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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.
Crossovers are all about fuel efficiency and family functionality. They blend attributes of cars with traits of traditional SUVs to create vehicles that are neither fish nor fowl; they’re the undecided voter of the automotive world, essentially the state of Ohio. Is it going red? Will it be blue? One thing’s certain; it’ll never go to the Green Party.
Once upon a time the automotive market was radically different. Just a few decades ago things were much simpler for consumers than they are today. Unless they’re shopping for a new Tesla, buyers face a borderline-absurd number of choices when they walk into a typical dealer showroom. This is why we’re here. Ask AutoGuide’s expertly trained, nationally certified Oracles are ready, willing and usually able to help new-car shoppers in distress. Think of them as caped crusaders fighting for what’s right… as long as they don’t have to get up from their desks or change out of their Velcro Hush Puppies.
With the official reveal its new X4 Concept, BMW is previewing of a more affordable version of the X6.
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.
The EPA posted that owners of the 2013 X3 xDrive28i can expect as much as 21/28 mpg city/highway, and 24 mpg combined. Given the X3 xDrive28i’s 241-hp, those aren’t bad numbers. It’s even better when you remember the outgoing six-cylinder X3 which got 19-mpg city, 25-mpg highway, and a combined 21-mpg rating.
The turbocharged six-cylinder xDrive35i will see similar figures however, with 19-mpg city, 26-mpg highway, 21-mpg combined.
For now, those numbers net the X3 xDrive28i the most efficient, all-wheel drive luxury crossover – that isn’t a hybrid. That might change when Mercedes-Benz announced fuel consumption figures for the 2013 GLK, which we saw last week at the New York Auto Show.
The 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i with a 2.0L, four-cylinder turbocharged engine will hit US showrooms this April with an MSRP of $37,995 including a $895 destination and handling charge. The MSRP is the same as the outgoing 2012 xDrive28i with a six-cylinder.
The new turbocharged four-cylinder is replacing the 3.0L straight-six with 240-hp. The smaller 2.0L delivers the same 240-hp with a peak torque of 260 lb-ft and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The German automaker hasn’t released final EPA estimates for its fuel economy, but based on the EU test cycle we should be able to expect around 31-mpg from the X3 xDrive28i.
The new motor isn’t the only thing BMW has added to the X3. An Auto Start Stop system, Driving Dynamics Control with ECO PRO, and a power tailgate to the standard equipment to both the xDrive28i and xDrive35i models. The xDrive35i will be priced at $43,595 including destination and handling.
Lastly, the xDrive28i will also get 18-inch wheels and chrome exhaust tips as standard.
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.
With the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto just around the corner, the finalists for Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year (the winners of which will be announced during the opening ceremonies of the show on February 16) have been announced.
For the car category, the three finalists are the Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Optima (shown above), while in the utility category, they are the BMW X3, Dodge Journey and Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel.
Each of these vehicles won their respective categories during the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s annual Test Fest, which takes place each Fall in Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This time out, some 170 vehicles in 11 different categories were evaluated by 70 auto journalists from across Canada, with the CCOTY finalists selected following four days of back-to-back testing on the street, test track and off-road course.
Besides car and utility of the year, AJAC also awards another category at the CIAS, Best New Design. For that one, this year’s three finalists are the Hyundai Veloster, Jaguar XKR-S and Range Rover Evoque.
The Evoque was up against some stiff competition this year. Other contenders up for the award included BMW X3, Dodge Durango, Dodge Journey, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, MINI Countryman, Saab 9-4x and Volkswagen Touareg.
According to Motor Trend, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque passed each of its six criteria for the distinction (Advancement In Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance Of Intended Function) with flying colors.
Based on the Land Rover LR2, the Evoque is an evolutionary leap over its predecessor, says Motor Trend. Even though it shares a platform with the LR2, the Evoque performs considerably better in every way. “The Evoque is meant to appeal to the buyer who ranks style, content, and fuel efficiency above approach and departure angles,” says Motor Trend.
Just a few of Evoque’s perks that wowed the judges included its Terrain Response handling and AWD system, its stylish design, roomy cargo area, emission reduction, improved fuel economy and impressive value (it has a price tag of $43,995 – not too shabby when you see all the great features it comes with).
Discuss this story at RREvoqueForum.com
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.
The Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) has just released its latest crash test results of 10 2011 models, and nine vehicles take top spots by earning five star ratings.
Coming out on top are the Audi A6, the BMW X3, the Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando, the Citroën DS5, the Hyundai i40, the Opel Ampera, the VW Golf Cabriolet and Jetta. Coming in with four stars is the Kia Picanto, which does not come with standard Electronic Stability Control.
In the plug-in and electric category, the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera earned top marks, and for child occupant protection, the Hyundai i40 and VW Jetta and Golf Cabriolet scored 86 percent. The Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando came out with good whiplash and adult occupant protection scores.
However, the Opel Ampera, Audi A6 and Citroën DS5 just met Euro NCAP’s 2011 pedestrian requirements for a five star rating. More stringent five star requirements will be put into place in 2012.
For can view all the test result scores on Euro NCAP’s website.
Electric turbochargers are the snake oil of automotive technology. Often times, these contraptions (seen above), which resemble something sold at a boat shop, are peddled on Ebay with dubious claims regarding horsepower and fuel economy gains.
But a report out of Britain suggests that BMW‘s upcoming X3M will be powered by a new tri-turbo straight-six engine, using two conventional turbos and an “electric turbocharger”. In the spirit of wild conjecture that permeates all automotive news, no further information was given about this technology, which would be revolutionary should it actually exist.
In any case, we do believe that the odds of an X3M are high, in light of Audi’s plans for an RS-tuned Q5, and the German luxo-brand’s endless drive to fill every possible niche.
BMW has regularly attended the RETTmobil show and this year is no different with the German automaker planning to showcase a variety of custom vehicles at the annual emergency services expo.
This year, BMW will be highlighting an iDrive integration system, allowing a 5-Series Touring model to have its lights and sirens controlled directly by the same system BMW owners use to operate everything from the navigation to the radio. In addition, the 5-Series Touring will feature a uniquely-designed floor extension that allows emergency responders to access their equipment.
Joining the 5-Series Touring model will be BMW’s X1, X3 and 3-Series Touring all of which will be sporting the traditional Notarzt graphic scheme seen on German emergency response vehicles. See them all in the gallery below.
GALLERY: BMW RETTmobil 2011 Emergency Vehicles
With the extreme popularity of the BMW X1 crossover within Europe, sales in the United States have been delayed until the end of 2012. The X1 was formally launched in Europe in November 2009 and was initially planned to launch in the US earlier this year.
The delay has been caused by the Leipzig plant, which can barely keep up with European orders. Jim O’Donnell, CEO of BMW exlplained that the X1 “was always going to be a niche vehicle” in the United States with expected sales of less than 5,000 units.
The X3 appears to be appealing to American buyers due to its increased size, selling 5,710 cars in the first quarter alone, compared to just over 6,000 for the whole of 2010. X3 sales peaked at 34,000 in 2004, and O’Donnell expects sales of 25,000 for this year. “It is very hot–and hot all over the world,” O’Donnell said. “My only risk is they may divert units to China and Germany.”
BMW is offering the X1 in several different four cylinder engines in both gas and diesel options. The gas engines include the xDrive28i (245hp) and sDrive18i (150hp). The diesel engine comes in four different configurations: sDrive18d, xDrive18d, sDrive20d and xDrive20d. The most powerful diesel engine will have 177hp. The X1 will be offered in either a 6 speed manual transmission or an eight speed automatic transmission.
Purists may scoff at the 4-door MINI Countryman and its betrayal of “brand values”, but BMW’s bean counters are laughing all the way to the bank as the company credits the newest MINI with helping profits surge 15-fold in 2010. BMW’s net income was recorded at 3.23 billion euros in 2010, up from 210 million euros in 2009.
BMW also credited increased demand for the 5-Series, particularly in China, as well as the new X1 crossover. The launch of the re-designed X3 and 6-Series should help BMW deliver a record 1.5 million vehicles in 2011.
Each spring, a jury of 66 automotive journalists from around the globe get together to pick a winner for the World Car of the Year title. The journalists are asked to vote by secret ballot, selecting the winner from 10 cars that have made the final cut.
For the 2011 awards, those finalists have now been announced. They are: Audi A1, Audi A8, BMW 5-Series, BMW X3, Jaguar XJ, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (shown above), Nissan LEAF, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo S60/V60.
And yes, the much hyped Chevrolet Volt didn’t make the cut this time around, perhaps next year when it becomes more widely available.
Now that the finalists for this year’s awards have been announced, the jurors will ‘re-evaluate’ each vehicle on merit, value, safety, emotional appeal, significance and environmental impact. Once the findings of these evaluations have been tabulated, the shortlist will be whittled down to three vehicles, which will be announced at the Geneva Auto Show next month. The actual World Car of Year winner, will be announced at the New York International Auto Show on April 21st; the final ballots being tabulated by international accounting firm KPMG.
The World Car Awards were first instigated in 2003 to reflect a more global automotive landscape and complement existing national and regional Car of the Year award programs.
Past WCOTY winners have generally been cars that have proved popular in many countries around the world. The first car to actually win the accolade, back in 2005, was the Audi A6, while past winners have included other top selling cars such as the BMW 3-Series; Mazda 2 and Volkswagen Golf.
BMW has always been known for their trademark inline-6 engines, but the recent industry-wide trend of downsizing has led to BMW adopting turbocharged four-cylinder engines as an alternative to smaller, naturally aspirated I6 engines in the name of efficiency.
First to get the turbo-4 treatment is the X1 small crossover, although Jim O’Donnell, head of BMW USA, said that more are on their way. Likely candidates for this engine are the 3-Series and Z4, whose rivals, like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, SLK and Audi A4 and A5 already offer a turbo 4-cylinder as the base engine. The X3 could also be a candidate, as Audi’s Q5 shares the same 2.0T engine and doesn’t seem to fare any worse than its 6-cylinder siblings.
Expect an announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. With the X1 hitting 60 mph in about 6 seconds while returning a smidge under 30 mpg on the European highway cycle, we’re pretty optimistic that these new BMW four-bangers will be just fine.
First up will be a slightly tweaked version of the current 1-series coupe and convertible, which is getting a face-lift. The recently announced 1-series M Coupe will also be present at the show, which will surely get the enthusiasts pulse racing.
But this won’t be the only new M-edition car on the stand, as BMW will also be showing a version of its new X3, with an M-sport package. (An X3 M model, rumored to be in the future product lineup, is illustrated above).
Unfortunately it won’t be packing any extra grunt, but it will have a sportier appearance, thanks to revised bumpers and sills, and it will also be wearing 20-inch alloy wheels. Since it is just an appearance package, it will be available with any engine option and considering the X3 xDrive35i already makes 300-hp, it’s not exactly a slouch.
In addition, the all-new 6-Series Convertible will officially be revealed with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 400-hp and will send power to its rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Check back January 10th for complete coverage of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.
While custom ordering a car is popular in Europe, American buyers tend to purchase their cars from dealer inventory. BMW is looking to reverse that trend with their 2011 X3, and will be heavily promoting their build-to-order program when the vehicle launches later this year.
The build-to-order program allows customers to order the exact options, color schemes and trim levels they desire. Custom built cars are also highly profitable due to the large volume of options ordered. But Americans don’t like to wait for their car to be built, which can often take weeks, and prefer to buy a car and drive it home the same day.
BMW is hoping to entice customers with exclusive options and colors for the made-to-order program. The company will also allow customers to watch their car being assembled via webcam.
[Source: Auto Observer]