said Fritz Henderson, General Motors President and CEO. "We believe this car will be a winner with our current and future customers in the U.S."
"I would like to personally thank the UAW for agreeing to work with us to ensure our overall manufacturing competitiveness in the United States. It takes a special effort by everyone to bring a domestically produced small car to market in a cost-competitive and profitable way - but that is what we are going to do together," Henderson added.
The range-topping 3.0-liter V6 OM 642 diesel engine has been revised for 2009 producing a slightly higher (190HP at 3,800 rpm) output and a ten percent increase in maximum torque (440Nm at 1400-2400 rpm).
Both the four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines are offered with a new ECO Gear six-speed manual transmission with a low first gear and high sixth gear. The transmission is available in two versions, namely the ECO Gear 360 for the four-cylinder engines and the heavy-duty ECO Gear 480 with wider gear teeth and a more rigid housing for the six-cylinder diesel engine.
Other improvements for the 2009MY Sprinter include the enhanced ESP trailer stabilisation system, the new adaptive brake light, heated wide-angle mirror, lower position of the front foglamps and automatic transmission with Start-Off Assist plus a new wireless hands-free system and radio units.
In Germany, the special edition version of the Golf-based Touran minivan is available with two petrol (102HP and 140HP) and two diesel engines (105HP and 140HP) as well as an EcoFuel variant that can run on natural gas producing 150HP. Prices start from €25,925 which comes to around $36,000 with the current exchange rates.
"The search for a partner for Opel which has been initiated by General Motors, and which has involved the German government due to the request for financial assistance, has been a complicated and uneven process," said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of Fiat S.p.A.
"We have been involved in these activities for a number of weeks now, and have tried to follow in a responsible manner the requests made by the various parties involved in the selection process. The issues that emerged from the last round of negotiations on Tuesday and Wednesday have left us perplexed, since we had not been advised until then of certain key financial factors and data which we consider to be essential to the formulation of a proper merger offer."
"Given the nature of the process itself and its short duration, Fiat has been unable to have full access to the financial records of Opel to determine its precise financial condition and thus properly frame a merger proposal that would be fair to General Motors as the seller and to Fiat S.p.A."
"The last round of requests which would require Fiat, among other things, to fund Opel on an emergency basis while the German government determines the exact timing and conditions of the interim financing, would expose Fiat to unnecessary and unwarranted risks."
"It is in fact unreasonable to expect, on the basis of prudent business judgment and proper governance of its affairs, that Fiat would provide funds to an organization whose financial details and position remain unknown to date. The brevity of time between the request and the date that the commitment must be made is such that proper due diligence cannot be performed."
"We remain committed to finding ways to bridge the expectations of both General Motors and the German government," continued Sergio Marchionne, "but the emergency nature of the situation cannot put Fiat in a position to take on extravagant risks. We have already offered to contribute our auto business assets to the merger on a debt-free basis and thus provide substantial, and absolutely necessary equity to the merger, but also the related cash-flow stream which will help stabilize the performance of the combined entities during the integration and restructuring process. More cannot be asked."
The Crossman, which is larger than the Clubman, will be first production MINI to measure more than 4 meters in length. Expect its exterior dimensions to be similar to the concept measuring around 4,050mm (159.5-in.) in length, 1,830mm (72.0-in.) in width and 1,598mm (62.9-in.) in height.
Even though this has not been officially confirmed, it is believed that the Crossman is loosely based on BMW's upcoming X1 SUV with the two crossovers sharing the same platform and plenty of technology including the Bavarian firm's all-wheel drive system dubbed 'xDrive'. From the photos it is evident that the Crossman features an increased ground clearance which should help bolster its (soft) off-road credentials.
From what we understand, MINI will offer the Crossman with a mix of new and currently available four-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines, the latter in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms.
Notably, it will be built the first MINI to be built outside the UK at Magna Steyr's factory in Austria as the British automaker's Cowley plant does not have sufficient capacity to handle production. The Crossman is expected to arrive in MINI showrooms sometime during the second half of 2010.