Archive for the ‘Luxury Vehicles’ Category

Volvo Updating XC90 for 2020, Launching B5 Mild-Hybrid Technology

Three electrified options attached to new powertrain.

by on Feb.22, 2019

Volvo is introducing its new XC90 that by 2020 will feature three different mild hybrid powertrain options.

Volvo is updating its flagship XC90 crossover for 2020, and the biggest news is likely to be the introduction of a new mild-hybrid powertrain that, the automaker claims, marks a “significant step” in its push to electrify its entire line-up.

Three different versions of the mild hybrid technology, dubbed B4, B5 and B6, will be launched for the 2020 model-year, Volvo claiming that they will boost fuel economy by “up to” 15%, while achieving a similar reduction in emissions.

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The archetype of Volvo’s ongoing transformation, the XC90 was the first to get Volvo’s T8 Twin engine plug-in hybrid system. That is also being upgraded for 2020. The global edition will feature a new battery and a brake-by-wire system that can recapture more energy normally lost during braking and coasting. The U.S. spokesperson said it was not yet clear if those upgrades will be available for the 2020 American edition of the XC90. (more…)

BMW, Daimler Launching New Ride-Sharing Service, Other Mobility Ventures

New partners open door to other participants.

by on Feb.22, 2019

BMW Chief Harald Krueger, left, and Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche are all smiles after announcing plans to merge mobility operations.

Nearly a year after announcing plans to combine their ambitious mobility services operations, Mercedes’ parent Daimler and erstwhile rival BMW have announced an array of new joint venture projects that will include car and ride-sharing operations that could challenge upstarts like Uber, Lyft and China’s Didi Chuxing.

The two luxury automakers plan to invest a combined 1 billion euros, or about $1.1 billion, to expand the five projects BMW CEO Harald Krueger and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche outlined at a news conference Friday, which also include parking and electric vehicle charging. The two newly minted partners also opened the door to cooperation with other automotive manufacturers.

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“These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously,” said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger. (more…)

Aston Teases Project 003 Hypercar Ahead of Geneva

Only 500 will be built.

by on Feb.20, 2019

The latest Aston Martin hypercar will use an F1-influenced gas-electric drivetrain.

From a company struggling to avert yet another bankruptcy only a few years ago, Aston Martin has bounced back with a vengeance, as it plans to demonstrate with the debut of a new hypercar at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Codenamed “Project 003,” it’s set to become the British marque’s third hypercar, following up on the earlier Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro models.

Auto Show News!

“It was always the intention for the Aston Martin Valkyrie to be a once-in-a lifetime project,” said Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “It was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendent that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialised, limited production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models.”

(more…)

And Another One Bites the Dust: Farewell Mercedes SLC

Little roadster’s “Final Edition” rolls out – but so does a Grand Edition of bigger SL two-seater.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Mercedes-Benz is putting an end to its small roadster, but it'll go out with a bang with a "Final Edition" package.

The ongoing assault of the SUV is claiming yet another victim. In recent months, we’ve seen mainstream automakers steadily pare back their sedan, coupe and sports car lines and now, it seems, even luxury manufacturers are feeling the impact of the most dramatic industry shift in decades.

Mercedes-Benz is the latest throwing in the towel, getting ready to banish the once-popular SLC roadster originally known as the SLK. The good news for fans is that there’ll be an appropriately named Final Edition rolling into showrooms before the SLC drives off into the sunset.

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The German automaker isn’t abandoning the sports car market entirely. It’s been rolling out more versions of the Mercedes-AMG GT in recent months and, for roadster aficionados, there’s a new Grand Edition that adds even more high-line touches to the familiar SL line. (more…)

First Drive: GMC Sierra AT4

Off-road version of full-size truck could expand its appeal.

by on Feb.19, 2019

The new GMC Sierra AT4 rides higher than a stock truck and also offers plenty of high-line features.

But for the brand badges and subtle differences in grilles and headlights, it has typically been difficult to tell apart General Motors’ two full-size pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. But the automaker seems determined to eliminate this archetypal example of badge engineering.

When it launched new versions of the Silverado and Sierra for 2019, they boasted more dramatic visual differences, inside and out, than ever before. And they even split when it came to appealing new features. The Chevy, for one, got a power-operated tailgate, while GMC’s truck introduced a multi-function tailgate that can be opened and used in a variety of different ways, such as creating a workbench or bed extender.

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Now, GMC is itself planning to broaden out its line-up in a bid to win over more buyers. As a counterpoint to its hly outfitted Sierra Denali model, it is launching the all-new off-road-oriented Sierra AT4. We had a chance to take the new model for a test drive through the mountainous terrain southeast of San Diego recently and found it surprisingly competent, both on-road and off. (more…)

Audi Teases Q4 e-tron Concept Ahead of Geneva

Expected to be one of 12 all-electric models from luxury brand.

by on Feb.14, 2019

Audi's newest addition to its EV family is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and the company gave us a peek a the new Q4 e-tron.

The Volkswagen Group last week confirmed plans to roll out “50+” battery-electric vehicles by 2025 and, it seems, fully a dozen of those will be sold through its high-line luxury brand.

The first of these, simply dubbed the Audi e-tron, is set to go on sale later this year, while a production version of the e-tron GT Concept unveiled at last November’s L.A. Auto Show will hit the road next year. And now, ahead of next month’s Geneva Motor Show, we’re getting a first look at the Audi Q4 e-tron that will follow by no later than the first half of 2021.

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As the Q4 name suggests, the next all-electric model will be a crossover, reflecting the fact that battery-electric vehicles won’t be immune from the rapid shift from cars to light trucks sweeping across the global auto industry. (more…)

BMW Pumps Up with New X3 M and X4M Utes

Competition package delivers 503 hp.

by on Feb.13, 2019

BMW will start delivering the new X3 M and X4 M to U.S. customers in April.

BMW is putting the emphasis on “sport” with two new sport-utility vehicles, the 2020 X3 M and X4 M.

The compact models get the BMW M treatment for the first time, and it starts out with a twin-turbo inline-six that, in Competition trim, will push as much as 503 horsepower to the pavement – enough to launch from 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds.

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Both of the new models will be assembled at the Bavarian automaker’s South Carolina assembly plant, BMW notes, something that should minimize the impact should Pres. Donald Trump authorize new tariffs on European auto imports, as he has been threatening. That said, don’t expect them to come cheap. (more…)

Want a 205 mph BMW 7-Series? Here Comes the New Alpina B7

What else could you want for $141,700?

by on Feb.11, 2019

Alpina is going where the folks at BMW fear to tread by producing its own version of the M7 named the B7.

There’s long been a yawning gap in the BMW line-up. While virtually everything the automaker now offers is available with an “M” option, the Bavarians have resolutely refused to offer an M7 model. But that’s where Alpina, a German tuner with a long relationship with BMW comes in.

And it’s about to launch its own take on a performance version with the debut of the latest-generation Alpina B7. The sixth-generation sedan – and the third generation of Alpina B7s to make it to the U.S. – starts out from where the newly updated 2020 BMW 7 Series leaves off.

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If anything, the 2020 Alpina B7 adds even more luxurious details to the latest BMW 7, while also boosting performance significantly, the full-size sedan now able to hit 60 in a mere 3.5 seconds before racing to a top speed of 205 mph – 12 mph faster than the prior-generation B7. (more…)

Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept Hints at Future

All-electric prototype hints of crossover set to mark the brand’s revival.

by on Feb.06, 2019

The Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept will strongly influence a coming production model.

Automakers have a habit of reaching into the history books. We’ve seen a number of once forgotten nameplates rise from the dead lately, including the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco. And the upcoming Geneva Motor Show will mark the revival of two once-grand brands: Hispano-Suiza and Lagonda.

The return of the latter, a subsidiary of Aston Martin, has been in the works for several years, a show car called the Lagonda Vision making its debut in Switzerland a year ago. Next month, we’ll see the debut of a second prototype, the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, and it seems a lot closer to the production model set to reach showrooms a couple years from now.

Geneva Motor Show News!

“The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept offers explicit clues regarding what will be the first Lagonda model to enter production, and further demonstrates how Lagonda’s zero emission powertrain enables us to create spectacular cars that will radically redefine their sectors of the market,” says Aston CEO Andy Palmer.

(more…)

Chevrolet Amps Things Up in Heavy Duty War With Silverado HD Debut

“It’s a war” as automakers fight for dominance in the high-profit HD market.

by on Feb.05, 2019

Lead Designer Rick Scheer unveils the new 2020 Chevy Silverado HD line-up at the Flint, Michigan-plant that builds the trucks.

Chevrolet has become the latest in a string of brands to upgrade its entry into the booming, high-profit heavy-duty truck segment.

The 2020 Chevy Silverado HD made its official debut Tuesday at General Motors’ newly updated factory in Flint, Michigan. The oldest and longest continuously operated assembly plant in the GM network, the Flint factory underwent a $1.5 billion makeover to prepare for the launch of the new trucks.

Truck News!

While the U.S. new vehicle market is expected to slip slightly this year, there were few signs of concern among GM officials, the automaker’s President Mark Reuss declaring, “We are so bullish about our trucks this year … we predicted stronger-than-expected earnings in 2019.” (more…)

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