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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Next month, BMW will unveil its updated lineup of law enforcement vehicles at the General Police Equipment Exhibition & Conference (GPEC) in Leipzig, Germany, but to hold us over, the German automaker has released photos of its 2013 BMW 7-Series High Security along with its updated X3 and 5-Series models.
2,846 BMW vehicles are being recalled for a possible fire risk. Affected models include 2011 5-Series, 5-Series Gran Turismo, 2012 6-Series Convertible, 7-Series, X5, and X6.
No injuries have been reported due to the recall, which is being caused by a circuit board for the auxiliary water pump that can overheat and cause a fire. The German automaker will begin notifying affected owners and dealerships will replace the water pump for free. Owners of the above mentioned BMW models can call BMW at (800) 525-7417 for more details.
BMW will continue their tradition of providing patrol cars to the Munich police force thanks to a new contract that will contribute several hundred vehicles a year to the force.
The German automaker provided cruisers for the past 50 years and will continue to do so with its new 2012 3-Series and 5-Series sedans and wagons. They will also be adding the X3 crossover to the fleet for the first time. The updated police cars will come equipped with a customized iDrive system to control the sirens and lighting.
“I am glad that in the coming years, new BMW models will work for the police in Bavaria’s roads. As a longtime partner of the Bavarian police, we are proud that our expertise has convinced authorities and we continue to make our contribution to security in Bavaria, “said Alexander Thorwirth, head of sales to public authorities, operational and security vehicles.
BMW has announced the pricing for its new ActiveHybrid 5, and fuel efficiency will come at a cost, with a starting MSRP of $61,845, which includes a $895 destination and handling fee.
That price tag puts the ActiveHybrid 5 at $9,435 more expensive than the standard 535i, but with it you’ll get “not just highly sporty performance but also a double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy over the BMW 535i.” The ActiveHybrid 5 couples BMW’s 3.0L turbocharged, inline-six engine that has 300-hp and 300 lb-ft of torque with an electric drive system packing 54-hp and 155 lb-ft of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combined output is 335-hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.
The ActiveHybrid 5 is able to be driven on electric power alone up to 37-mph and for a distance of 2.5-miles. What is impressive however is that the sedan can sprint to 60-mph in 5.7-seconds, which is just 0.1-seconds slower than the 535i. BMW hasn’t release EPA fuel economy estimates for the US model yet.
The ActiveHybrid 5 is the third in the line of hybrid models from the German automaker and features a new generation of BMW ActiveHybrid technology. It’s the debut for the combination of the six-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor. The ActiveHybrid 5 will go on sale in America starting in March 2012.
GALLERY: BMW ActiveHybrid 5
A dizzying line of taillights that goes on for miles is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Pressure mounts in your temples and your skull feels like it’s going to crack. Welcome to the traffic jam migraine.
Don’t worry though, the commuter’s burden will eventually be a thing of the past. If there’s one thing luxury cars are good at doing, it’s showing us technology we can expect in econo-boxes years down the road. One of the latest features found at the forefront of cool luxury tech could stand to silence screams from angry drivers stuck in traffic: autonomous driving.
BMW is showcasing a video on YouTube that gives details on their highly-automated driving mode, which essentially drives the car for you.
Nico Kaempchen, the project manager behind the technology, explains that the car will fully take over driving under certain circumstances, but that the driver remains in control at all times. During that period, the car takes advantage of four different sensor systems to stay on track: radar, cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonics.
It’s not as simple as gluing a few sensors onto a 5-Series and hitting the road. Kaempchen tells us in the video that they need to map each road out that the car drove itself on down to the very inch (or centimeter as he says it).
BMW isn’t the only manufacturer to play with the idea of a car that drives itself. On January 24 we published a story about Volvo testing similar technology in what they call a road-train. Of course for Volvo to be involved it had to do with more than convenience. Their iteration involves a self-piloted convoy that can interact with independent traffic with the goal of making the road safer.
BMW ends their video by saying that the research they conducted will go towards improving already existent systems like their Traffic Jam Assistant. We’re not sure how far to look into the future for mass production, but rest assured when it’s here we’ll have a different outlook on traffic jams. You can watch the video below.
BMWs in certain markets may be getting a “Made In China” code in their VIN numbers starting at the end of 2011, as the company plans to export Chinese made 5-Series sedans to certain markets.
The Truth About Cars quotes the CEO of BMW’s Chinese operations as stating “We will find some markets, maybe in the Middle East, somewhere in Asia, or some other markets that welcome the products where we can test this export effort. The main market of course is here (in China), because we can’t even supply enough here.”
The 5-Series is built in China as part of a joint venture with Brilliance. TTAC’s China expert Bertel Schmitt claims that the quality of cars built in Chinese/foreign joint ventures is no worse than vehicles built in Japan, America or any other country (and sometimes better). The 5-Series is a popular vehicle in China, with a long-wheelbase version regarded as a status symbol for wealthy Chinese who can afford a driver.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
12. Toyota Camry
While automakers and outside research firms publish sales figures and earnings reports on a regular basis, one metric we rarely get a glimpse of is how profitable each vehicle is. In an era of re-badging and platform sharing, one would think that the most profitable vehicles are those with a large number of derivatives to spread the cost around. But a new report from Bernstein Research suggests that two factors – price point and volume – are the keys to making big bucks off vehicles. And judging by the list, longevity seems to help as well.
Number 12 on the list is the Toyota Camry, and for good reason. The Camry has a number of factors in its favor – massive volumes, an accessible price point and its made in America (currency fluctuations, particularly a rise in the euro or yen, can make exports unprofitable). Bernstein’s report notes that high volume cars at a medium price point are one of the keys to profitability, and the Camry might be the textbook definition of this formula. The Camry’s twin, the Lexus ES350, was absent from the list, but no doubt earns its keep, as a gilded version of the Camry.
The BMW 5-Series ActiveHybrid will make its debut at this December’s Tokyo Auto Show, featuring BMW’s familiar twin-turbo I6 engine and an electric motor that will produce a total output of 340 horsepower. Backed by an 8-speed automatic, the car will be able to operate in pure electric mode up to 37 mph.
The ActiveHybrid’s 55 horsepower electric motor will be powered by a trunk mounted lithium-ion battery pack, and also allow the driver to coast with the gasoline engine shut off. A boost function will also enable rapid acceleration, though BMW did not elaborate on its exact nature. An energy management system is said to work in concert with the car’s GPS unit to adjust for road conditions.
BMW also markets hybrid versions of the 7-series and X6. A 3-Series Hybrid will bow in 2012, while the i3 and i8 electric cars will debut in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
BMW held a dealer presentation in the Netherlands and a leak has rumors stirring that the upcoming M550d will officially come with 381-hp and 516 lb-ft of torque from its tri-turbo, inline-six diesel powerplant.
Even though the horsepower figure comes in lower than the early speculations of over 500-hp, the torque is pretty impressive. It also appears that the M550d will be AWD only with production beginning next March. It is not yet known if this F10-generation M550d will make its way to North America, but we could be seeing the tri-turbo diesel in other BMW models including the X5 and X6.
BMW is recalling 32,000 vehicles in order to replace potentially faulty electric auxiliary water pumps. An issue can cause the water pumps to overheat, potentially causing a vehicle fire. Models impacted by the recall include 2008-2011 5-Series, 5-Series Gran Turismo, 7-Series, X5 and X6 equipped with either the eight- or 12-cylinder turbocharged engines.
Two engine compartment fires have already been reported with 102 cases of pump failures worldwide. No crashes or injuries have been reported due to the issues however. The pump in question is an auxiliary pump that helps cool the turbocharger and in case of failure can cause the circuit board to overheat. BMW said in cases that this does occur, a warning message will illuminate on the instrumental cluster.
The issue was first discovered in June of 2009 on a test vehicle and in April 2010, a smoldered electrical cable of the water pump was found on a BMW-owned vehicle. Owners impacted by the recall will be contacted next month with BMW replacing the faulty electric auxiliary water pump.
Toyo Tires has just announced their vehicle lineup for this year’s SEMA Show, bringing four high-profile and customized vehicles to their booth and announcing three of them today.
Headlining the debuts will be the Toyo Tires Ultimate Ride Sweepstakes 2011 Dodge Durango, which will also be given away to a lucky winner. Along with the Durango, Toyo will have a 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor, a 2011 BMW 5-Series customized by Wald, and a yet-to-be-announced vehicle at their booth.
The giveaway Durango is a Mineral Gray Metallic Heat Edition 4×4 features a set of Toyo Proxes ST II rubber matched with 22-inch Savini Forged SV28c wheels. The Durango is further modified with a Magnaflow exhaust system while Mega Motorsports outfits it with a custom Alpine Audio entertainment system. Roadwire further modifies the interior with black leather upholstery contrasted with blue stitching. Up front is a T-REX four-piece flat black mesh grill featuring a UFC logo. Those attending the show will have the opportunity to scan a QR code to automatically enter themselves into the giveaway.
Second on the list is a custom Ford F-150 Raptor done by Street Concepts. The exterior features a Snow Camo vehicle wrap with 20×9-inch matte black Fuel Boost wheels wrapped with Toyo’s Open Country M/T rubber. The F-150 will be show-ready at SEMA thanks to Icon Vehicle Dynamics’ suspension, Brembo brakes, new bumpers and lighting. On the inside, Street Concepts gave the interior a carbon fiber-wrapped interior accented by black Alcantara. Kenwood supplies the in-car audio on this truck project.
Last of the announced vehicles will be a complete Wald F10 Black Bison, a customized 2011 BMW 5-Series. The 5-Series will feature a full Wald Black Bison body kit with 20-inch Wald R12 two-piece wheels paired with Toyo Proxes T1 Sport UHP tires.
The fourth vehicle remains a secret but Toyo promises it’ll be a crowd-stopping show car. Autoguide.com will be sure to stop by Toyo’s booth at this year’s SEMA Show to see these masterpieces in person.
GALLERY: Toyo Tires 2011 SEMA Lineup
The results for the most successful cars of 2011 so far are in. Automotive data and marketing solutions company Polk has calculated the results from the first six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations and have come up with the top picks for non-premium and premium models.
These results look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well so far this year. It’s also important to note that the March Japanese earthquake/tsunamis have had an impact on these results, and the inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda caused by the disaster have impacted the June 2011 CYTD (Calendar Year To Date) retail results for these brands.
Here’s a list of the winners so far, along with the June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
1. Hyundai Sonata (+32%)
2. Volkswagen Jetta (+69%)
3. Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010)
4. Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%)
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%)
Other non-premium models that performed well in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
1. Cadillac CTS (+54%)
2. BMW 5-Series (+56%)
3. Jaguar XJ (+273%)
4. Porsche Cayenne (+178%)
5. BMW X3 (+276%)
An honorable mention goes out to the Volvo S60, another premium model that has performed well in 2011.
Now that we know the mid 1990s Honda Civic and Accord hold the top two spots amongst car thieves, what cars do thieves avoid most?
Well, aside from the BMW 5-Series, the common denominator on this list is that these cars are all pretty dull. Interestingly, midsize SUVs and German sedans are among what the Highway Loss Data Institute deems to be undesirable to car thieves. These vehicles are likely on the list because they have proper anti-theft mechanisms that go beyond a mere alarm system. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Aveo is a rolling anti-theft system in itself.
Here’s the Top 10 car that thieves dislike:
- Audi A6 all-wheel-drive, large luxury car
- Mercury Mariner (2009-10) small SUV
- Chevrolet Equinox (2010) midsize SUV
- Volkswagen CC (2009-10), midsize car
- Chevrolet Equinox four-wheel-drive (2010) midsize SUV
- Lexus RX 350 (2010) midsize luxury SUV
- Saturn Vue midsize SUV
- Chevrolet Aveo (2009-10) mini station wagon
- BMW 5 series all-wheel-drive large luxury car
- Mini Cooper Clubman 2-door car
[Source: USA Today]
The development of the Jaguar XF wagon is still a work in progress for the British automaker. Ford’s product planners did not include a wagon body style when the sedan was first designed and Jaguar engineers have had to develop the XF estate from square one, with the project has becoming considerably more expensive and complex.
Some insiders have suggested the XF wagon will be the same length as the sedan. The Jag will also share styling cues with the XJ, as the wraparound rear pillars will be present, giving the estate a cleaner looking back end compared to the X-type wagon. The British automaker is aiming for the vehicle to be as practical as the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5-series, with space comparable to the large Mercedes-Benz E-class estate.
The XF will most likely debut at the Geneva or Paris auto show in 2012. Unfortunately, the vehicle probably won’t arrive stateside since there is minimal demand for wagons.