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Entries in BMW (2)

Thursday
Sep062012

September 2012

September 28, 2012: Ford’s 2013 Fusion undergoes its most extensive re-do since its launch, and merges with the European Mondeo sedan. Engineered in America, is it ready to take on the best Europe has to offer, or is it just a pretty face? Speaking of pretty faces, Jaguar introduced the production F-Type convertible at the Paris Motor Show, and it’s a beauty. With three levels and two engines, it promises performance, but is heavier than its closest competition. McLaren’s P1 concept doesn’t have to worry about its weight, the hypercar is made mostly of carbon fiber, and produces Le Mans racer levels of downforce. It’s aimed directly at Ferrari’s Enzo replacement. Meanwhile, Porsche introduced a concept that makes its Panamera both practical and beautiful. It’s a sneak peek at what we can expect from Porsche’s super sedan. On the two-wheeled front, The Virtual Rider, Scott Bowles, is back with his review of the Harley Seventy-Two. Badass bike or throwback? You decide. In the Lifestyle section, we have a first look at Bilstein’s Clubsport suspension system. Designed for drivers who want more performance without the pain, it can handle both street and road course. Speaking of pain, Al Vinikour returns to vent some steam about vent windows, those marvels of yestertech.

 

September 21, 2012: It’s been a long week for the staff, punctuated by lots of time in the air, and little time in front of the computer. Despite this, we found the time to do what we could between boarding calls. First up is a look at the Concept Active Tourer from BMW. It’s the first front-drive car to wear the blue and white Bavarian badge. Should that thought depress you, we have something that might cheer you up. GoJo has introduced a new line of professional technician’s gloves just perfect for working on your collector car. Even better , they’re machine washable. Finally, our flying partner and airport “gate date” Al Vinikour spent a long time—okay, it was about 15 minutes, including editing—to write his latest column. It’s about things once common that are no more. For the Internet generation, some of these items may seem like things a Neanderthal might have used. However, those of a certain age will remember when cars took a commitment on the part of the owner, and we had better things to do with our fingers—like set points—than play with out smartphones.

 

September 14, 2012: In an unusual twist of events, this week Editor Sawyer was asked to drive at speed toward a pedestrian. It wasn’t as easy as it sounded, but it proved the effectiveness of the next generation of automotive safety systems. Al Vinikour wishes he had that option, but was instead stuck in traffic behind a left lane bandit. As you might expect, he was NOT amused. When launched, VW sold its small SUV as a GTI in sensible clothes. We see whether this still holds true, and if it’s enough in the ultra-competitive small SUV market. Now that the new CAFE standards are law, is this the end of the muscle car era? Not by a long shot. As if to prove just how much we have to look forward, even if the cylinder count drops, BMW pulls the covers of its new family of small engines. From a tasty triple to a stout inline six, they promise plenty of power, whether fueled by diesel or gasoline.

 

September 7, 2012: It’s been a busy week, so let’s get right to it. Grand Am and the ALMS “merged” this week, but it's IndyCar that had better watch out. Ford announced a number of new global vehicles and its plans for One Ford in Europe, including the first-ever right-hand drive Mustang from the factory. Audi takes us behind the scenes of developing the new R8. Honda launches the 2013 Accord, the ninth generation of this perennial best seller. We take a look. Al Vinikour gets behind the wheel of the 2013 Dodge Ram, and trades his cowboy fantasies for the lap of luxury. We’ll let him explain. VW launches the seventh generation of the Golf, and the highest volume vehicle to be built off its new MQB modular architecture. We have pictures. Finally, Al Vinikour looks into the future of audio systems, and wishes for the past.

 

Thursday
Aug022012

August 2012

August 31, 2012: It’s Editor Sawyer’s birthday today, but his present came early in the form of a column David Wilks photo.from race driver and entrepreneur Andy Pilgrim (pictured). The British-born racer joins the TVD staff as an occasional contributor, and reviews a vehicle you might find surprising. We certainly did. Speaking of surprises, we discover tires that can spell. And Osram introduces a low-cost LED solution for front fog lights. Dan Brochstein takes us behind the scenes at the recent Concours d’Elegance of America, and picks a few favorites. Al Vinikour drives the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, and comes back impressed. Former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar sues his former employer while it puts his former company car on the auction block. Editor Sawyer takes a look at the new CAFE standards, and gets a Red scare. And Al Vinikour take aim at the one of the most annoying, exasperating and stupid devices ever fitted to an automobile.

 

August 24, 2012: The week was filled with travel, specifically out to Laguna Seca where Editor Sawyer attended the U.S. launch of the BMW M5, M6 and Gran Coupé. And while running around the Corkscrew was fun, the real tale was told out on the road. Are these cars road course  heroes and rolling ego strokes, or are they capable of dispatching with the daily grind as well as trail braking? The heavy travel schedule also meant Al Vinikour was only able to give us his view of vinyl roofs, a.k.a. bad toupees for cars. White hot in the 1960, 1970s and even the 1980s, these plastic abominations still pop up today. Which is enough to make Al see red.

 

August 17, 2012: There were two major unveilings at Pebble Beach this week. First up is the new Ferrari F12berlinetta. With more than 700 horsepower and lb-ft of torque, it’s so fast the name ran together. Next up is the latest Range Rover. With an aluminum body/chassis unit, it’s significantly lighter than its BMW-designed predecessor. Ford launched its new Advanced Electrification Center this week, but it only underlines the fact that politics, not demand is driving the market in this direction. Also, Harris Interactive polled drivers from 18 to 66 about in-car connectivity, and the results may surprise you. Ever want to dress up your garage door, but wanted something that was more visually arresting than a new paint color? A company in Munich, Germany has just what you need. Finally, Al tells us why, if you don’t like you child’s driving, you’re to blame.

 

August 10, 2012: As we were going to press, news broke that Jay Penske, owner of IndyCar’s Dragon Racing team had been arrested along with his older brother on a variety of charges. This comes on the heels of AJ Allmendinger’s problems, and sets a high bar for punishment. This isn’t a story with shades of gray, but of yellow. Al Vinikour features prominently this week. The Editor takes a chance and sends the automotive technophobe to Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission plant to report on the company’s new in-house hybrid transmission. He also spent a week with a supercharged Range Rover (poor baby), and gives us his impressions. Plus, his Tirade take a backwards glance at rearview cameras and their place in the automotive firmament. Editor Sawyer, meanwhile, spent a week with Audi’s S4 quattro sport sedan, but couldn’t quite give it a 5 out of 5 rating. Find out why. Plus, he gives a preview of the lighter, more fuel-efficient 2013 Nissan Pathfinder and the sybaritic 2013 Lexus LS with its sport-oriented F Sport variant.

 

August 3, 2012: First came word that Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick “resigned” before GM issued a terse press release calling into question Ewanick’s character. It was followed by word that designer Dave Lyon was fired a week or so before heading to Germany to lead design operations over there, and rumors began to fly that the new Corvette isn’t very handsome. We speculate what might be behind this busy but bad week at GM. On a lighter note, we drive Audi’s supercharged A6 quattro. Jump inside to see if it’s everything you could ever want or less than expected. Al drives the 2013 Audi allroad, the first car is seven years to wear that badge in the U.S. BMW adds a new bike to its lineup, the HP4. We take a look. And Al Vinikour asks why automakers can’t design a decent cupholder.