Tag: BMW

By on February 8, 2016

2016 BMW X1 Exterior-008

When is a BMW not a BMW? Some would say: when it has four wheels. Others will say: when it’s front wheel drive. But here we are. BMW’s smallest crossover has ditched its BMW 3-Series roots for underpinnings shared with the Mini Countryman.

Say what?

Americans may be surprised to hear that the X1 is not BMW’s first front driver. Neither is it the last BMW with a transverse engine. Our European friends will soon be seeing the 2 Series Gran Tourer — a small 7-seat … minivan. Yes, a BMW minivan. What’s that sound, you ask? Minds blowing.

For purists, the notion of a trio of transverse-engined BMWs prowling around the countryside is an abomination; an affront to everything E46 M3 owners holds sacred.

For the rest of you? It’s no big deal. Seriously.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

20160124_175208 (Custom)

Who has two thumbs and loves the ’79 Eldorado? This guy. I’ve spent more time writing about it than I’ve spent writing about Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis … combined. What made the ’79 Eldorado great? Everything. It was styled with a crispness and strength of purpose never again seen on a Cadillac. It had a solid drivetrain as standard, although the optional engines and the later HT4100 tended to misbehave. The packaging was superb inside and out: trim yet spacious, small enough to be hassle-free in a parking lot but big enough to be recognizably Cadillac.

Most importantly, it was the last great coupe from a company that had a reputation for building brilliant luxury two-doors. (The CTS-V Coupe had pace but possessed neither space nor grace.) As a statement of personal wealth, taste, and maturity, no automobile truly satisfies like a full-sized luxury coo-pay. The man behind the wheel of an S-Class sedan or Cadillac XTS always risks being mistaken for a chauffeur, while the driver of a luxury SUV always risks being correctly identified as an imbecile. No, in order to convey the correct image to everyone from valets to unattached society ladies, it’s critical to drive a coupe.

Which leads me to this BMW 640i Convertible, rented by me this past weekend for the purpose of escaping Winter Catastrophe Jonas and relaxing in central Florida … but why am I talking about Eldorados in a review of what is intended to be a German sports coupe? And am I likely to quote Marcus Aurelius after the jump, seemingly to no purpose? You probably know the answer to both of these questions, dear reader.

(Read More…)

By on January 19, 2016

2016 Lexus IS 200t Exterior

Lexus has tended to prefer conservative design in almost every aspect of product development. Words like reliable and dependable usually spring to mind before sporty or exciting.

Yet, the brand has been trying to change that over the last few years with love-it-or-hate-it designs; in particular, Lexus’ new “Predator mouth.” The changes aren’t simply skin deep. The current-generation IS sedan also stepped outside the luxury brand’s comfort zone with sharp handling and a focus on dynamics. Of course, this is Lexus we’re talking about, so this change in a more aggressive direction is happening at, you guessed it, a conservative pace.

Now in its third year of production, the third-generation IS isn’t getting a refresh like we’d typically see in from ze Germans. Instead, Lexus has decided to focus its attention under the hood with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a de-tuned V-6 for mid-level shoppers.

Can a refreshed drivetrain help the IS stand out in a crowded segment? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2016

2016_VW_Passat_Exterior_Grille

Investors say Volkswagen should have told the world they were cheating earlier because then they could have bought more Apple stock.

That, Mercedes-Benz prices new E-Class in Europe, BMW’s bigger i3 battery and Jeep soars in Europe … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on January 10, 2016

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Limousine (W 213) 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Cl

When you consider the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will spawn nearly a baker’s dozen variants in its time — coupes, performance models, wagons (please?) — the donor sedan can end up less thrilling than white bread. The remedy for this, like anything else in life, is to put a screen on it.

Fussy child? Screen. Long flight? Screen. Mid-size luxury sedan? You guessed it.

In addition to sporting the much hyped configurable screen setup from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will sport two fewer cylinders (to start) and a longer list of semi-autonomous driving features that won’t be available in the U.S. to start.

(Read More…)

By on January 6, 2016

2016 BMW i8 Hybrid Exterior Front

“Looks like sex, goes like stink” is the usual supercar mantra, but BMW’s guru was humming a different tune when penning the i8.

You see, the i8 isn’t just a sexy car with “butterfly doors.” It’s also a production prototype of sorts styled after BMW’s 2009 Vision EfficientDynamics concept.

Most supercars have exotic engines with high cylinder counts and drink premium gasoline at an alarming rate. BMW’s mission with the i8 was to make an efficient supercar and at the same time production-test technologies that will trickle down to its higher volume cars over time.

The i8’s efficiency is the key to understanding this sexy German. The i8 isn’t the best handling supercar, or even the best handling BMW. Neither is it the fastest BMW, the most luxurious BMW, or (oddly enough) the most efficient BMW. Instead, the i8 delivers M235i like lateral grip, M4 like acceleration, fuel economy that bests the 320i by a few miles per gallon and lines so sexy I got a thumbs up from a passing F430.

This isn’t your average sports car.

(Read More…)

By on January 2, 2016

2015BMWX6M-2

Speaking to Automotive News, BMW of North American CEO Ludwig Willisch said the company expects that nearly half of their 2016 sales will be of crossovers for 2016 — and it’ll only go up from there.

“In the first nine months (of 2015), across the board, we had too few X1, X3 and X5s,” he said.

For this year, BMW expects that 40 percent of its sales will be crossovers, up from 34 percent last year.

“In a couple of years when we have the X7, it will be even higher,” he added. BMW’s crossover lineup consists of the X1, X3, X4, X5, X6 and soon-to-arrive X2 and X7. Are there any numbers BMW can invent between 1 and 8?

(Read More…)

By on January 1, 2016

Crapwagon Collage

A new year has arrived, and with it the “celebration” of eight months with The Truth About Cars. As is custom, I’m looking back over the most popular pieces of the last year for easy clicks on a hangover day.

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

BMW Gesture Control

BMW’s latest and greatest infotainment system doesn’t need knobs, man. The automaker announced Monday that it would show off its concept for infotainment next month, dubbed “AirTouch.”

The system, which improves upon the one-finger wagging, waving and gesticulating already in its new 7-Series sedan, would use sensors between the dash and rearview mirror to interpret what your five fingers were looking for.

Was that a phone call that you wanted to make? Did you want the BMW to switch to radio? Activate navigation to direct you home? Oh, you were just waving at that guy. Gotcha.

(Read More…)

By on December 22, 2015

Volkswagen Logo/Typeface with old/new VWs

Volkswagen’s simple, effective and direct slogan “Das Auto” ist kaput after about a decade of ruining our logic and grammar.

That, and BMW gets spanked by NHTSA, drive like it’s 2008 and more … after the break. (Read More…)

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