The 2010 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid’s saving grace is that unlike the General Motors hybrid SUVs and pickup trucks, there’s no foot tall “hybrid” decal above the rocker panels (to be fair, you can get them without it). “ActiveHybrid,” the BMW way of doing full hybrid powertrains, appears in subtle little chrome badges below the X6 moniker. This makes it hard for smug Toyota Prius drivers to get angry over your “green” dual electric-motor crossover sport/utility coupe rated 18 mpg combined. They’ll dismiss you as having another fast and expensive Bimmer, and they’ll be accurate. Smoke a Prius from the stoplight with a 5.6-second 0-62 mph launch before the driver can read those little badges. The introduction of the X6 ActiveHybrid — BMW‘s first full, dual-mode hybrid — begs for the same debate that has made GM’s hybrid trucks anything but a Prius-like success. Why bother hybridizing such a big, heavy, powerful … [Read more...] about First Drive: 2010 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid
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There are some things Jägermeister-related we may or may not be grateful for, but the sticky liquor’s involvement in German Touring Cars (DTM) is definitely a plus. This combination of vivid orange livery on one of the most desirable cars in the world is a traffic-stopping, head-turning event. It’s the work of Christian Georg Besemer and his CG Motorsports shop. Based in Richmond, British Columbia (immediately south of Vancouver), Besemer says, “our specialty is anything M.” It didn’t start that way, though. “I was a big Volkswagen guy back in the day and wanted to work at the local dealers,” Besemer says. “But my dad already worked there and didn’t want me to get a job at the same place, just in case people thought there might be any favoritism. So I walked across the street to the BMW dealer and they hired me. This was in 1989. I stayed with them and got a journeyman license.” This was also how Besemer grew to … [Read more...] about Turning a 1988 BMW E30 M3 Into an Hommage to DTM Racers
BMW Financial Services next month is kicking off BMW On Demand USA – a service the company already provides in European cities – that enables people to easily rent a BMW by the hour, day or week from dealerships.The first location, BMW of Manhattan, is considered a pilot, and will have about 100 328i sedans in the fleet. According to Ed Robinson, president of BMW Financial, the makeup of the fleet will change over time. But the all-328i lineup to start reflects the newest product from BMW and the one the company wants to push right now.Other logical cities to follow will be Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Miami. But the service could easily spread to smaller cities with smaller fleets.Pricing for checking a 328i out like a library book will be announced in August. The website to go to is www.bmwondemandusa.com.The business model for the program has multiple layers. It gives dealers in urban centers a fleet of cars from which to provide extended test … [Read more...] about BMW to introduce “On Demand” service in U.S.
A couple of months after hitting dealerships, Cadillac’s stylish ELR plug-in hybrid coupe has yet to light a fire beneath customers. For a taste of how bad things are, the hardly everyday-versatile SRT Viper—a car with sales trouble of its own—handily outsold the $75,995 Cadillac during its first full month on sale. Now, a report from Edmunds suggests not only are buyers cool toward the ELR, but a good chunk of Cadillac dealers are, too.Edmunds says that 410 out of Cadillac’s 940 dealers opted out of selling the ELR, with most citing the poor cost-benefit balance of taking on the car. Franchises facing only a handful of annual sales would nonetheless need to outfit their service bays with stuff like chargers, specialized tools, and freshly trained techs, a pricey investment that likely wouldn’t be recuperated anytime soon, if ever. Cadillac’s global marketing director, Jim Vurpillat, indicated that a good number of the ELR-averse dealers were located … [Read more...] about Outsold by the Viper, Cadillac’s ELR Can’t Find Love—Even from Dealers
UPDATE 8/9/2017: Nissan has settled under the same terms for $97.7 million. A total of 4.4 million Nissan and Infiniti vehicles have been recalled in the United States. Only 30 percent have been repaired.Four automakers—Toyota, Subaru, BMW, and Mazda—have agreed to pay a combined $553 million for economic losses related to the Takata airbag recalls.The automakers have jointly settled a class-action lawsuit demanding owners be compensated while their cars are undergoing repairs. Miami-based law firm Podhurst Orseck announced it filed an agreement with the automakers in federal court on Thursday that covers 15.8 million cars in the United States. In total, Toyota will pay out $278.5 million, followed by BMW ($131 million), Mazda ($75.8 million), and Subaru ($68.3 million). The lawsuit does not compensate owners for any alleged lost resale value in their cars nor does it address personal injury or property damage claims. The court must approve the settlement before it is … [Read more...] about BMW, Mazda, Toyota, and Subaru Settle $553 Million Civil Suit for Takata Airbags
$99,180. For a four-cylinder, two-seat car. This isn’t unprecedented; Lotus charged eighty-one grand for its Esprit S4S way back in 1995, a pricetag that would be equivalent to $129,000 today. But the Esprit was a sleek supercar that could run with Ferraris on the road and beat them in SCCA races. The 718 Cayman S, by contrast, is a squat toad of a car, suspiciously similar in appearance and performance to the decade-old Cayman S that your down-the-street neighbor has had listed on eBay for $17,995 since June, with no takers.And yet I’ve voted for this car with my wallet, so to speak, having purchased a couple of entries in the Porsche Club of America’s Fall Raffle. I did this because I didn’t read the rules very carefully, as you’ll see below. But there’s still a chance for me to make lemonade out of a lemon — assuming I win said lemon.The question is: take the car as they’ve built it, or take the money and run?Many of the previous PCA … [Read more...] about Trackday Diaries: Cash Or Prizes?
The automotive world and beyond is buzzing about the massive airbag recall covering many millions of vehicles in the U.S. from nearly two dozen brands. Here’s what you need to know about the problem; which vehicles may have the defective, shrapnel-shooting inflator parts from Japanese supplier Takata; and what to do if your vehicle is one of them. LATEST UPDATES 1/18/2018, 6:00 p.m.: The Associated Press reports that another person has died as a result of a defective Takata airbag. The latest fatality was Nichol Barker, 34, of Holiday, Florida. According to AP and the lead investigator, Chester T. Everett, she “was struck by metal pieces that burst through the Takata airbag, causing a six-by-three-inch gaping wound to her left temple, a fractured skull, and bruising and bleeding on her brain.” On July 19, 2017, Barker was driving a 2002 Honda Accord at about 30 mph when it collided with a car that had turned left in front of her. … [Read more...] about Massive Takata Airbag Recall: Everything You Need to Know, Including Full List of Affected Vehicles
From the October 2017 issue C/D: What does Cadillac gain from being in New York? JD: First, we have to recognize that General Motors is truly a titan corporation. It’s very large and very complex. And given the hurry we are in to get Cadillac firing on all cylinders, we had to get the best shot at, among other things, brand separation executed very rapidly. It’s not total freedom, but a high degree of decision making on core parts of the business, not only marketing. If we didn’t create geographic separation, I’m afraid we’d face the consequences I saw earlier in my career, which is that nothing changes. The meetings stay the same; the people in the meetings stay the same; and, guess what? The decisions and outcomes stay the same. We have Cadillac people—or at least people who are focused on the luxury business—playing a more prominent part in crucial decision making. C/D: Why not Miami? Or … [Read more...] about What I’d Do Differently: Johan de Nysschen
Get ’em young and get ’em poor upwardly mobile. That seems to be Mercedes-Benz’s rationale behind the upcoming A-Class sedan, which should arrive in the U.S. later next year.According to dealers who spoke to Automotive News, the German automaker has confirmed the front-wheel drive model will indeed appear on these shores, slotted below brand’s current least-expensive car, the CLA. No longer a somewhat geeky, Euro-centric mini hatch, the global A-Class appears tailor-made to lure buyers away from other brands.We’ve known the new sedan — which uses an updated version of the modular MFA platform underpinning the CLA and other front-drive Benz products — had a global market in mind, but the word from this month’s dealer convention in Miami is the first unofficial confirmation of the model’s U.S. future. (The automaker is remaining silent.) Dealers in attendance were reportedly shown images of the real thing. For now, we’ll have to … [Read more...] about Mercedes-Benz A-Class is Coming, Could Start Below $30,000: Dealers
“Rolls-Royce sold 4,000 cars last year.”Carlos, a handsome, Cuban gentleman sitting across from me wanted to make sure that I understood this fact. He said it so intensely that I never even thought to question his number (which was accurate). “Four thousand. That’s it. Do you know how many of them were sold to people on my street?”I shook my head.“Six.” He leaned back in his chair for dramatic effect, puffing on a cigar that had been handcrafted by one of Castro’s own private cigar maker’s proteges. “Six. That’s why I have to have the latest one. That’s why I have my friend, Manuel, looking for a very specific car for me.”I was having this conversation with this distinguished, impressive caballero on the patio of Zuma, perhaps the finest Japanese steakhouse in all of America, overlooking Biscayne Bay. It’s nestled snugly into the first floor of Epic, which is, in … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: Miami’s Secret For Ridiculous Rides? Better Know ‘A Guy’