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BMW Officially Pulls Wraps Off Flagship X7 SUV

“Hey, BMW.”

by on Oct.17, 2018

The new 2019 BMW X7 is ready to take on whatever Mother Nature sends its way.

BMW has been dropping plenty of big hints in recent months as it prepared to launch an all-new flagship. And now, we’re finally getting a look at the production version of the 2019 X7.

As the name might suggest, you can think of the big ute as the SUV counterpoint to the Bavarian brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. And it reflects the massive shift in the global luxury market as highline buyers by the millions switch from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, mirroring what’s happened in mainstream segments.

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The 2019 BMW X7 is more than just a stretched version of the familiar X5. It’s not only nine inches longer but loaded with the sort of luxury features you’d expect on a 7-Series – or the also-new 8-Series. It also introduces BMWs new voice assistant infotainment system which, like Amazon’s Alexa, is always listening for its wake words, “Hey, BMW.” (more…)

Porsche Adds GTS Variants to Panamera Line-up

New models fill gap between top and bottom offerings.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Porsche added the GTS Sport Turismo, left, and GTS to give Panamera fans a couple of sportier options.

Porsche is adding two new models to its Panamera line-up: Panamera GTS and Panamera GTS Sport Turismo models, positioned between the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo variants, giving customers seeking a sportier driving experience, said Porsche officials.

As compared to the previous Panamera GTS with a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8, the current engine — a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with output of 453 horsepower from 6,000 to 6,500 RPM and peak torque of 457 lb.-ft. from 1,800 to 4,500 rpm — offers an increase of 13 hp and an additional 73 lb.-ft. of torque.

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The engine, which sends power to all four wheels through an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission via the standard Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive system, allows both the Panamera GTS and Panamera GTS Sport Turismo models to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The former reaches a top track speed of 181 mph, and 179 mph for the latter. (more…)

New Chips Improve Tesla Autopilot “500% to 2000%,” Musk Says

Updates coming in six months, free to current Autopilot owners.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

Several months ago, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested that all of the brand’s vehicles would be Level 5 autonomous by the end of the year. Most scoffed at the notion as that kind of autonomy is not expected to be a reality for a few years at least.

However, he’s doubled down – sort of – in a recent tweet where he said a new chip that improves Autopilot features would be available in about six months in all of the company’s new production electric cars.

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He provided an update on the new chip in a series of tweets, actually. (more…)

Porsche May Add Battery-Electric Macan Next, Hints CFO

Battery models set to generate 50% of Porsche sales by 2025.

by on Oct.16, 2018

The new Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, is just the beginning of a slew of new battery-electric cars coming from Porsche.

Porsche is not only just getting ready to roll out its first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Taycan, but also it apparently sees the opportunity to electrify more of its line-up, with battery-powered products generating more than half its sales by 2025.

The automaker revealed one possibility at the Geneva Motor Show last winter, a concept battery-SUV dubbed the Mission E Cross Turismo that is essentially a high-riding version of the original Mission E concept that will become the Taycan sports car when it goes into production next year. Alternatively, the performance division of Volkswagen Group could electrify the smaller of its two current crossovers, the Macan. And still models will follow, according to Porsche’s chief financial officer.

Electrifying!

“There is no final decision yet, but you can expect that this will be the case because we need a large-volume model that is fully electric. This idea will then progress further with the next generations of the Panamera and Cayenne model lines,” CFO Lutz Meschke told reporters during a tour of the company’s product development center. (more…)

Toyota Rated as Best Automotive Brand

Sixteen auto brands make Top 100 — GM and FCA brands not on the list.

by on Oct.11, 2018

Toyota was the top automotive brand in this year's Best Global Brands Top 100 list, taking seventh overall.

A quick poll of people asking what automaker is the best might net several folks saying “Tesla!” and while it does have a massive market cap, they’d be wrong. The best brand? Toyota.

According to Interbrand’s 2018 Best Global Brands report, Apple was the top company on the list with a valuation of $214 billion. Toyota was seventh on the list at $53 billion, which was up 6% over last year’s result.

Insight!

Overall, 15 automotive brands made the Top 100 list and while there aren’t really any surprises about what ones are on the list, those that are not on the list may be reason to take pause. None of the General Motors brands made this year’s list. The aforementioned Tesla did not make the list either. Nor did any of Fiat Chrysler’s brands. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Readying to Launch New S-Class Hybrid

Third-gen model puts out more than 400 horsepower.

by on Oct.11, 2018

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz S 560 e is being readied for launch by the automaker.

Mercedes-Benz is preparing for the launch of the third generation of the new S 560 e plug-in hybrid sedan.

The modified components and the intelligent powertrain management in S 560 e new anticipatory functions give the customer enhanced electric performance and added convenience thanks to faster charging times.

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In the luxury sedan – available exclusively with a long wheelbase – the efficiency of the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and a new lithium-ion battery are good for an all-electric range of around 50 kilometers or about 30 miles.  (more…)

Hyundai Shows Off Electric Version of Kona Crossover

New electric crossover gets 258 miles on a charge.

by on Oct.10, 2018

The new 2019 Hyundai Kona electric has a range of 258 miles.

Hyundai has unveiled a battery-electric version of the Kona crossover, the company’s first compact electric crossover for the U.S. market, which it hopes appeals to consumers with active, eco-focused lifestyles of all kinds.

“Our new Kona Electric crossover is a stylish and efficient compact CUV, tailored to the needs of customers who pursue eco-focused active lifestyles requiring generous range,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning, Hyundai Motor America.

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“We’re confident it will set new standards for the electric-propelled compact CUV segment, with outstanding range flexibility, appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class-leading available safety features,” O’Brien added. (more…)

Jeep to Launch Renegade Plug-In Hybrid in 2020

Automaker set to have 12 electrified models in productions by 2022.

by on Oct.09, 2018

In 2020, Fiat Chrysler will offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Renegade to kick off its electrification program.

After a slow start, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is plugging into battery power in a big way, the Euro-American automaker confirming plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Renegade in early 2020.

That follows the launch of a so-called “mild” hybrid system on the all-new Jeep Wrangler launched last year. The system, known as eTorque, is also being used on the completely overhauled 2019 Ram 1500 pickup just now rolling into U.S. showrooms.

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The Jeep Renegade PHEV will mark a major push into battery power for FCA, the company recently announcing that its various brands will introduce a dozen more advanced electrified models by 2022, ranging from conventional “full” hybrids to plug-ins to all-electric offerings. They will cover a wide spectrum of models and price segments, including the all-new plug-in supercar being developed by the Alfa Romeo brand. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Kicks Off GLE Production in Alabama

Automaker charging ahead on EV facilities.

by on Oct.09, 2018

Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Cars, and Jason Hoff, president and CEO of MBUSI, kick off GLE production in Alabama.

The first all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE, which is based on a completely new SUV platform, left the production lines in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last week as the company also broke ground on a new battery plant near the site of the German automaker’s assembly plant in the southern U.S.

“The widely export oriented Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa is a high-tech production facility with a successful history and an exciting future in terms of our brand in the United States,” said Markus Schaefer, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, who was on hand for the ceremony attended.

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“We aim to play a pioneering role in the development of e-mobility and are well prepared to accomplish this mission,” he said. (more…)

VW Back in the Global Sales Lead, But Toyota Returns to #2

Final months of 2018 could bring an epic battle.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Volkswagen appears to be the top selling automaker in the world with less than three months left in the year.

With 2018 quickly drawing to a close, Volkswagen appears to have cemented the global sales crown to its corporate head, rapidly gaining ground from its two closest competitors.

But rivals Toyota and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance are facing a classic, neck-and-neck battle that could see them fighting it out until the last sale is counted, according to data compiled by research firm Focus2Move, for second place.

Business News!

One long-time contender, meanwhile, has dropped out of the race entirely. General Motors, which led the global auto industry for more than seven decades, is well out of the running after selling off its European Opel subsidiary and shuttering operations in several other markets, including Russia and India. (more…)

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