The Germans have done it again, they have gone above and beyond expectations to create one of the most interesting purely electric models to hit the North American market. The BMW i3 with its lightweight infrastructure allows a respectable range of 60-90 miles fully charged. Which for many who wish to utilize this vehicle is enough for their everyday urban trekking needs. But BMW wasn’t satisfied, and needed to best themselves when they announced recently they plan to integrate their motorcycle inline twin-cylinder to bring that range from 90 miles to almost 250. Almost tripling it!

With other automakers like Chevy and Nissan making large leaps in the electric car market, BMW felt it needed to up their game a bit to even compete within such a niche. This is why they decided to add the option for the smaller 600cc motorcycle twin-cylinder for consumers to purchase. On top of that BMW has already added to the i3 what could be one of the better achievements in the auto world in recent years. They have a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic chassis. This material is incredibly lightweight and it being plastic, still remarkably durable. This cut curb weight allows the i3 to accelerate like it should even if it has a motorcycle’s electric technology inserted. You shouldn’t expect top speeds equal to that of other BMW models, nor to match that sort of acceleration and power, but you can expect for its purpose (urban driving), it will surpass the needs of those who need it.

How does it stack up to the plug-in hybrids or gasoline only city vehicles already on the market like the Scion IQ? Even though the overall range of the i3 is in most cases lower than that of most plug-ins and cars like the IQ, there is still the counter argument that the non-reliance of fuel, and improved electric range with inline twin-cylinder will best both the plug-in and current gasoline powered city cars. Then there is the fact it is a BMW, and the BMW brand itself speaks volumes in comparison to many of the automakers out there today—no matter what they are looking to pitch to drivers.

So what sort of response from consumers should we expect initially and long-term? Well BMW admits they are uncertain on how receptive this i3 concept will be to the North American market, and city dwellers especially, but they do know one thing if they can sell some, some is better than none. They also expect because of the very little restriction that the smaller motorcycle electric will offer, that many will pay extra to opt for the improved range. To be exact they are expecting about 50% of the i3 sold early after its release will be purchased with the option for the extended range. Then shortly after it should slide to something along the 20% area. But in the eyes of BMW—as long as people are buying they know they can move forward with bettering their electric experiments.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince you to purchase the i3, the German engineers at BMW, and the Japanese automakers, Toyota are working together to come up with what they are currently calling lithium-air. It is a new battery technology that is anticipated to utilize the natural oxygen in the air to intake and utilize as a source of power to help the battery last longer—thus improving its overall range. So what if everyone buys one of these new cars with the lithium-air? Will it suck all the oxygen out of our atmosphere? Unlikely, we can be reassured that the BMW engineers and scientists aren’t expecting such a catastrophe—but if it did happen, wouldn’t that be incredibly ironic?

For everything else that is happening with BMW, or if you are interested in some of the other models in the lineup from BMW in North America, then you should check out your neighborhood BMW dealer…such as BMW of Rockville.

Have you though about getting a new vehicle?  If you have, you probably contemplated in your head what kind of vehicle you should get whether it be a car, SUV or truck.  You also probably wonder if it should be a coupe or four door.  While a four door is safer, a coupe is better if you are more concerned about the style you want to ride in. If you are even more concerned about safety, you should look into an SUV or a truck because the added mass is better in the event of a crash.  SUV’s and trucks also allow for much  better towing, but they are gas guzzlers because of the added mass that they have to carry. If you are thinking about going with an SUV, think about the 2013 Jeep Cherokee.

The ’13 Cherokee has a choice between a V-6 or V-8, so that its consumers can be satisfied about its sufficient horsepower or its good fuel economy numbers.  Of course if you want the fastest version of the ’13 Grand Cherokee, pull out all the big guns and spring for the SRT8 performance wagon.   This performance wagon can compete with very luxurious SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and X6 and Mercedes-Benz AMG utilities.  The SRT8 not only competes on the same level as luxurious SUVs but it also is the Grand Cherokee that gets the best amenities.

For 2013, the Cherokee has lowered aerodynamic drag and has made slightly better styling cues, and it also has put some more amenities in the top of the line Cherokee SRT8.  Underway, the Grand Cherokee cabin is very quiet, even with the throttle floored, even over rough pavement. There are three layers of noise insulation, adding to the weight but the quiet is impressive.

Come down to their dealership to find Jeeps in Durham, at Sport Durst Auto!

Love MINIs but need more trunk for your junk? Well, the folks at MINI have come through for you with their new MINI Cooper Clubman. Technically the idea isn’t new, the original Minis, as manufactured by Morris Motors in the 1960s had a station wagon-like model called the Traveler. The Travelers were quite popular at the time and Morris Motors sold quite a few of them.

Today’s version, the MINI Cooper Clubman however, is less utilitarian and can be described as a bit more like a “sports wagon”.  To start it is based on the wonderful styling of the standard MINI Cooper but has a longer wheelbase and a larger cargo area.  It is tempting to draw the conclusion that that the Clubman couldn’t have the handling of a standard MINI because of its larger size and weight but reviewers say it is just about as nimble and racy on the road as the standard MINI models.  Kudos to the engineers at MINI for making this a priority.  Another piece of good news, although the Clubman represents a fair amount more car than the standard MINI Cooper does, it is priced just above standard MINIs.

Like the Standard MINIs, the Clubman offers the standard-aspirated and turbocharged 1.6 liter engines with HP of 121 and 181 respectfully. Transmissions available are the six-speed manual and the optional six-speed automatic.  Both offer outstanding gas mileage in the 27 mpg (city) and 36 mpg (highway) range.

Drivers that actually use the rear seats will find the 2012 Clubman a welcome upgrade over the hatchback models. The extended size and extra wheelbase offers much-needed legroom, and the rear-hinged door on the passenger side makes access far easier. As the title of the article suggests, there is a lot more room for stuff in the back of the Clubman.

One of the most endearing features of the original Mini design was the centrally- mounted speedometer/instrument panel and tachometer mounted on the steering column.  Thankfully, 50 years later, this iconic dash layout remains the same.  Today’s versions look a fair amount more polished but still evoke the quirky look of the original Minis.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have scored the 2012 MINI Clubman in crash test ratings, however the standard model has performed quite well in safety crash ratings.  It would be reasonable to expect that the Clubman version will do just as well.  According to MINI, standard features are anti-lock brakes, six airbags, stability control and hill-start assist while upgrade options like adaptive headlights and parking sensors can are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like other MINIs, the Clubman can be extensively customized.  Owners can choose from: unique vinyl decals, a variety of paint colors, lots of technology upgrades and a wide range of performance options. MINI comments that all these options add up to more than 10 million possible combinations.  For those who want the Clubman in race trim, the folks at MINI of Baltimore (serving Washington DC) tell us that the Clubman is offered in John Cooper Works trim.  As the image above illustrates, the John Cooper Works models are very striking automobiles and are in high demand.

The electric vehicle industry is a quickly changing an increasingly competitive market. As more and more automakers join the race to produce the best vehicle powered by electricity, FIAT will officially join that race in the spring of 2013 with its brand new FIAT 500e. The FIAT model will offer drivers an impressive blend of performance with a battery-electric powertrain with a complete recharge in less than 4 hours. The 500e will be 100% battery operated, meaning it produces zero tailpipe emissions without compromising style.  Unlike vehicles powered by gasoline, electric vehicles like the 500e can be conveniently charged overnight at your home.  Charging can also be done using a public or workplace charging station. The FIAT 500e employs regenerative braking, converting vehicle energy and redirecting it to the lithium-ion battery. This special type of braking, often used in hybrids, recovers some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be wasted and converts it into more electrical energy. The 500e’s powertrain is created by using three main components: an advanced high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack, a high-power electric-drive motor, and a Power Inverter Module (PIM) to manage power flow.

The 500e, like all other FIAT models, will be available in a large range of exterior paint colors, giving you the option to choose something that fits your style.  The FIAT 500e may have some family resemblance to the 500, but it is a car of its own. It features cast-aluminum wheels, larger rear wheels that allow for better rear handling, all-season tires that include low rolling resistance.  A vent, tilt, and slide power sunroof with one touch opening and closing is available as an option. Are you interested in learning more or preordering this model? Just contact your local FIAT dealer, such as Holt FIAT of Ft Worth Texas. They will be happy to answer any questions, and get you on a preorder list.

The available FIAT 500 e-Sport Package takes things to a new level of flair, with a Nero (Black) colored interior with Arancio Elettrico (Electric Orange) trim, Black front and rear fascias, dark wheels with Orange inserts, a body-color spoiler, Orange mirror caps, a body colored instrument panel bezel, unique e-Sport package side graphics, and dark tinted exterior light surrounds.

To help with increase efficiency and range FIAT gives the 500e special aerodynamic refinements. These include an aerodynamically-enhanced spoiler, a diffuser that carries on from the underbody, as well as a front fascia that has been lowered for increased aerodynamic efficiency and optimized for airflow. The special spoilers, side cladding and rear fascia also provide a substantial drag reduction.

Step inside the FIAT 500e and you will find a contemporary design with FIAT’s trademark Italian flair. Six high-performance speakers, 7-channel custom equalization, Series digital amplifier and SiriusXM Satellite Radio all come standard. Steering wheel-mounted audio controls make operation especially convenient.  The 500e instrument cluster features a modern design with a 7-Inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) display for improved lighting and location of features. The 2013 FIAT 500e seat materials feel like quality, and are available in leatherette with cloth inserts.  Rear fold-flat seating is divided in half to maximize passenger and cargo loading versatility.

Diesel fuel is generally more expensive than standard gasoline but you get something extra with diesel fuel, you get more energy per gallon.  Is this important, well, this basic law of chemistry essentially means that diesel powered automobiles and trucks, with all other variables being equal, can deliver higher fuel mileage than gasoline-based vehicles do.  This is one of the reasons that diesel engines are such a popular options in commercial equipment and in many consumer automobiles .

The fact that diesel-powered vehicles can achieve high fuel mileage has not escaped car manufacturers.  This is in part because of federal regulations.  All the companies that sell cars in the United States are obliged by the US Government to meet certain fuel usage requirements and those requirements tend to get more stringent over time. The specific legislation involved is called CAFE or the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.  The graph below illustrates how the average fuel economy continuously increases from 2012 to 2022. The requirement for CAFÉ is to be 54.5 MPG by the year 2025.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the increased fuel mileage as dictated by the federal government delivers tremendous advantages to the consumer.  Recent statistics have shown that the present CAFÉ standards will save Americans more than $8000 over the lifetime of their car and less fuel being burned leads directly to less air pollution and a cleaner environment.   Additionally, CAFÉ standards reduce our reliance on foreign oil and thus contribute to our energy security.  With advantages like this, it is easy to see why the Feds have been leaning on the car manufacturers to increase their vehicle’s fuel economy performance.

To meet up-and-coming CAFÉ standards, Chrysler Corporation is working on an ultra-efficient diesel engine called the EcoDiesel.  The engine is being developed in conjunction with VM Motori, an Italian automotive engineering firm.  We looked into the jeep Wranglers at Reedman Toll and asked them if they could fill us in on this exciting new engine option.  They said they had been told of some of the EcoDiesel engine specifications.  They told us that it is said to be a 3.0 liter V6, rated 241 horsepower and capable of a strong 406 lb-ft of torque and further details would be forthcoming.

The EcoDiesel is said to be destined for Chrysler Corporation trucks as well as select passenger vehicles.  According to Chrysler, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is said one of them.  Combined with other fuel saving technologies such as an eight-speed automatic transmission and low drag air-conditioning technology, the 2014 Grand Cherokee is rumored to deliver some 23 MPG around town and 33 mpg on the highway.

Whether this Italian-designed diesel will be joined by other counterparts in the Chrysler model lineup remains to be seen.  Will we see smaller diesel engines, perhaps for the economy cars?  Smart money would say that Chrysler is bound to leverage its relationship with their major diesel engine design firm, VM Motori, and produce several car models with diesel engines,  certainly many others in the Jeep line up.

Jeep has added yet another award to its long list of achievement – its special edition 2013 Wrangler Moab was named the winner of the  coveted “4×4 of the Year” for 2013 Award from Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine .  While the Wrangler Moab is packed with Jeep’s top notch off roading technology, and is geared specifically toward serious off roaders,  it was also built for occupants to ride in comfort and ease.  Step into this Wrangler’s cabin and you will find character, comfort, and distinction. The Wrangler Moab Edition offers new and improved ambient lighting, as well as floor console cup holder lighting for both front and rear occupants. Available as an option is a Garmin navigation system that keeps you on track and a Uconnect Voice Command with a 40 GB hard drive. The Moab Edition comes standard with the Connectivity Group includes the premium EVIC system. This technology gives the driver temperature and trip display with average fuel economy, distance to empty or elapsed time information as well as individual tire pressures. Black leather heated seats with Black stitching are found in the Moab Edition Wrangler, along with Gray accents on the vent rings and front / rear door grab handles.

So now we know the Moab Edition is packed with modern technology and comfort features…but can it perform? This is one Jeep that was built to handle its namesake, the famed Moab trail. So yes, it can perform.  The V6 Pentastar engine was designed to conquer the terrain found on any type of trail, with a revised throttle body; high-mounted, rear-facing alternator; a serpentine belt that stays clear of mud and water, and a unique exhaust. The Moab puts out 260 lb-ft of torque for the low-end grunt.  Off road components included on the Moab are a Dana 44 solid, heavy-duty rear axle and the industry-proven Command-Trac 4WD system, which of course is Trail Rated. An instrument panel-mounted rocker switch engages the rear differential and “locks” power.

We recently swung buy a Chicago car dealer named Feeny Autos to check out this very special Jeep. If you are the type to want others to know just what you are driving, don’t worry, this Wrangler makes it clear that it is the special edition Moab. This starts with a Mopar power-dome hood that makes room for its Pentastar V6. Exclusive low-gloss black Moab decals are displayed on either side of the power-dome hood, and an upgraded Sunrider Soft Top with dust repellant and new Lift Assist feature (for the Unlimited only) come standard.  While there are many choices for someone looking for an off road vehicle, Jeep stands apart. Many of their vehicles, including the Wrangler Moab, have a special off road capability designation, termed ‘Trail Rated’. What exactly does being Trail Rated mean? According to Jeep it means the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. To become Trail Rated vehicles must pass a series of grueling tests designed to prove off-road performance on the world’s most demanding terrain.  Testing includes traction on untamed, slippery roads and on steep grades. Considering how the Wrangler Moab is built, we are guessing it passed the Trail Rated testing with flying colors.

The Ram 1500 is a car that will be released early 2013 and the price will be around $22,000. This is a spectacular ride that will be available to the public in around twelve different colors and the new shades that will be introduced will be Western Brown Pearl, Prairie Pearl, Copperhead Pearl, Black Gold Pearl and Maximum Steel Metallic. The 2013 Ram 1500 has been recognized for its safety because it has everything that the individuals could possibly think of such as air bags, accident response system, enhanced brakes, and Trailer-sway control which make it such a wonderful ride.The interior of the 2013 Ram 1500 is wonderful and has a great finish. There are great HVAC controls and also multimedia systems that allow you to listen to all those favorite radio channels.

Also there are great soft arm rests and upper bolsters that allow individuals to travel in comfort.  The Ram 1500 is one of the first trucks that have been known to use a grille shutter system. This car is so efficient that it closes airflow whenever cooling is not needed. This way mileage is increased and also improves defrost time. The exterior of this car is also known to be quite amazing. It has immense wheels that will make the truck look expensive and allow you to travel in style. Also the steel that will be used in the built of the car will be of high quality and makes it looking amazing.

2013 ram 1500 back

The Ram 1500 has a V8 from around 4.8liters to around 5.7 liters. This car has been known to be fuel efficient for the economy. It has a stop and start system that shuts down the engine which the truck it at a stop. The Ram 1500 is also known to save fuel in the economy by 1mile per gallon while driving in the city. It is said that it will have electric power steering that will help the drivers keep their eyes on the road. It will also have an engine cooling fan that will prevent the car from heating up on long drives. The 2013 Ram 1500 is said to have a stronger frame that will prevent individuals from getting hurt in car accidents. It is said that this car will be thirty pounds lighter and will be made up of high quality steel. This car will be equipped with a thermal system that will heat up the transmission fluid when the car starts up.

2013 ram 1500 side

Those that are thinking about purchasing a car for the New Year should definitely think about buying 2013 Ram 1500 because it is bound to be a great hit. This car has been presented in showrooms and has not been released to the public for purchasing yet. Many individuals have seen pictures of this car and say it is a beauty and the look stunning. If you are thinking about purchasing a brand new car then definitely consider the 2013 Ram 1500.

There are a wide range of cars that will be released in 2013, but there are a few ones that are high on demand. One of the cars that is hitting the market is the Subaru WRX. This car is amazing due that it has a nice engine. It has a compact engine and is known for its great balance on the road. It should have 200 horsepower and is expected to reach up to 265 horsepower. It is the latest car and is economy efficient. It does not pollute the air as much as other cars. It is a car that is worth waiting for and it will hit the showrooms in early 2013. The car is expected to be priced at 27,000 and could be ranged to 28,000 if the there is an increase in demand for the car. This is a reasonable price for a new model car that will be launched in 2013.

2013 Subaru WRX

The interior and exterior of this car are designed by the Impreza Design and they have created a new and improved version  by their latest designs. There are nice headlights, a new tail lamp, fender flares, a huge wing for style at the back, and a carbon fiber hood that contains blacked out lamps which prevent fog from getting in the way of driving. The interior of the car has sport seating and the seats are covered with leather. There are aluminum inserts and three-spoke tires which make driving convenient to the buyer. Also you can Bluetooth songs, a navigation system is present and you can even hook up your iPod to the car to listen to your favorite music. An XM radio system provided by Sirius Company has a great sound system and you will have a blast driving this car.

2013 Subaru WRX

This ride does not weigh as much as the older version and is designed to give a new and improved look. This car has a great interior and exterior which is made from high quality materials. You can get different colors for your interior items if you wish. It can be designed based on the customer’s preferences. This car will be available in many colors such as red, blue and silver. You will be able to travel in style if you own this car. You should check out more details about the engine by doing some online research to understand if this car is right for you. It is a comfortable car that has upgraded technology that will not let you down on the job. You will be able to travel with your family because this car is very spacious and provides relaxation while you drive.

The Mazda Taiki is a concept that is great for the environment and also protects our wonderful planet. This car portrays the image of a car that looks like a space ship from a dimensional galaxy. This car has a great body and the internal spacing of it and exterior make it have a dynamic look.

The rear wheels of the Mazda Taiki have a rotor engine that is environment friendly and helps in saving energy resources. This car is named after a man named Taiki Endo who came up with the wonderful design and turned it into a reality.

The interior colors of the car are designed according to a theme; they were inspired by Yin and Yang.

The driver has a side cabin which is the color black and the passenger’s side is white. The exterior end got its inspiration from flowing robes. Everything from the dashboard to the seats has the flowing sensation, which was kept in mind according to the flowing skies of Japan in May. The Mazda Taiki has doors that are known as scissor doors and even has wheels that were designed according to aerodynamic techniques. This car was inspired by the Japanese and was first presented in a car show in Tokyo, Japan.

Mazda Taiki interior

The two colors that are present in the car white and black give the Mazda Taiki a vibrant appearance and make it look stunning. The driver’s seat has comfortable seating that make driving fun and enjoyable at all times. The seating is made up of great quality silicone material. There is plenty of room for the passengers to sit and also have plenty of leg space at the bottom. The main goal in the creation of this car was to give it a flowing or dream like appearance and the Mazda Taiki does a great job in capturing this scenery.

Mazda Taiki side

The teardrop roof is transparent and has a great frame that is present. There are also calligraphic strokes that are on the surface that make give the car a unique touch and create the flowing of the wind. The dashboard of the car is also amazing and has red LED lights that function quite effectively. The Mazda Taiki is an advanced car that makes driving smoother and easier. It is equipped with the greatest safety technologies that keep the driver and passenger safe at all times. The design of the car is so great that the driver can do many things without removing their hand from the steering wheel. This is truly a high quality car that has proven to be the dream car of many individuals. Those that have seen it at the car shows say that it is a total beauty. This is a spectacular car that is created with high quality material and is also cost effective. There is no other car like the Mazda Taiki because it is the only one ever created.

The Chevy Sonic RS is a new type of car that is bound to be shown in showrooms in 2012 and released in 2013. This is a miraculous car that has been newly designed to fit the driver’s needs. The price of this car has not been announced yet, but it is bound to range around a beginning price of $14,495.

This car has been on the minds of buyers lately and the colors that it will be sold in have been announced and they are Summit White, Cyber Gray, Metallic, and Black Granite Metallic.The Sonic RS has become famous because of its 1.8L turbo engine that works at 138 horsepower. It makes the driver feel like they are in ultimate control over this high powered vehicle.

The RS Sonic has four wheel disc brakes and an anti lock braking system that helps in balancing braking, depending on the weather conditions and the load of passengers in the car. It is also equipped with a great electric power steering system that constantly amends the interaction of the system with the steering gear to guarantee exact steering action over the system.

Chevrolet Sonic RS interior

The interior feature of the Chevy Sonic RS include nice front sport seats, sport steering wheel with a thick rim, sport pedals made of aluminum, and panel cluster graphics. The Chevy Sonic RS has a seventeen inch rubber and a low suspension, which makes this car a great drive. This car is the only Sonic that will have four-wheel discs that will allow electronic brake distribution. Sonic RS is a true performance car that has firm seats that provide great support to the driver and make the ride a comfy one. This car has a touch screen XM satellite radio that allows the individual to listen to music and even get navigation directions from their smart phone. When the vehicle is not in motion the individual can also add things like videos and albums to the touch screen from their electronic devices.

Chevy Sonic RS back

The Chevy Sonic RS has a 1.8L engine that allows manually automated transmissions. The standard electric power steering allows the car to maintain stability at all times. This car is known to have great cargo capacity and is quite roomy. There is also the great function air bags and anti lock brakes that help out in automatic crash response situations. The 2013 Chevy Sonic RS is seriously of the best cars that will come out in the year 2013. This car has a sporty design that allows the driver to travel in stylish manner and have a great ride. Those that are looking to purchase this car are in for a great deal because this car is affordable and has an amazing interior and a great exterior also. Those that will be driving this new car will be the envy of everyone on the road. This is a car that is one of a kind and is designed for those that want a car that is chic and trendy.