Category Archives: europe

BMW Showcases 2018 X3, Introduces M40i Model

BMW has a good thing going with its hot selling X3 SAV. Based on the equally successful 3 Series sedan, the X3 has proven to be a strong draw for young families during its production run. BMW aims to keep it that way with the revamped 2018 BMW X3.

The exterior styling retains elements of the current design that many buyers have come to love, but slightly increases the overall proportions. In fact, thanks to tweaks made to the vehicle packaging, BMW engineers were able to stretch the wheelbase 2.2 inches which helps open up more room in the X3’s interior.

Despite the rather discreet suit of clothes, BMW didn’t want the sport portion of the X3’s purpose blurred, and has added several dynamic touches to keep that from happening. This includes sharper full LED headlights, as well as a muscular hood that draws eyes to the all new 3D front grille which is the first time it has made an appearance on a “X” model. Rounding out the changes are tweaked tail lights, as well as a pair of exhaust tips.

 

A key feature that is a relative rarity in the broader crossover segment is its perfect 50:50 weight distribution, which works with the chassis to help make the X3 more honed and agile than before. The bulk of X3 buyers will most likely not take their vehicles off road, but for just the occasion, BMW has equipped the SAV with a dynamic stability control system that can adjust the power split between all the wheels to ensure maximum traction on all surfaces.

 

The interior of the 2018 X3 carries on the exterior’s theme of familiarity, but it has a few new tricks that help it stay relevant to buyers. This includes an all new three zone climate control system as well as individually adjustable angle for the 40:20:20 split/folding rear seats. Occupants can also remotely fold the seats from the trunk to boost cargo capacity to 62.7 cubic feet.

The X3 will arrive globally with a host of engine choices, but buyers in the U.S. will only have two models to choose from at launch, the xDrive30i and the performance tinged M40i. The xDrive30i replaces the old xDrive28i, and is motivated by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine which makes 248 horsepower (a gain of 8) and 258 lb-ft of torque with all the power being channeled to all four wheels through an eight speed automatic transmission. It’s also capable of making the sprint to 60 mph in six seconds before topping out at 130 mph. However for buyers that crave even more horsepower, the M40i should be enough to satiate their needs. The first M labeled X3 ever produced, it gets its grunt from the bigger 3.0 liter inline six that produces 355 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque. An eight speed automatic also manages power, and launches the M40i to 60 mph in a brisk 4.6 seconds as well as a final top speed of 155 mph.

After the 2018 X3 makes its launch, the engine lineup will grow with the possible addition of a diesel model as well as an all electric version with the latter not arriving till 2020. As expected, the xLine design package is standard issue for all 2018 X3s, but buyers can opt for the “Luxury” package that brings several minor changes to the X3 including a shinier grille, revised interior upholstery, and two tone bumper trim finishers. An M Sport package brings up the rear, and offers a beefier look, as well as bigger 20-inch rims.

Like its predecessor, the 2018 X3 will be built in the United States at BMW’s Spartanburg facility where it will share the line with the X4, X5, X6, as well as the recently confirmed X7.

 

 

Mercedes-AMG Showcases Limited Edition GT3 Edition 50

Mercedes is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its AMG performance in bold fashion and has unveiled the limited edition of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer as part of the broader festivities.

Dubbed the AMG GT3 Edition 50, this special edition model is based off of the standard GT3 race car which was first introduced to the world two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show. Unlike that model however, the AMG GT3 50 features everla unique upgrades that aim to make it standout on the race track. For starters, the Edition 50 is bathed in a “real black” color which is actually a slick matte black finish. The appearance of this color is the first time that an AMG car has ever been equipped with this type of paint.

Each door features a “50 YEARS OF DRIVING” logo made out of carbon fiber, and even the seat belts get in on the act thanks to a stitched “AMG 50 YEARS OF DRIVING” emblem. Other than these minor tweaks, the bulk of the styling is largely unchanged which is a good thing given how sinister it already looks.

The performance hardware also carries over largely unchanged with the 6.2 liter “hand built” V8 still lurking under the hood. However, AMG engineers have slightly tweaked the exhaust system, and the Edition 50 sidelines the restrictor plates, which in turn increases power. While this may hinder its ability to be raced on some circuits, we are confident that the extra noise and velocity will be appreciated by both owners and racing fans.

As a bonus, each AMG GT3 Edition 50 will be delivered to buyers at AMG’s  headquarters in Affalterbach with buyers also having the opportunity to participate in a one on one racetrack coaching session to allow them to better wield their potent track weapons when thrashing them around the twists and turns of the world’s racing circuits. They will also be able to do so with impeccable timing thanks to the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” watch that will be provided by IWC Schaffhausen.

Buyers looking to add an Edition 50 GT3 to their paddock will have to contend with the biggest difference between it and the normal GT3, volume. Unlike the “standard” GT3, Mercedes will produce only five examples of the Edition 50 with each example arriving with its own distinct number plaque.

BMW 8 Series Concept Leaks Ahead of Debut

The BMW 8 Series Concept was not supposed to make its debut for another few hours, but thanks to a few leaked images, we get a compelling glimpse at whats in store for BMW’s flagship coupe.

While the quality of the images is not the sharpest, it does reveal that the posh coupe will adopt a relatively fresh design, with slender headlights and a bolder interpretation of the twin kidney grille accenting the front fascia. The bulging hood adds a hint of menance, with the lower front bumper featuring beefy cooling vents.

The side profile features a prominent crease, and the elegant roofline flows seamlessly into the lip of the rear mounted spoiler. The concept also eschews door handles, though we suspect those items will ultinately reappear in the production car for safety and cost reasons. Big wheel arches house large multi-spoke alloy wheels, and yellow brake calipers nicely contrast the blue body.

The rear fascia doubles down on its high tech theme, and features wide tailights that incorporate slick L-shaped graphics as well as a rear bumper that features prominent side vents, as well as trapazoid shaped exhaust tips.

Look for BMW to formally introduce the 8 Series Concept later today at the Concorso d’Eleganza Ville Este before launching the production version next year. Look for the interior to also make its debut later today, and showcase its high levels of opulence and technology.

Source: Autotijd.be

BMW Confirms Return Of 8 Series

Following on the heels of BMW’s quiet axing of the 6-Series coupe, the German car maker revealed that it is breathing new life into its long dormant 8-Series moniker in a bid to renew its push into the large luxury coupe market.

For those unfamiliar with the 8-Series, it originally appeared in 1989, and was designed to cater to big coupe buyers looking for a distinctive alternative to the 6-Series. However, its glitchy electronics, as well as the global recession in the 1990s, caused sales to plummet before it was mercifully pulled from the U.S. in 1997, and from Europe in 1999.

BMW accompanied this announcement with a lone teaser image that showcases a sleek side profile, as well as wide rear hips and a raked roofline. These traits are promising, especially since the 8-Series is expected to renew its focus on style and flair. Look for the new model to embrace plenty of cues from the Gran Lusso concept which made its apperance back in 2013, and wowed audiences with its stunning good looks.

BMW claims that the concept in the teaser image is a design study, but expect minimal changes when it makes the transistion to production, and arrive on dealer lots in 2018. A higher price tag will also be part of the package given its status as a flagship offering.

Look for the 7-Series to play a key role in the car’s devlopment, with much of its technology and even its V12 engine making the jump into the bigger 8-Series. The model could also spawn Gran Coupe and M8 versions, though plans for these models are mere rumors at this point.

With the confirmation of the 8- Series, the Mercedes S-Class coupe will have a new rival in its niche segment, and it could very well become a three way fight if seperate rumors of an Audi A9 are indeed true.

 

Alpine Won’t Sell A110 Coupe In U.S. Market

For eager enthusiasts that were interested in perhaps slaying the USA’s toughest driving road’s in Alpine’s resurrected A110 coupe, those dreams have been dashed, according to a new report that has emerged from the halls of the Geneva Motor Show.

In an interview conducted with the folks at LeftLane news, Alpine CEO Bernard Ollivier revealed that the stylish, and distinctively French alternative, to the Porsche Cayman will not be making the trek across the pond to our shores anytime soon.

“At the moment we are not planning on selling the A110 in the U.S. Relaunching the brand is a big project. Right now we’re focusing on markets like Europe and Japan” said Ollivier.

This is a disappointing decision, but it is understandable at the same time, especially due to Alpine’s relatively low awareness among U.S. customers. At one point, the brand nearly arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, but Renault’s collapsing foothold on the U.S. market as well as the chaos caused by the demise of AMC forced Alpine to shelve those plans.

Meanwhile in its home European market, demand for the quirky two door is very strong. This is buoyed by its potent 252 horsepower engine, as well as its sleek and lightweight aluminium body. The first wave of A110s to roll off the assembly line will be part of a limited edition series dubbed the “Premiere Edition.” Production of this series will be limited to 1,955 copies, and fans have already claimed a good chunk of the production run especially before the coupe even made its official debut at Geneva.

GM Announces Sale of Opel/Vauxhall To PSA

Confirming long suspected rumors and speculation that such a deal was indeed in the works, GM officially revealed that it has sold both Opel and its British cousin Vauxhall to PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) ahead of the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The €2.2 billion sale marks the end of an era for GM, with the automaker completly leaving the European market after a decades long presence. While both Vauxhall and Opel had considerable history in the British and German markets respectively, they also transformed into a colossal money pit for GM in recent years, with both brands not being able to make a profit in the last sixteen years.

This is despite the shuttering of Chevrolet’s European sales division two years ago, which was supposed to give new life to lagging Opel sales, but ultimately failed to achieve the turnaround GM wanted.

GM revealed that it will still be involved with Opel via its rights to purchase warrants of PSA shares, which could resolve some issues regarding the use of GM technologies in the current lineup of Opel/Vauxhall models.

As for PSA, the French auto giant believes that it can return Opel to profitability by 2020 thanks to slashes in research and development costs, as well as the sharing of platforms and technologies across their portfolio of brands.

PSA CEO Carlos Tavarres, the man who helped Peugeot and Citroen rise from the brink of collapse a few years ago, is confident that he could pull the same feat for struggling Opel and its British sibling Vauxhall.

“We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while still respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees.” stated Tavarres in an online statement.

The U.S. market will feel some of the ripple effect from this action, since many of Buick’s product offerings like the Cascada and Encore trace their roots to Opel based products. GM revealed that PSA will continue to honor existing supply agreements with Buick and Australia-based Holden, but it could throw a sizable monkey wrench into plans for their next gen replacements, especially those currently on the drawing board.

That said, the next generation Buick Regal could provide an opprotunity for PSA to expand its reach into the U.S. market where its main Peugeot and Citroen brands still have a poor reputation among buyers, versus the more favorable history associated with Buick.

Finally, the deal was preceded by several minor collaboration efforts that took place back in 2012 when GM bought a seven percent stake in PSA. Several Peugeot-Citroen models are already built by Opel and vice versa, with the upcoming Citroen C3 Picasso sharing its components with the Geneva bound Opel Crossland X.

Ford Unveils 2017 Fiesta ST

Ford’s pint sized track terror the Fiesta ST has proven to be a solid sales success thanks to its impressive levels of performance as well as its financially attractive pricing ladder. The Blue Oval aims to continue this successful path with the 2017 Ford Fiesta ST.

A key change is found under the hood of the newly updated hot hatch. Power and overall refinement are up, but the engine drops a cylinder in the process. You heard that correctly, this iteration of the ST is the first ST model to be powered by a three cylinder engine.

The engine also loses a bit of displacement versus the old 1.6 liter, but the 195 horsepower this turbocharged three banger produces is 17 more than the old engine which relied on temporary moments of overboost to achieve its 197 horsepower figure.

Ford claims that the new Fiesta ST will make the sprint to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds which is nearly identical to the outgoing engine. Trque is also the same, but peak torque arrives lower in the rev band than before which should help improve acceleration times slightly. Port and direct injection has been fitted to the engine in an effort to not only reduce C02 emissions, but also cut down on carbon buildup in the valves.

In addition to the new engine, buyers also get to choose from three distinct driving modes Normal, Sport, and Track. Normal mode is, as expected, the setting with full safety net system engaged with Sport and Track modes gradually removing them.

The exterior styling is all new, but the look is still distinctivly Ford, which is good since the company appears to not be trying to mess with a good thing with this redesign. Ford chose to only preview the 3-door version in its press images, but look for the 5-door version to once again be the sole choice for U.S. buyers.

Ford promises higher levels of customization and personalization features for Fiedta buyers with owners being able to customixe trim elements suvh as the gearshift lever, flat bottom steering wheel, and exterior door handles

Look for more information on pricing and other options to gradually roll out in the weeks leading to the ST’s debut in Geneva with more details emerging closer to the ST’s formal launch to dealers worldwide.

Smart To Go EV Only In U.S. Market

A new report from Daimler owned Smart reveals that the brand will stop selling a large slice of its current lineup in the U.S. and Canada, with only EV models making up the range after 2017.

This decision was shared to Smart dealers via a letter that was written by Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dieter Exler, and was not made public. Automotive News however, managed to obtain a copy of this letter which reveals.

“Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio,” he explained. “The smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero-emissions smart electric drive coupe and cabrio in the U.S. and Canada.”

Production of the U.S. spec fortwo will cease in April, but sales will continue until the present inventory runs out, which will give dealerships time to sell them to interested buyers. The first deliveries of the electric models will begin this summer, and expect the full rollout to be completed in early fall.

The announcement does not come as a suprise since the brand’s North American sales have been slowly dwindling over the past few years. According to Automotive News, the brand’s, peak sales year was in 2014, when it sold 10,453 cars. Since that time, sales have plummeted, with the brand only selling 6,211 units.

The first generation Smart car was a compelling idea when it first came out, and it managed to have strong success due to the spike in oil prices in 2008. However, with gas prices lower, and demand for SUVs and crossovers on the rise, many Americans were simply not interested in the pint sized two seater.

Smart’s decision to go EV only after 2017 applies to the U.S. and Canada. Buyers in other markets like Europe, will still have access to the current generation fortwo petrol model, which is powered by a Renault sourced three cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Maybach Showcases G650 Landaulet

Ever wondered what would happen if you took the superbly capable G-Wagen SUV, and infused it with the opulent luxury that the Maybach brand can only provide? Mercedes-Maybach has provided the result of this mad scientist-esque cocktail, the limited production G650 Landaulet.

G650 Landaulet

The Landaulet is a stretched version of the iconic G-Class, but stands out thanks to its soft top, as well as its foot high ground clearance. The G Wagen is already a uniquely awesome beast to drive on and off the road, but the highlight feature lies above the rear axle.

650 Landaulet

Normally, the G-Wagen’s rear seat accomodations are on the tight side, but the stretched wheelbase on the Landaulet allowed Maybach designers to create a cocoon like rear space with indvidual leather seats borrowed from the Maybach badged S-Class.

650 Landaulet

The seats can coddle occupants with a hot massage, or fully recline for passengers that like to stretch out and relax on long journeys. The center console features switches that allow passengers to raise or lower the glass partition, as well as operate the power top.

Performance for the Landaulet comes from the familiar 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine that makes 630 horsepower and 730 lb-ft of torque. All of this muscle is sent to all four wheels through an automatic transmission which promises to make this limo-esque vehicle a rocket at any speed.

650 Landaulet

Meanwhile, Unimog inspired portal axles help give 17-inches of ground clearance, and also amp up the G-Wagen’s already impressive off-road capabilities. Look for this to be a highlight with well heeled guests when trekking off the beaten path.

Mercedes-Maybach plans to only build 99 examples of the G650 Landaulet, and will ship the first units to dealerships this fall. Pricing as well as avalibility were not released, but look for a small batch of examples to already be spoken for ahead of its official debut.

Bentley Unveils 700 Horsepower Continental Supersports

Promising to deliver the most powerful Bentley model ever made, the British luxury car maker has formally unveiled the Continental Supersports ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Supersports is based off the Continental, and is seen by many in the industry as the Supersports 1anticipated sequel to the original Supersports which was introduced back in 2009.

For this iteration, the Supersports uses a twin-turbocharged 6.0 liter W12 engine that is good for 700 horsepower and 750 lb-ft of torque. This is 79 horsepower more than before, and torque is also up by 160 lb-ft which should please enthusiasts looking for more performance from their supercar purchase.

These potent figures also allow the Supersports to claw its way to 60 mph in a Supersports carbon fiber veneerscant 3.4 seconds and an equally brisk 209 mph top speed. The all new convertible variant performs the deed in 3.7 seconds, and maxes out at a slightly slower 205 mph.

Bentley engineers revised the suspension to improve handling, but without compromising the comfort associated with Bentley products. A torque vectoring system borrowed from the sold out Continental GT3-R was also fitted, and carbon ceramic brakes are standard all around.

The exterior styling is pure Continental, but a carbon fiber body kit broadcasts the Supersport’s performance intentions and includes a front splitter, rear diffuser, hood vents, and a trunk mounted rear spoiler.

The exterior tweaks also includes revised bumpers as well as dark tinged head and tailights. Rounding out the list of changes are black chrome accents, and elegantly bold 21-inch forged alloy wheels.

The interior gets spruced up with diamond-quilted leather upholstry, and buyers can chSupersports seatsoose from either wood or carbon fiber trim for the dashboard. Like all other Bentley’s, buyers can work with the company’s Mulliner division to extensively customize all aspects of the interior.

Bentley did not reveal pricing information for the Supersports, but did reveal that the new model will be arriving in Bentley showrooms during the next few weeks. Look for pricing to be unveiled then, with the Supersports most likely commanding a sizable premium over a standard GT Speed model.