Monday, October 14, 2013

2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible

The second of BMW’s new 4 Series two-doors is a droptop. The sleek 2014 4 Series Convertible retains the folding hard top of its predecessor, but features many upgrades, including more standard features, which is unusual for BMW. The 4 Series Convertible, expected to arrive in showrooms early next year, replaces the 3 Series Convertible. It follows the German automaker’s new naming convention that uses even numbers for all BMWs with two doors and odd numbers for those with four doors.

The 2014 4 Series Convertible will come in two versions: the 428i, which has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and the 435i, which has a turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Both will have an eight-speed automatic as their only transmission. The lack of a manual transmission will upset purists who prefer it, especially on sporty cars like this BMW.

Rear-wheel drive is standard on both models. All-wheel drive is optional on the 428i. One big improvement is that the retractable hardtop, which folds into three sections and stows in the trunk, has more insulation than before to keep the cabin quieter. For example, it reduces wind noise by up to 2 decibels.

The 428i puts out 240 horsepower and goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds. The 435i has 300 horsepower and sprints from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 5.5 seconds. There are also Sport and Sport+ modes (the latter depending on trim level) to improve throttle and transmission response.

The 2014 4 Series Convertible goes on sale in the first quarter with a starting price of $49,675 for the 428i and $55,825 for the 435i. Both prices include a $925 destination charge.

A Carliners Report.

BMW i3 Electric

The BMW i3 isn't built like any other electric car. It's made of different stuff, and its layout is different. Everything about it has been considered and re-thought. Despite the fact it comes from an established car company, its whole approach and execution is amazingly fresh. And so driving it is a mind-cleansing experience too. While the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S or Vauxhall Ampera all look like modern conventional cars, the i3 is designed to reflect what's underneath. There's no attempt to hide the narrow, low-drag tyres, or the advanced aero. No attempt to hide the fact that it's high because the battery is under the floor, or that it's snub-nosed because the motor and gearbox are in the back.

Smoothly, at somewhere above 70-mph, the motor's acceleration begins to taper away compared with your expectations. This is a 170bhp car sub 60mph, but at bigger speed it isn't. That's precisely because it has just the one gear, and it's now revving beyond its power peak. Anyway, to prevent energy-sucking high speed running, it's limited to 93mph. But it's not a deal-breaker: you can move into the outside lane without it betraying you.

The acceleration is better than most e-cars because it's so light. BMW has been researching for a decade how to reduce the cost of carbonfibre. With the i3 it has got to the point of using an entire carbonfibre upper body cell, mounted on an aluminium chassis. This cuts the weight considerably. And lighter weight means it needs less battery for a competitive 90-mile range. Since batteries are expensive, the saving on battery pays for the carbonfibre. And a smaller battery is lighter too. Brilliant. We said this was built entirely differently from everyone else's electric cars. It weighs 1200kg, which is 350kg less than the Nissan Leaf, which gets by on just 109bhp. That's why the 170bhp BMW goes so well.

iDrive makes a standard appearance, in all its simplistic, functional glory. After sampling many competitive infotainment control systems, I’m left with a newfound appreciation of iDrive. You’ll find the drive mode selector button right beside your right thigh – I found this to be well positioned since you may reach for it quickly on occasion, and you may toggle it frequently.
 For example, when driving in Eco Pro+ I found myself in a traffic situation that called for quicker, more assertive maneuvers. Toggling to Comfort mode livens up the drive pedal (formerly known as the throttle pedal) and allows you to carve through traffic more effectively. A quick toggle of the same button has you back to electron salvaging in short order.

It should be mentioned that the front cup-holders are removable, allowing for a considerable amount of space between the driver and passenger foot-wells. An attaché case would easily fit, so if you’re carrying a full house and have run out of storage room, you could always make use of this space. The elimination of a drive tunnel (thanks to the mid-rear motor, rear-wheel drive design) makes this possible.

A battery of steering-wheel mounted controls also keep your eyes on the road. Voice activation also makes an appearance on the i3, though I didn’t test it (to busy fooling around with the other cool tech, and exercising my anterior neck muscles with the drive pedal). Final detail about the steering wheel: it feels good in your hands, is well sized given the car’s quick steering ratio, and is decorated with a ring of blue around its rim – a stylistic touch that reminds you of the electric horses pushing you along.

A Carliners Report.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Opel Monza Concept

GM's German subsidiary Opel has launched a stunning concept at this year’s Frankfurt auto show: the Monza. Of course, the Monza nameplate was a part of Opel’s lineup in the 1970s and ’80s, the last example of which was the GSE, which received then-futuristic digital instrumentation, setting somewhat of a precedent for this concept. 

With Buick and Opel's lineups often converging, the Monza has implications for GM's near-luxury brand as well. Dubbed "a role model for future Opel cars," the Monza concept resembles a shooting brake, and a relatively large one at that, measuring 184.6 inches long. It’s also especially low at 51.6 inches.

The four generous seats are positioned extremely low to the ground, 5.9 inches more so than in most of Opel’s other offerings, according to the brand. Access is gained via large gullwing doors similar to those on the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal concept. The Monza is setting the tone for future Opel vehicles.

Under the skin, there is an electric motor and a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder range extender powered by natural gas. Opel says the Monza Concept can be fitted with a wide range of powertrains. 

A Trendy Africa Motoring (Carliners) Report.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Honda reveals its new Civic Tourer

Honda has taken the wraps off the new British built Civic Tourer ahead of its official unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013. The sleek exterior design of the new Civic Tourer houses a spacious interior which delivers exceptional versatility and functionality. 

It features Honda’s innovative Magic Seat system and offers a class leading boot space of 624 litres with the rear seats in place, up to the window line. This expands to 1668 litres with the rear seats down and up to the roof.

The Civic Tourer will be available with the choice of two engines; the new 1.6 i-DTEC engine from the Earth Dreams Technology series and the 1.8 i-VTEC engine in manual or automatic transmission. The introduction of a brand new Adaptive Damper System (ADS) will help to enhance stability and comfort under varying load and driving conditions.

The Civic Tourer also features an innovative Adaptive Damper System. This is the first time that a rear adaptive damper system has been introduced on a production car and it features three settings - comfort, normal and dynamic - all of which have been developed to enhance stability and comfort under varying load and driving conditions. This allows the Civic Tourer to remain comfortable during motorway cruising, yet firm and agile when high-performance handling is required. 

A Trendy Africa Motoring (carliners) Report.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Introducing the $3.9M LAMBORGHINI VENENO

In the year of its 50th anniversary Automobili Lamborghini is presenting an extremely exclusive model at the Geneva Motor Show 2013. Only three unique units of the Lamborghini Veneno will be built and sold. Price tag is reported at $3.9M. The twelve-cylinder with a displacement of 6.5 liters is a thrilling combination of absolute high-revving frenzy and phenomenal pulling power.

The Lamborghini Veneno features an extremely fast-shifting 7-speed ISR transmission with 5 driving modes and permanent all-wheel drive. Even the stunning acceleration figure of 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds cannot adequately describe it. Despite an aerodynamic setup configured for extreme downforce, the Veneno possesses exceptionally low wind resistance which allows it to reach a top speed of 355 km/h (221 mph).
Above all, however, the Veneno benefits from the very special expertise that Automobili Lamborghini possesses in the development and execution of carbon-fiber materials - the complete chassis is produced as a CFRP monocoque, as is the outer skin of this extreme sports car.

Veneno is the name of one of the strongest and most aggressive fighting bulls ever. He is also famous for being one of the fastest bulls in the history of bullfighting. His name became popular in 1914, when he fatally wounded the famous torero José Sánchez Rodríguez during the bullfight in the arena Sanlúcar de Barrameda's, Andalusia, Spain.
The Lamborghini Veneno celebrates its first public appearance at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. 

Report by Carliners. A Trendy Africa Motoring Concept.

Aston Martin celebrates its 100th birthday at Geneva

The luxury British sports car maker - which is marking its centenary in 2013 - takes
centre stage in Switzerland with cars both from its illustrious past and its exciting

Pride of place is reserved for the latest luxurious addition to the now fully-replaced or
refreshed sports car range - the forthcoming Rapide S.
The luxury four-door GT has been sympathetically redesigned and painstakingly
re-engineered to reassert its position as the world's most beautiful, and beautifully
balanced, four-seat sports car.

Extensive design and engineering improvements make the new Rapide S even more
desirable and refined. It replaces the outgoing Rapide in markets worldwide.
The Rapide S now boasts an even more assertive 'face' created by virtue of the
striking new full grille.
The new front end design is matched at the back by a new rear deck profile which
consists of a more pronounced boot lid 'flip'. The improved aerodynamic and
aesthetic upgrades both reinforce the sporting nature of new Rapide S.
Changes under the car's sinuous skin are comprehensive, with the new AM11
naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 powerplant delivering unprecedented power and
improved in-gear acceleration.

Meanwhile, as with the new DB9, the new Rapide S achieves compliance with the
latest European pedestrian protection regulations courtesy of its innovative new front
grille design.
Pricing for the new 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S starts at $199,950 in the United

by Carliners.

Rolls-Royce Wraith debuts at Geneva motor show

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars proudly presents the world debut of Wraith, the most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history. At its heart lie hallmark Rolls-Royce attributes of luxury, refinement and hand-craftsmanship, but the new model from the world’s pinnacle super-luxury marque also presents a unique character defined by power, style and drama.

Rolls-Royce Chairman and BMW Group board member Harald Krüger added the following: “The BMW Group today reconfirms its full commitment to the future of Rolls-Royce. Growth and a prosperous future lie ahead thanks to continued investment, careful brand stewardship and the launch of groundbreaking new models like Rolls-Royce Wraith, a magnificent addition to the product range.”
In profile, Wraith’s sweeping fastback design gives the car its unique character. Bold lines, tension in the panels and a raked rear screen evoke the image of a world class athlete poised in the starting blocks. Further expression of dynamic intent can be seen in Wraith’s deeply recessed grille, wide rear track and dramatic two-tone presentation.

Coach doors open to reveal a sumptuous interior complete with softest Phantom-grade leathers and expanses of wood called Canadel Panelling. Named after the famous cove in the South of France where Sir Henry Royce and his design and engineering teams spent their winters, this contemporary and tactile finish sweeps through the interior, cosseting four occupants in a space bathed in light and warmth.
The interior ambiance is complemented by Starlight Headliner, a Bespoke feature available beyond Phantom family cars for the first time. 1,340 fibre optic lamps are hand-woven into the roof lining to give the impression of a glittering, starry night sky.

Performance delivers on the promise of Wraith’s styling. Power delivery is effortless, but dramatic, thanks to a V12 engine married to 8-speed automatic ZF transmission. 624 bhp / 465kW is available to the driver while the 0-60 mph sprint is achieved in 4.4 seconds, compared with 563 bhp / 420kW and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds for Ghost.

by Carliners. A Trendy Africa Motoring Concept.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA

The aggressive lines of the all-new 2014 CLA aren't merely for show, however -- they also help create aerodynamics worthy of a supercar. Likewise, alluring form and superior function come together in the sculpted headlamps, available in Bi-Xenon with integrated LED Daytime Running Lights, and standard LED tail lamps. 

An even greater degree of visual ferocity can be achieved with the available Sport Package, with chiseled sport body styling that includes a larger front apron with massive air inlets, as well as flared side skirts and a sleek rear diffuser. The Sport Package also includes the diamond-pattern version of the front sport grille -- boasting brilliant, silver-tipped studs instead of black -- not to mention 18-inch twin 5-spoke alloy wheels and sport front brakes with perforated rotors.

Key Highlights                          
  • Aggressive, four-door design with studded sport grille
  • Turbocharged, 208-hp inline-4 engine delivering 258 lb-ft of torque
  • Advanced dual-clutch 7-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles
  • Front sport seats and three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel
  • mbrace2 in-vehicle technology suite with available Internet access
  • Full Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming and hands-free calling
  • Available iPod/MP3 Media Interface, harman/kardon surround-sound system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with Traffic and Weather, and navigation with voice control
  • Available Driver Assistance Package featuring DISTRONIC adaptive cruise control, Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist
  • Optional Sport Package includes sport body styling, 18-inch wheels and front sport brakes
  • Available limited-production Launch Edition
photo: Kayode Ojo at the Chicago Auto Show

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Peugeot Onyx Concept supercar

On the occasion of the 28th International Automobile Festival held in Paris on 29th January, Maxime Picat, Director General of Peugeot Automobiles, Gilles Vidal, Director of Peugeot Design, Guillaume Couzy, Director of Marketing and Communications, received for Peugeot the prized accolade for ‘The Best Concept Car Design’ with Onyx.

The Peugeot Onyx Concept supercar was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September and has already been voted ‘Favourite Concept Car’ in the World by readers of Auto Plus and customers of RTL and also seduced the jury of the International Festival and Enthusiasts Automotive Design, winning the prize for the ‘Best Concept Car of the Year’. 

A Trendy Africa Motoring (carliners) Report.