Tag Archive | "BMW"

Avoid Buying Sports Cars If You Want Your Teenager Drive It

It takes time, money and planning to buy a new vehicle for families. There are a few things to consider before making the decision. Parents may want to buy a nice car even before their children comes to driving age. Children grow really fast and before you know they have their driving license and want to drive. Having a safe family car for them to practice on would reduce the immediate pressures to buy them a car of their own.

Even though you may be comfortable with your child driving your car this may prove to be problematic for certain models. One of the problems may be adding the newly qualified teen driver onto your existing policy. If you want to avoid such problems you need to think about who will drive the car when you are looking at certain models with high insurance ratings.

Sports cars and teenagers are two high risk combinations for auto insurers. They usually charge high rates for both owning a high performance vehicle and having a teenage driver in the family. When these two combined you may face serious problems. You may have to pay extortionate premiums if you want your teenager drive a sporty looking auto. In some cases, it may actually be impossible to insure the teenage driver.

There are cars that are clearly sporty and there is no argument about it. And there are the ones that have powerful engines but they may not be considered sports car by many people. In some cases, people buy those automobiles for family use and advanced safety and security features they come with.

For example, BMW X3 and Porsche Cayenne are great cars for families. They have spacious and luxuries interior, large boots and generally considered safe cars in terms of protection they provide in accidents. However, they have powerful engines and take off really fast.

You can understand why families buy them. In the same time you can see why insurance companies would consider them to be riskier.  Most companies not only wouldn’t want a teenage driver included in the policy but also they would impose a condition that any driver allowed should be over the age of 25 years old.

Keep this in mind when you are considering a new auto for your family. CheapAutoInsurance.net says “families should look for more modest automobiles when they want their teenage daughters or sons drive it, too”. It is always a good idea to look at insurance ratings of a new car and it is even a better idea to get a few quotes before making the final decision.

Otherwise, your insurer may exclude young drivers from driving the insured automobile. This will force you to buy another auto for your children to drive and improve their skills or you may have to accept that they cannot drive for some time. Understandably, this will result in resentments and disappointments within the family. And it would cost a lot of money to sort it out with another automobile and insurance policy purchase.

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Front Wheel Drive Shock From BMW

In a move to enrage BMW purists everywhere the company has, for the first time, introduced front-wheel-drive into its model range. In order to do so, whilst retaining the sporty characteristics necessary in every one of its cars, it chose to start with a blank sheet of paper.

The result is a new, state-of-the-art, front-wheel-drive system on the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer that the twin customer demands of comfort and agility. The chassis has been newly developed, with a long wheelbase and wide track, reduced-friction steering system, a torsionally very stiff lightweight body with short overhangs, and a low centre of gravity.

With the optional electronically controlled dampers, the chassis characteristics can be adjusted to different driving situations with a choice of two different settings, making for even further improved ride comfort and driving dynamics. Optional Variable Sports Steering and the introduction of M Sport models from later in 2014 will add to the sporty handling and character of the car.

If FWD is a surprise, then how about three cylinder engines in the BMW canon? New lightweight turbocharged engines with three and four cylinders, a comprehensive package of BMW EfficientDynamics measures and the extensive connectivity provided by BMW ConnectedDrive are all elements in a driving experience that allows sporty performance and incredible efficiency.BMW1 Front Wheel Drive Shock From BMW

Practical shouldn’t mean prosaic: while the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is uniquely versatile it is also distinctively styled. From the low-rise double kidney grille, which is positioned lower than the headlights, a feature normally only found on BMW coupés, to the steeply raked windscreen and clearly defined and sculpted bonnet, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has a low-slung, sporty appearance.

The tailgate, with its low sill and wide aperture, gives easy access to the load compartment, while vertical air-deflecting aeroblades on either side of the rear window along with a rear spoiler add style while contributing to impressive aerodynamic efficiency. The dynamic look is even carried over to the rear windscreen wiper, which at rest remains hidden inside the rear spoiler. The result is that the new BMW 218i Active Tourer has a drag coefficient of just 0.26.

Despite the compact exterior dimensions, the interior is light and surprisingly spacious, with comfortable seating for five people. A large glass area ensures the cabin is light and airy throughout – an effect further enhanced by the optional panoramic roof and by the A-pillar triangle window, both of which also improve all-round visibility. Driver and front passenger also enjoy a far higher seating position than in a saloon giving commanding all-round view as well as making it easier to get in and out. The new car will be on sale from September and will start at around £23k.

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It Really Is A Mini Adventure! (But You Can’t Have One!)

Here at Motor Blogger we have remarked before on the ever increasing list of Mini variants available to buyers. Barely a month goes by, or so it seems, when another niche version is announced and why not? Well, over at Mini they are clearly not satisfied by their efforts so far and like buses, three more have come along all at once. Sadly they are only concept vehicles and there are no plans to offer them for sale which seems to us to be a right royal crying shame.

Parent company BMW have clearly noticed the popularity of camping, be it for holidays or for festivals, but not for them the flapping canvas tent of old – they’ve gone for the upmarket weekender market with a Clubvan Camper for the lone surfer (or two very friendly surfers), a Cowley Caravan and a Countryman with a tent on top. Genius. Sometimes you just can’t find enough superlatives!

The cars have been developed with the eco-mantra, “maximum touring pleasure with minimal footprint” at the heart of the idea. Nothing Mini has been lost in the conversions so the vehicles still have that unmistakeably Mini character.

The Mini Clubvan is designed to sleep one and has an extendable kitchenette with a stove and ‘fridge. The roof has a glass panel that can be opened for ventilation or to just use to gaze at the night-time firmament. The car has a rack for surfboards, canoes and the like. Imagine being able to say ‘how about coming back to my place’ no matter where you are on the planet!

Mini2 It Really Is A Mini Adventure! (But You Can’t Have One!)The Cowley is a Mini caravan and it is a little piece of design magic. It sleeps two and the rear hatch opens to reveal an alfresco kitchen with twin-ring stove, ‘fridge and a sink. It supposed to be an overnighter but the more hardy individuals to whom personal hygiene is slightly less important than having fun could probably make a week of it. It comes with a solar module to charge the on-board battery and there’s a connection to power the ‘fridge.

The magnificent trio is completed by an ALL4 Countryman Camp upon which you carry your home from home. We are all familiar with collapsible tow tents that are half caravan, well this takes the idea to its Mini conclusion. Picture this scene. It is late and you’ve decided to stop for the night with nowhere to stay except a B&B above a local shop run by an odd couple called Edward and Tubbs. The solution – climb the ladder, raise the tent and settle in for the night. It goes without saying that all the cars come with the usual accessories you’d expect to find, either as standard or as options.

The fact that, as things stand, these concepts are not going to be built is an absolute tragedy. Motor Blogger believes that everyone who has a need for one or other of these (and we number millions) should march down to the local dealer and demand your right to be happy campers.

Mini3 It Really Is A Mini Adventure! (But You Can’t Have One!)

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Bomb Proof Beemer

If you are feeling a little bit vulnerable on the roads and have a spare £300k or so available then you could do worse than the BMW 760 High Security car like the one shown in the image. Charles, Prince of Wales seems to think it is a good idea as the Scotland Yard police are currently evaluating this amazing vehicle for the purposes of Royal protection.

With the carefully phrased caveat that you’d think there would be a British built alternative such as the Jaguars used by senior government ministers, it is hard to think of a safer car short of that Cadillac tank used by the American President.

A couple of years ago the ceremonial Rolls Royce in which the Prince and the Duchess were riding was attacked by a rampaging mob, a window was smashed and the Lady assaulted. This frightening experience has obviously prompted a review of security, given the way the world is today. The BMW 760 clearly fits the bill.

Once, this car would have been something imagined in an Ian Fleming novel. The driver can start the car from one hundred and fifty yards away in case a bomb has been rigged to the ignition system. The car is bristling with sensors and can withstand high velocity bullets and even poison gas.

Fires under the car and within the engine bay are automatically extinguished and in the case of gas attack the passenger compartment is sealed and oxygen pumped in.

The bullet proof windscreen is removable which means it can be used as an emergency exit. Concealed microphones and speakers enable the driver or security officer to speak to people without opening windows; at checkpoints, for example. There is apparently an option for the front centre console to house a gun case with suitable machine guns. That surely is a must-have option on any list.

The BMW is equipped with night vision to avoid dazzle and can ‘see’ pedestrians and possible miscreants up one thousand feet away. There is no doubt that there is much about this particular car that will not be revealed but clearly it can be tracked and will have anti-kidnap locks.

A person knowledgeable in this area of security has stated that this car is the best vehicle for the job of Royal protection. Clearly, many details remain a closely guarded secret but it is believed that at least two will be leased or purchased once the evaluation is complete. Royal spokespersons are adamantly denying reports that Dame Helen Mirren is involved in the testing procedures and that Daniel Craig has had a hand in the design – but then they would say that, wouldn’t they.

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New Year New World New Cars

One of the best things about seeing ourselves into any new year is that we know Spring is just around the corner and we can look forward to gradually improving weather – or so we hope. Another good thing is the arrival of a new crop of car shows to delight car enthusiasts everywhere; and it all starts in Motor City – Detroit.

It’s inevitable that any American show is going to favour home grown products – like the awesome new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. This may well be the star of the show, resurrecting as it does the Stingray name from 1963, but it is less likely to interest the average UK motorist for whom such cars are just a primordial dream.

Much more interesting, yet probably never available to the UK market, is the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept. This is an SUV for the North American customers and is even bigger than the same company’s Toureg, although it does indicate the ‘face’ of VW SUV’s in the future. It’s a six-seater and would be instant must have for Tony Soprano – if he were still around.

Also at The Detroit Motor Show was a new Mercedes that will make fans of the brand very happy indeed. This car is seriously good looking as you can see from the image, above. It has all the style of the CLS but packed into a vehicle not much bigger than an A-Class. The CLA is part of Mercedes new small car family and is the first compact four-door coupé of its kind; although not for long as BMW will soon launch a 4-Series Coupé , as will Audi with an A3 saloon. More on these two cars shortly.

In keeping with the ‘let’s make them smaller’ trend Honda have shown their new SUV concept to be based on the forthcoming Jazz. It’s called the Urban SUV for now and, if it goes ahead, will rival the Nissan Juke and Renault’s Captur that we featured yesterday.

Mini fans will be delighted with the new John Cooper Works version of the Paceman. This 215bhp pocket rocket comes with four-wheel drive, is lower than the standard Paceman and is augmented by a more aggressive body kit and a rather splendid choice of paint jobs. At a starting point of around £30k however it might find itself price compromised. There are cheaper hot hatch offerings.

Jeep have revamped the Grand Cherokee and added a new and impressive front end which will give UK drivers who hanker for USA styling a bit of a lift. It is suitably butch but in an appealing way. Additionally on show are the new BMW M6 Gran Coupé , the Infiniti Q50 sports saloon and the revised Mercedes E-Class to name but three. World recession there might be but in the motor halls of Detroit – like speaking of the Dark Lord – nobody is mentioning it.

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Business Vehicle Leasing Gets The Green Light

The legendary oil billionaire J. P. Getty once said “If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it” and he should know. Companies today are catching onto the fact that business vehicle leasing is the way forward because they realise that it is tax and VAT efficient and saves valuable capital from the ravages of wholly owned fleet vehicle depreciation. In these difficult and competitive times though, is it enough?

The worldwide attitude to automobiles is changing thanks to the on-going ecology and climate change debates and the motor industry is taking notice, producing low emission cars to satisfy the demands for cleaner air. The choice of fuel and energy efficient cars has increased in leaps and bounds and there is now a wide selection on offer to businesses choosing the leasing route.

The obvious choice might seem to be the wholly electric car and it’s not a bad idea except for the problem of their limited range and it’s probably best to stick with that which is tried and tested. The choice of vehicle must of course be dictated by the nature of the company’s business, so what’s out there now that will appeal to business users?

For a start, there’s the Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI CR Greenline II 105PS. This is a brand that has eclipsed its history and is now highly regarded. This model is conveniently a hatchback, seats four in comfort, delivers 75mpg and under the present rules attracts no congestion charge fees.

City cars are very popular these days and are more versatile than you’d think, particularly for urban users. The Volkswagen Up has from the outset proven popular thanks to the legendary VW build quality and, like the selection above, offers cost-busting statistics. There are less expensive versions available from Skoda and SEAT too.

The Vauxhall Corsa 95PS 1.3CDTi Ecoflex Start/Stop is the company’s latest addition to their green range. It’s a very good looking car and offers the prospect of 85mpg. Staying with Vauxhall, there’s also the choice of their new hybrid, the Ampera 1.4 16v VVT V6 Earth ECOTEC E-REV Auto. This plug-in runs on electricity that is topped up by a 1.4L petrol motor which, put simply, acts as a generator. This dispenses with the range problems that afflicts regular EV’s and the company reckon the car is good for the equivalent of an astonishing 235mpg!

If you’re looking for something more serious that can really dispose of those motorway miles then there is always the BMW 520d saloon. If there was ever a class leader then this is it. It’s tried, it’s tested and is considered to be a real driver’s car that nevertheless delivers frugal fuel usage and low CO² emissions. Performance without damaging your green credentials!

Whatever your needs, the selection of green cars is wide and varied –  there‘s something for everyone from city cars to prestige saloons; these days business vehicle leasing is justifiably popular as rates start at below £100 per month, ex VAT. This has got to be a good deal in our economic climate!

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As Green As Green Can Be

Life is unfair. Drivers, for example, are made to feel as if they must bear the brunt of responsibility for the social and ecological damage caused by cars. In fact, our contribution is pretty small. Energy is used and emissions created on an industrial scale throughout the process of making both fuel and cars before they even get to us, so don’t feel too bad about it.

Many people today consider the green credentials of cars when making a purchase. Unless the buyer is wealthy, the general expense of motoring means that economy, in its various forms, pretty much takes priority. Nevertheless, there are plenty of new cars out there that fit the bill. You really can have it both ways.

Some drivers have to travel tens of thousands of miles in a year and need some comfort and performance. They can’t possibly use a frugal city car. Fortunately, there is a wide range of executive motors that still offer very decent fuel economy and reasonably green stats. They’re all diesels of course but, if you’re doing more than 10k miles in a year then the fuel price premium will pay for itself. The car will also hold a better price on the used car market.

As an example of how motor manufacturers have upped their game, a long distance driver need look no further than the Volvo S60 DRIVe (the small ‘e’ is their choice). This comfortable, elegant car will do 66mpg (on the combined cycle), coughs up a tiny 114g/km of the bad stuff and, at the time of writing, only costs £30 in Vehicle Excise Duty. When we ‘re talking about quality cars that fit the green agenda we can’t leave out the ubiquitous BMW. The 3 Series F30 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon (pictured) running on standard wheels and tyres will achieve 69mpg, 109g/km and all on a £20 road tax rate. In a few short years the achievement is astonishing.

In the small car arena the competition is probably at its most fierce. Obviously the increasing amount of electric cars win the economy battle with offerings from Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Mitsubishi all achieving the equivalent of over 200mpg with no emissions and no road tax costs – as yet. The argument that electric cars by nature of their production emissions – all those batteries – are not quite as green as they seem continues to rumble on. The only drawback is, as ever, range anxiety and cost, for now.

There are city cars and superminis, both petrol and diesel, that will now offer in excess of 70mpg with emissions below the magic 99g/km target. The VW Polo 1.2 diesel BlueMotion along with choices from Ford, Fiat and Skoda all fit the bill. In fact, across the ranges of family cars and estates, crossovers, SUV’s and even sporting models the canny eco-buyer can have his greens and eat them too!

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BMW Reaches Out To Toyota

Next month BMW will introduce new models to its refreshed 3 Series range of cars to help the company keep pace with competitors. There’ll be an xDrive version – that’s 4×4 to you and me – available on only one engine option. Perhaps more significantly the company will offer a hybrid version.

It is called the ActiveHybrid 3 and it will be powered by a three litre six cylinder turbo-charged engine coupled with a 40kW electric motor. The combination will generate a satisfying 340bhp and a chunky 450Nm of torque, so no slouch then. Apparently the car will travel less than three miles on electric power alone but it is not meant to be an extended range electric car. With a stated consumption figure of 47.9mpg (so probably 40 in the real world) and a decent emission figure of 139g/km the car is sure to attract business users for its 18% company car tax rate.

In line with the trend for manufacturers to co-operate with each other to save money on research and development, BMW have reached their hands across the sea to Toyota in a bid to work together on hybrid and electric technology. In recent years the Germans have preferred to collaborate with their neighbours at Peugeot Citroen. Lately though, the cash-strapped French have been batting their eyes at General Motors who they see as a better partner. An alliance between the Germans and the Japanese now looks more mutually beneficial.

As a matter of some urgency, BMW really need to reduce the overall emissions target for the company to 101g/km by 2020, which means adding some health-giving hybrids and EV’s to the range in the next few years. Toyota will offer lithium-ion battery research in exchange for some of BMW’s brilliant diesel engines to bolster their slightly weak image in Europe. In the next few years we can expect to see Beemers running with Toyota hybrid power trains. The Japanese manufacturer would also expect to get in on the ground floor with the cutting edge lightweight materials to be used in future on a large scale on BMW’s forthcoming Megacity electric car, presently code-named the i3.

The xDrive 3 Series is BMW’s answer to Audi’s four wheel drive A4 and their over-arching plan seems to be to ensure that their range of cars, big and small, are a match for the best from other factories and especially top-end brands like Lexus and Infiniti. BMW are already extremely well regarded by drivers and are clearly keen to ensure their place at the top of the league tables.

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BMW X1 Updated

BMW’s baby is the smallest of the X Series, yet retains much of the practicality and spaciousness of its bigger siblings. It’s shorter than a 3-Series which makes it easy to manoeuvre and park, and yet still has impressive space for passengers in the back as well as a large and useful boot. It’s available with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive whilst all the engines are impressively efficient and economical diesels, giving the X1 low running costs. There have been criticisms in the past, including some unusually below-par plastics in the cabin and a rather notchy gearshift on manual models, apparently. Nevertheless there are decent levels of standard equipment, the usual BMW build quality and superb refinement to make the X1 a sound choice. It’s been around since 2009 and has now had a bit of a makeover.

The new incarnation offers a more sporty and refined take on the premium compact crossover with revised dynamic exterior styling and detail improvements to the cabin. Additionally, the X1 is benefiting from a new range of diesel power engines all based on the latest 1,995cc, all-aluminium BMW four-cylinder unit featuring common-rail direct fuel injection and BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology to produce superb power and torque outputs with outstanding efficiency.

The crisp, distinctive lines of the BMW X1 have been strengthened with a comprehensive range of stylistic enhancements. From the front, the X1 receives extended painted surfaces, emphasising the X-shape running along the bonnet’s precision lines, through the kidney grille, and into the lower bumper. The new headlamps add to this dynamic ‘face’, and when specified with the optional Xenon light technology, white LED corona rings and a white LED active eyebrow element provide an even more distinctive frontal appearance to the X1, further enhanced by the new fog lamp surrounds. The side view, with its rising swage line and chunky wheel arch extensions, marks it out instantly as a BMW X model.

The driver-focused cabin of the BMW X1 has received minor adjustments for this revised generation. The driver’s side of the angled centre console is now shallower, and covered with a higher quality surface material, while the panel for the sound system and climate control is now finished in high gloss black to match the air vent surrounds. There have been interior improvements across the board to counter earlier criticisms about a ‘low-rent’ finish.

The xDrive system is fully integrated with the X1’s Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system, so that the electronics can analyse the conditions at the road surface and counteract any understeer or oversteer before the driver is even aware that the vehicle has entered that situation. In addition, clever integration of the systems means that Hill Descent Control (HDC) is available for a controlled decent down a sharp incline.

All in all, a wholly successful upgrade to an already successful model.

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BMW Will Woo Drivers With The “i” Brand

First images of BMW’s new plug-in hybrid concept roadster have been released. Nice, isn’t it? BMW hope to woo us with the “i” brand in the coming years, appealing to our love of technology and our sense of responsibility. It will all start with the i3 city car in 2013, so not so far off. It is hoped that the final version of the i8 coupe will be launched late in 2014 with the Spyder version (pictured) to follow soon after. The idea is for a convincing sports car with the running costs of a city car. Outstanding!

The i8 Concept Spyder is a plug-in hybrid, powered by an eDrive drive- train which combines a high performance electric motor with a turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine. The lithium-ion batteries are stowed centrally for the benefit of weight distribution, and can be charged quickly from a domestic power socket.

This remarkable car benefits from using a 131bhp electric motor to drive the front wheels and a 223bhp turbo three-cylinder petrol engine to deliver power to the rear; both motors have been developed in house by the company. The car’s light weight coupled with the combined power of 354 horses will ensure startling acceleration and a high but limited top speed whilst delivering, so BMW claim, 94mpg. It’s remarkable, isn’t it, what the motor industry has achieved in a couple of decades. Cars we desired so much just a few short years ago now seem to belong to the stone age.

Lucky owners will be able to plug it into a domestic socket and recharge it in less than two hours. In electric only mode the car will be capable of only about 19 miles but that isn’t really the point of a hybrid, is it? By all accounts the interior is just as compelling as the exterior. Understandably, BMW are bigging this range up and, with the current crop of contributions from other manufacturers, the race for alternative power is really heating up.

Looking at the wonderful design aesthetics I doubt many of you would say no to one of these. The chance to continue with your sports driving whilst achieving nearly 100mpg is a compelling reason to want this car. Snags? Well, yes, and you’ve probably already thought of it. A figure being bandied about is £80,000. Still want one though. Probably best to start saving now, wouldn‘t you say?

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