Monthly Archives: November 2016
If you’re a fan of the current BMW X3, you’ll be happy to know that the same snappy performance, elegant interior, and reasonable pricing are packaged in an all-new next-generation 2018 BMW X3.
Spotted testing once again, the new X3 is likely to arrive in showrooms starting next year as a 2018 model. Aside from what we enjoy with the current model, the German automaker added other elements to make this the perfect crossover SUV. What does anyone want in an SUV? Power, aerodynamics and cargo space. All of these you can find in this next-gen X3.
1. More Interior Space
Crossover SUVs have suffered tremendously for its failure to offer adequate interior and cargo space like it’s bigger brother, the SUV. It’s understandable why since the crossover wasn’t made to rival the SUV. It was just made to be bigger than the sedan, but significantly smaller than the SUV. The focus was on ground clearance than interior space. But thanks to a more efficient engineering and the use of lightweight materials, the 2018 X3 is equipped with a larger interior.
That is thanks largely to the adoption of the CLAR modular platform that was first seen in the 2016 7-Series. The SUV version will be debuting in the X3, and will likely appear in the new X5 and X7 as well.
2. Diesel and Plug-in Hybrid Options Available
For those of you waiting for a battery-powered electric X3, this isn’t the year for that, unfortunately. Under the hood of this new X3, you’ll find almost the same engine as that of the latest 3-Series. This means that the crossover is offering BMW’s new B58 modular 3.0-liter inline-6 and inline-4 units, including diesel and plug-in hybrid options. The battery-powered electric X3 will arrive towards the end of the decade.
3. Performance Variants are Coming
There will be an X3 M40i and X3 M, the latter was apparently spied in prototype form. Its engine will be coming from the M3/M4 line which produces 425 horsepower. These performance variants will have an aggressive body form that is also wider than the current X3.
Hyundai i30 Wagon
The third generation of Hyundai’s resident hatchback is here, and boy, do we love its elegant and sporty interior coupled with the classic space wagon design on the outside. The Hyundai i30, as it is called in the rest of the world (it’s referred to as the Elantra GT in the US), is a four-door hatchback with an angular look on the outside and a cleaner and modern layout on the inside.
Wagons used to be a big thing in the US, but their appeal has already faded. That’s not to say the i30 Wagon won’t have any competition. This aggressive and funky exterior will be challenged by the likes of Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen and the BMW 3 Series Wagon.
Inside, you’ll find a slew of tech features such as a rearview camera, phone connectivity via Bluetooth, USB, Android Auto or Apple Car Play. Under the hood, the i3 will be equipped with the new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that can produce 138 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque.
It is expected that the i30 will have a starting price of $23,000, which is cheaper than the 3 Series Wagon and the Volvo V60, but a little more expensive than the Sportwagen.
Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen
Unlike the i30 Wagon, the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen will only receive its update for the 2018 model year. It was last upgraded in 2014, which means there is at least a three-year gap in terms of these two cars’ designs. In terms of styling, the Sportwagen definitely has a quieter appeal than the i30.
But if you are more concerned with the interior and the power, then you have to give this Sportwagen a second glance. The interior is equipped with a three-spoke steering wheel, Alcatara-wrapped center section, a center console with a large touchscreen, and HVAC controls,. Other features include the 12-way power driver’s seat, a panoramic moonroof, and Climatronic auto climate control.
Under the hood, the Sportwagen will receive power from the 1.8-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that coughs up 170 horsepower. There are two transmissions available: a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
The base price for the Golf Sportwagen is $21,395.
Let’s go straight to the point. Toyota outdid themselves with the new CH-R, their entry to the SUV crossover segment. It made its debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, where it wowed motor enthusiasts with the very aggressive styling, rich interiors, and a competitive drivetrain options.
The CH-R will remind you of the Hyundai Veloster because of the C-pillar-mounted door handles on the rear. These handles nearly intersect with the sloping roof, making for the sporty and aggressive design, which Toyota calls “distinctive diamond.” Up front, the CH-R looks a lot like the RAV4. But thanks to the unconventional design of the bumpers, grilles, fog lights, air scoops, and angular panels, the CH-R can easily be set apart.
The funkiness and slightly rugged look of the CH-R continues at the back and finished with 18-inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler that protrudes over the liftgate’s glass.
What you’ll find inside is a refined and polished design for a crossover. The dashboard is made of matte and gloss finish while bits of chrome can be traced in the overall layout of the interior. There’s the 7-inch infotainment screen, the HVAC controls, the leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel, and small driver information screen to complete the interior look.
Under the hood, the CH-R is a typical Toyota. Its power will come from a 2.0-liter natural aspirated four-cylinder that can produce 144 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. The oil pump must be given special recognition. It’s a coaxial two-port oil pump that allows for continuous oil pressure manipulation during different driving conditions.
Toyota packed the CH-R with a variety of safety features, which are normally available for higher-trim models but will not be standard to the crossover. The Toyota Safety Sense P includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection function, forward collision warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist function, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Then, of course, there’s the usual full suite of airbags, seatbelts, rear seat child restraint LATCH points, crumple zones, and a passenger safety cell.
There’s no pricing information yet for the CH-R, but prices are expected to be higher than the RAV4. It should start around $25,000.
There was a lot of disappointment when Renault pulled the plug on the production of the Clio RS16. Many already fell in love with the tiny sedan that it can be hard to forget it.
However, the French automaker surely wants to make amends with its fans by releasing an updated version of the Renault Twingo GT. The first Twingo, with rear-wheel drive and rear engine, came out a couple of years ago.
And although this isn’t a full-strength Renault sport car, it is a slightly hotter version of the Clio RS16, as well as the Smart ForFour Brabus.
Here are the key features of the Renault Twingo, based on Autocar:
Under the hood of the Twingo GT, you can find an uprated version of the turbocharged 898cc three-cylinder engine that can produce 108bhp and 125lb ft of torque. To make it more “powerful,” Renault added a revised air intake and new engine mapping. This allows the Twingo GT to give 19bhp and 25 lb ft more than the current one in the market.
The new gearbox ratios improved the Twingo GT’s ability to go 0 to 62 mph in just 9.6 seconds. It has a top speed of 113mph. Renault is boasting that the car’s response time is the best in its class, having the ability to go 5-75mph in less than 9 seconds.
Handling the Twingo GT is also better compared to the current most powerful model on the roads today. Renault Sport tinkered with Twingo’s chassis settings and variable-ratio steering. It now has a focus on improved agility. The new mapping for the ESP (electronic stability program) allows drivers to handle it better.
Overall, the Twingo GT’s design is similar to the TwinRun concept of 2013. It has a couple of exterior stripes, 17-inch alloy wheels, and twin-exit exhaust system. There are four available colors: Lunar Grey, Diamond Black, Crystal White and an orange that is unique to the model.
Other interesting features of the Twingo GT are: metal gearknob, aluminum pedals, and a RenaultSport-badged door sills.
The Compass has always been Jeep’s nominee to the compact crossover segment, challenging the likes of Honda CR-V (a beast in this segment) and the 2017 Ford Escape.
After having a bit of a design update in 2011, the second-generation of the Jeep Compass for the 2017 model year finally made its debut during the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The new design for this 2018 Jeep Compass brings to mind the likes of the Cherokee on the front end, the Renegade on the D-pillar, and the Cherokee again on the wheel arches. Certainly, the Compass’ second generation looks very much mature unlike the previous one. The biggest change on the front are the HID projector bim headlights, LED daytime running lights, and the lower-placed fog lights.
At the back, the new Compass has an “attractive rump” with clear-lens taillights, deeply scalloped tailgate, chrome-accent strips, and twin exhaust pipes on the Limited trim. According to Jeep, 65 percent of the Compass’ chassis is made of high-strength steel.
Inside, the Compass has a Cherokee-like interior design. The dashboard includes a 3.5-inch or 7-inch display screen, FCA’s 8.4-inch Uconnect system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual zone temperature settings, a USB port, Aux-input jack, and a 12-volt power outlet.
The seats are made of two-tone leather with red contrast stitching, although black leather is also available. The second row can seat two passengers, or three in a pinch.
Expect the new Compass to sell for around $21,000.
Below are the close rivals of the Jeep Compass, according to TopSpeed:
As the undisputed king of the compact crossover segment, the CR-V offers on-road comfort, great ground clearance, roomy interior, and an attractive exterior. For the 2017, the CR-V is longer, wider, and taller than other cars in the same segment. Pricing for the 2016 model is at $26,000 and it is unlikely Honda will change that for 2017.
2017 Ford Escape
For 2017, Ford gave the escape a more mature look without losing its functionality. It offers seating for five, and is available in AWD with three engine options—the base 2.5-liter four, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost, and the 2.0-liter EcoBoost. Prices for the 2017 Ford Escape start at $27,700.
The smallest sedan in the BMW lineup, called the 1-Series, has been unveiled during the 2016 Guangzhou Auto Show. The compact sedan was first shown in July.
Here are three things to know about this new sedan from the German auto brand:
1. BMW 1-Series will only be available in China.
During the show, BMW also confirmed that the 1-Series will only be available in China, where it is assembled by the joint partnership between BMW and Briliance, the Chinese automaker. This will go against the Acura ILX, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.
This sedan is based on the UKL platform, the BMW Group’s front-wheel-drive that is used on the X1 and the 2-Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer models. The latest models from Mini are also using the same platform.
2. BMW 1-Series has three powertrains.
During the launch of the BMW 1-Series, the German group also introduced three powertrains for the newest sedan. The base is the turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-3 in a 118i that produces 136 horsepower. Above this sits the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 in a 120i that can cough up 192 horsepower. At the top of this range is the turbocharged 2.0-liter option in a 125i that churns out 231 horsepower.
The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual while an 8-speed automatic is also available.
3. BMW 1-Series has a typical BMW interior.
Inside the 1-Series, you’ll find everything you could ever want in a BMW sedan. The controls are facing the driver and the dashboard has a layered design that stars an 8.8-inch screen for the infotainment system.
To control the system, the driver will have access to a rotary dial in the center console. Upward, there’s a panoramic sunroof. At the back, the rear seats can be folded to expand the cabin.
Other features include LED headlights, run-flat tires, and collision, lane departure and pedestrian warning systems.
The BMW 1-Series will be available to the Chinese market in the first half of 2017.
Aston Martin has given its Vanquish S a more extensive facelift for the 2017 model year. This was done during the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, where the Vanquish S was showed with notable updates on the outside, as well as a more powerful engine under the hood.
According to a report, the updates on the exterior make the Aston Martin Vanquish S stand out from the current model, which will bow out after this upgraded version. The most noticeable change is the new aerodynamic package that includes an exposed carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser. There’s also a new quad exhaust outlets, a new Vanquish “S” badge on the tailgate, carbon-fiber hood louvres, forged five-spoke “diamond-turned” wheels, and “striking painted graphics.” The paint job combines yellow stripes over green paint, red over white, and orange over blue.
In terms of designs, this is going to compete with the Bentley Continental GT Speed and the Ferrari F12berlinetta.
Aston Martin also upgraded the V-12 engine to produce 592 horsepower, the exact same output by the limited edition Vanquish Zagato. What Aston did here is to upgrade the Vanquish’s 5.9-liter engine to Zagato specs. It now has an extra 24 horsepower while the torque will remain at 465 pound-feet of torque.
This upgrade enables the Vanquish S to go 0 to 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds. Top speed, however, remained at 201 mph. Aston Martin also tweaked the 8-speed Touchtronic III transmission. It can now deliver faster gearshifts and greater refinement even at low speeds.
The new Vanquish S will be sold for £199,950 in the United Kingdom, €262,950 in Germany, and $294,950 in the United States. Deliveries of the car will begin this December.
Although launched in 2007, the Maserati Granturismo can still compete well with the Vanquish S. It gets its power from a 4.7-liter V-8 engine, with the most powerful version able to churn out 453 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. It can go from 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 188 mph.
It is not as fast as the Vanquish, but it can certainly challenge it when it comes to craftsmanship, luxury and options. The Granturismo is also more affordable at $150,570.
In 2014, BMW announced plans to make a full-size SUV, the platform of which we are now seeing based on these spy shots. There are no surprises with the design of the BMW X7 since there have been speculations already that it will be patterned after the German company’s next-generation X5.
Here are things you need to know about the X7 before trying to get your hands on it:
The BMW X7 will compete against full-size SUVs in the luxury arena. In this segment are the Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Land Rover Range Rover Long-Wheelbase, Lincoln Navigator and upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
There are no surprises when it comes to the design. The X7 looks like a stretched version of the next-generation X5, though the former is more muscular on the front section. Based on the spy shots, it’s easy to see that the grille and lights are all test units. They will be replaced once advanced prototypes have been tested and released.
For the X7, the platform that would be used is the German company’s flexible CLAR, a modular platform which made its debut on the 2016 7-Series and the 2017 5-Series. This platform will be soon used on all BMW models from 3-Series and up.
The CLAR platform promises lightweight construction and compatibility with electrified powertrains. Because of this, we can now assume that the X7 will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain, along with the regular V-8 and inline-6 options. A V-12 may also be offered, though expect this to only be available for the M760i M Performance trim.
The cabin of the BMW X7 will be similar to the 2016 7-Series, especially the cockpit design. It will have three rows of spacious seating, a driver-focused layout, and an advanced infotainment system with gesture control.
Production of the X7 will take place in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It will be introduced in 2018, so it will likely be a 2019 model.
Here are the latest photos of the camouflaged 2019 BMW X7 from Motor Authority:
Once again, Toyota released a special edition of its popular 86 model. And although it still didn’t turn the car into a full-blown performance car, it tinkered with enough technical and mechanical features to make the driving experience better for owners.
In many ways, it is similar to the 86 Yellow Limited and the 86 Style CB, though the Solar Orange Limited is still different in many aspects—the Creamsicle paint finish and the High Performance package, for example, are both exclusive to this edition.
1. It is Only Available in Japan
Sadly, much like Toyota’s other 86 limited editions, the 2017 Toyota 86 Solar Orange Limited will only be released in Japan, and will unlikely land on US shores. Not only does the Solar Orange paint job is making us frustrated in many ways, but this 86’s improved braking and sharper handling make the envy for Japanese cars shoot up to the roof.
2. It Sells for Less Than $30,000
Toyota has yet to announce how many of these 86 Solar Orange Limited they are planning to build. They said, though, that prices will start at 3,251,880 yen ($29,400) for the manual transmission model and 3,318,840 yen ($30,000) for the automatic transmission model. Those who want to place their orders only have from January 31 to March 10, 2017 to do so. After the order book has been closed, Toyota will stop production to ensure the exclusivity of the edition.
3. It is Compatible with the High Performance Package
Toyota is also releasing a High Performance package, which is compatible with standard 86 models. The package includes a new set of Brembo brakes with red calipers and new shocks from Sachs. These are then paired with the special set of 17-inch thin-spoked wheels found on the 86. For those who want the Solar Orange Limited with High Performance package, you need to shell out an addition of $2,200.
To say that the Mercedes-AMG GT has been a hit in the sports car segment seems to be an understatement. Since its release, various tuning kits have been made available for the performance vehicle, particularly by Brabus, Mansory and Wheelsandmore.
You can now add Luethen Motorsport on the list of your top tuning packages for the Mercedes-AMG GT. Here are the top five features of this Luethen Motorsport-tuned Mercedes-AMG GT:
Luethen Motorsport gave the Mercedes-AMG GT a carbon fiber aerodynamic kit that includes a new front spoiler lip with an integrated splitter and a few winglets. There’s also an adjustable rear wing, underbody diffuser, a set of side sills, and 20-inch Series-1 forged alloy wheels in Pilot Super Sport tires.
There are no interior upgrades from Luethen Motorsport, much like RevoZport and Dime Racing. Exceptions are Brabus and Mansory, the latter included carbon-fiber door sills, matte-anodised pedals and aluminum paddle shifters in their kits.
Luethen provided software modification on the Mercedes-AMG GT V-8 engine control unit. That tweaking led to an increased production of 612 horsepower and 576 pound-feet of torque—the same results from the likes of Brabus with its 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. By remapping the ECU, however, RevoZport managed to increase it to 650 horsepower, plus the addition of free-flow intake system and a new titanium exhaust.
There is no info yet on how much Luethen Motorsport is charging for its tuned Mercedes-AMG GT, but similar kits can go as much as $50,000 for the program.
This tuned version of the Mercedes-AMG GT is going against the tuning kits for Mercedes-AMG GT S 6.3 Startrack By Wheelsandmore and the Mercedes-AMG GT S RSR By Piecha Design.
Photos of the Luethen Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT
Check out the gallery below for the images of the Mercedes-AMG GT with the latest tuning package of Luethen Motorsport: