When you first hear about a 480 HP hybrid, you think it’s just a joke. That’s because the general opinion regarding hybrids is some sort of slow, frugal machines that save the planet one polar bear or baby seal at a time. Well, BMW thought otherwise, and decided to create ‘the most powerful hybrid in the world”, the X6 ActiveHybrid. We drove it around this summer, so let’s see what we found out:
Looking from the outside, it’s hard to spot the differences between this beast and a regular X6. The trained eye will notice the power dome in the hood, the special Titanium Silver paint, as well as the special 20-inch Aero wheels which lower drag. Of course, you will also spot the ActiveHybrid badges, which tell the world that even though you have a monster of a car, the aforementioned polar bears or baby seals are still being rescued.
On the inside, you’ll still have a tough time spotting the differences between a regular X6 and the hybrid version. The only major difference is in the lower part of the tachometer, where instead of the active fuel consumption, you now have a charge indicator for the battery pack that powers the electric motors.
Besides that, however, everything’s normal, including the lovely cup holders. One thing still puzzles me though, why doesn’t the X6 have any dedicated handles on top of the doors. The driver may hold onto the steering wheel in tight maneuvers, but due to the 480 HP always lurking under the bonnet, the passengers might want something else to hold onto, not just the handles in the door covers.
On the road
This is the part I’ve been waiting for the most. The X6 ActiveHybrid has 3 engines: a 400 HP and 440 lb-ft of torque twin-turbo 4.4-liter gasoline one, as seen on the X6 xDrive50i, but with slight alterations, and two electric motors, capable of 91 and 86 HP, respectively.
For those who passed basic calculus, you’ll probably figure out that 400 plus 91 plus 86 doesn’t exactly equal 480. This is because the engines aren’t always running on maximum capacity. On speeds under 25 mph (40 km/h), the gasoline engine doesn’t do anything, and the motors are providing zero emissions travel. If you step on the gas a bit more firmly, the massive twin-turbo 4.4-liter springs to life, growling under the hood.
You get used to this sensation pretty easily, and it really puts a huge smile on your face the fact that you can drive around slowly, and at just one press of the gas, you’re emitting sounds worthy of a motorsport race. The electric motors tend to help out in the acceleration department, or anytime you need a bit more torque. When the car is cruising at highway speeds, the electric motors are on full capacity, while the gasoline engine gets used less, in order to reduce consumption.
The technology sounds impressive, but how does the X6 ActiveHybrid handle on the street? Sadly, not all that great. When I heard about the power output, I was expecting something a lot more exciting. Even the 7 Series, which is practically a boat on wheels and has less power, was more fun that this one.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s powerful, the engine sounds great, but you kinda expect something more. In overtakes, if you don’t put the gearbox in sport mode, you don’t even feel you’re driving a 480 HP car. Also, the suspension system is a bit stiff, especitially for an SUV, but if you think about it makes sense, because it’s needed to keep the car under control.
And now, the question that has been on your mind and practically anyone who even heard about the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid: How much fuel does it gobble up?
Answer? A lot . When I took it around the city, the reading was around 15-16 mpg (US). When I took on the highway and national roads, with plenty of overtakes, you would’ve thought that the gas tank sprang a leak, as the average didn’t get better than 11 mpg.
Needless to say, it’s not even close to the official fuel estimates. After three days and 620 miles (1,000 km) traveled, the average was 13.8 mpg. While some may say that it’s a lot, for a 2.5 ton beast, with a 0 to 62 mph time of 5.6 seconds and 480 HP, it’s a bit decent.
Even though my expectations were quite high, the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid is a pretty sensational car, with a great interior. Still, factoring in the fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions (which aren’t low at all), the ActiveHybrid badging only shaves off a bit of the guilt you will have for buying an SUV in order to save the planet. Basically, and without bad intentions, this is more of a proof of concept for BMW, made for bragging rights, than a real hybrid for the future.
Pricing is also a real headache. In our country, the X6 ActiveHybrid starts at $111,499 (without value added tax), and the model we had was a whopping $148,000, a whole lot more than an xDrive50i or a heck of a lot more than an xDrive35i model. In the USA, pricing starts at $88,900 MSRP.
Still, even though I find it useless, I’m glad it was built and that I had a chance to drive it.
- the briliant sound of the gasoline engine;
- the overall look, more aggressive than the regular X6;
- the handling outside the city, on the open road.
We didn’t like:
- the huge price;
- the bad fuel average;
- the handling inside the city.
As always, big thanks to Alex Seremet from BMW Romania!
Click for the full gallery: BMW X6 ActiveHybrid
Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about new, premium city cars getting ready for launch, like the Audi A1 or Citroen DS3, all targeting the Mini Cooper S.
While Vlad already had a chance to test drive the convertible version last summer, I was still a Mini ‘virgin’ (so to speak). So, after being fed up with Vlad’s constant praise for the British model, I decided to test drive a more special version of the potent little city car, the Mini Cooper S 50 Mayfair edition.
So, was it all I hoped it would be or did the Mini turn out to be a not so pleasant experience? Read on to check out our complete test drive.
Up until now, the various Mini models I’ve seen all around town have really caught my eye, thanks to the funky retro-inspired design and their chic appearance. With this Cooper S 50 Mayfair edition it was no different, falling in love with it at first sight.
For those who have forgot, the 50 Mayfair is a special edition model, available for the Cooper range, which packs even more high end features and celebrates 50 years of Mini.
The main highlight for this car, at least in my eyes, was the color (Hot Chocolate), which gave the tiny hatch a classier demeanor and made a lot of people stare at it in traffic. Besides that, the more aggressive Cooper S styling touches, like the twin, center-mounted tailpipes or the tiny hood scoop completed a great looking car.
Those with a sharp eye can easily point out the special Mini 50 ‘jubilee placard’ on the grille, as well as the Mayfair inscriptions on the sides of the model.
Yes, I am sort of a Mini fan boy, but this car really struck a cord with me and with everyone who saw it.
On the inside, the 50 Mayfair really threw everything plus the luxury kitchen sink. It had special ‘Toffy Brown’ leather seats, the same material on the steering wheel, gear knob and hand brake, plus an upgraded sound system to make you feel all that special.
Honestly, at first, all the luxury features seemed a bit overwhelming, and made me and my passengers think that we’re in some sort of limousine, not in a tiny city hatch.
It’s worth pointing out the retro-inspired interior as a whole, because this is largely what makes riding in a Mini so great. From the huge, round dial in the center of the dash, to the chrome accents on the various switches on the center console, everything really makes you feel special.
It wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies inside the Cooper S though, as there really wasn’t a lot of space in the rear for anyone remotely adult to sit, unless you pushed the driver and passenger seats way in front. The boot was also pretty tiny (160 liters), but enough to carry some groceries or a few bags.
On the road
This is where the Cooper S really shined. Set aside the classy options, special looks or other things like that and you’re left with something closer to a go kart rather than a full-pledged car. The Mini, thanks to its potent 175 HP turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and its incredible suspension, managed to put a huge smile on my face, as well as on the faces of everything who took a ride in it.
For those who demand the best performance and really want to go all out, there’s an inconspicuous sport button on the lower part of the center console which transforms the Cooper S into an even more powerful ‘beast’.
One push ‘injects adrenaline’ into the whole car, as everything from the throttle response to the steering system feels even sharper, and the exhaust is even louder. During these times, it’s best just to pull the windows down and enjoy what Mini and BMW achieved to cram into the body of a seemingly inconspicuous city car.
Still, this go-kart handling and sensation does come at a price. The suspension on the Cooper S is quite stiff, which in turn makes you fear and try to avoid any pothole or bump in the road, unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
As long as we’re talking about bad things, it’s also worth pointing out the fuel average of the Cooper S. Official figures peg a combined EPA average of 29 mpg US for the Mini. During our test drive though, the Mini managed to score around 25 mpg (9.5 liters/100 km). Bear in mind though that the A/C was on at full blast and the temptation to hoon the Cooper S got the better of me on a few occasions (in the safest of conditions, though).
Overall, even with the slightly thirsty attitude and the hard suspension, the Mini Cooper S is one fantastic little car. The only other downside though, is its steep price. In our country, the Cooper S starts at $29,000, the 50 Mayfair edition we drove around was worth $35,000 (!), but it had a lot of high end features, normally not available for the standard S. Regional pricing may vary greatly (the starting price in the USA is $23,000).
Still, if you don’t want to buy something larger and just want to drive around the city with a huge smile on your face, then a Mini Cooper S is the perfect thing.
- the great handling
- the power of the engine
- the luxury features
- the cool overall image
We didn’t like:
- the hard suspension
- the steep price
- the high fuel average
MINI Cooper S 50 Mayfair specifications:
Weight: 1,205 kg (2,656 pounds)
Engine: 16V 4-cylinders 1.6-liter, max power output of 128 kW (175 CP) at 5500 rpm and 240 Nm between 1600-5000 rpm (260 Nm between 1700-4500 rpm with Overboost function) max torque.
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.1 seconds and top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph)
Fuel consumption (city/highway/combined, official figures): 29.7/45.2/38 (US MPG) or 7.9/5.2/6.2 (liters per 100 km).
As always, big thanks to Alex Seremet from BMW Romania!
Click for the full gallery: MINI Cooper S 50 Mayfair
After we tested the new C3, we got our hands on its funkier brother, the Citroen C3 Picasso, which we tried on a beautiful weekend. The first time I saw the car was a year and a half ago, at the Paris Motor Show. That’s also the spot where one of its rivals, the Kia Soul, made its debut. The two cars didn’t really blow me away as I wasn’t interested in their compact MPV segment. But after trying out the C3 Picasso, I saw that I was hugely mistaken. Curious to see why? Then read on.
The opinions in terms of style are pretty split. Me, alongside Bobby or Andra loved the funky design, while others said it was pretty ugly. It’s no Aston Martin, but it’s not that bad either.
Although taken separately, elements like the compact body, the massive nose, the large headlights or the interesting rear (this sparked the most controversy) might seem awkward, as a whole they look extremely good. Throw in the same superb combo of Bleu Belle Ille paint and 17-inch Clover alloy-wheels, and you’ve got one stylish little getaway car.
Citroen usually throws everything plus the kitchen sink on their test cars, and the C3 Picasso made no exception. It had a leather-wrapped steering wheel, with white stitching and the same metallic ornament below, just like on the new C3. The seats were brilliant, as was the upholstery, called ‘New Reps’, essentially a combination between leather, suede (or something like that) plus textile material. I usually don’t like leather, especially on the seats as they can be a horror show in the hot summer months, but the arrangement on the C3 Picasso, with leather and suede on the margins and textile fabric everywhere else, was great.
The interior configuration is clearly taken from the ancestor of the MPV, the van. The center console doesn’t extend between the front seats, you don’t have a lot of buttons and the seats are quite high. Still, the whole arrangement is pretty ergonomic, including the Cruise Control or the audio controls behind the wheel (just like on the C3). The main display is right in the center of the dash, but is much better aligned than other models. Data like the speed or the cruise control are oriented towards the driver side, making it that much simpler to take a quick look. The mirrors are also top notch. The side ones are pretty big (not Dumbo big, mind you) but you can see practically everything around the car. The center mirror has a nifty little gimmick, with an extra smaller mirror popping below, allowing for a much better surveillance of the back seat passengers (kids or otherwise). If it gets too annoying, you can quickly hide it, but it never hurts to check out what people are doing behind you back. Speaking of visibility, the car is filled with light. A friend pointed out that it’s practically made out of glass. Including the panoramic roof, the car has 11 windows, so a great visibility is ensured.
The C3 Picasso, in the end, is a MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), so it needs to haul quite a lot of baggage. You’ll be pleased to hear that its trunk has a capacity of 1,506 liters, not enough for hauling furniture but plenty to hold the luggage of a big family. The back seat is also foldable, in two parts, and you even have a hole that allows for skies or fishing rods to be hauled.
On the road
Our Citroen C3 Picasso had a 1.6-liter diesel engine, with 110 HP and 177 lb-ft of torque. 0 to 62 mph time is around 12,4 seconds and the top speed is 114 mph (it actually is). As you can guess, speed or acceleration aren’t the car’s strong points. In terms of fuel average though, it’s a whole other story. The C3 Picasso is quite possibly the first car which averaged pretty close to its official numbers, getting around 33.6 mpg US (the official is 36 mph), in the city. On the road, I couldn’t even get near the 56 mpg number Citroen claimed, as the consumption was around 32 mpg, when doing 60 or 80 mph. If you want even more speed, then the average will turn to 27 mpg.
The car is pretty agile, really sticking to the road (which is a bit weird, given its tall nature), and the suspension is quite comfy. We took it on a few country roads and the experience was pretty nice, albeit with too much side-to-side movement on big holes. For the eco-conscious of you, the C3 Picasso has the AirDream label, meaning it emits just 133 g/km of CO2. While you’ll be saving baby seals driving the Citroen, you won’t be saving the bugs on the highway, as you can see from the front-end photos.
In case you didn’t take the subtle hints, the Citroen C3 Picasso was a great car, even though I would’ve liked a bit more power. At €14,950 ($18,985) with taxes (the base price is €17,450 ($22,100) but Citroen offers massive discounts to the Picasso range), it’s one the few test cars that made me seriously consider buying it. Yeah, you get cars with more power, better economy or with more options, but I really liked the C3 Picasso. Adequate power, great fuel average, lots of space, comfy suspension and a design that makes you stand out … it’s how McDonald’s say, I’m loving it! (or shall we say Je L’Aime!).
- the outside looks (wheels, color, accessories)
- inside, there’s a lot of space and light;
- behavior on the road.
We didn’t like:
- not very sporty;
- fuel consumption a little too high for the not-so-powerful engine.
Citroen C3 Picasso technical specifications:
Weight: 3,104 pounds (1,408 kg)
Engine: 1.6-liter diesel, four-cylinder in-line engine, max power output of 80 kW (110 HP) at 4,000 rpm and 240 Nm max torque at 1,750 rpm.
Performance: 0-100 km/h in 12.4 seconds and top speed of 183 km/h
Fuel consumption (city/highway/combined, official figures): 6,5/4,2/5,0 (liters per 100 km) or 43.4/67.2/56.4 (UK mpg)
As always, big thanks to Laura Antonov and Paula Olteanu from Citroen Romania for all their help!
Click aici pentru galeria completa: Citroen C3 Picasso
Post tags: Tags: Citroen, citroen c3 picasso
A week after we tested the Panzer tank which was the BMW 5 Series GT, we had the opportunity to try out a totally different type of model, the new Citroen C3. If the previous generation wasn’t really my cup of tea, the new one seems pretty chic, at least at first glance. But let’s see how it all went:
The first impression I got when I saw the new Citroen C3 was that it was smaller than the last gen, getting closer to the C2 (which makes sense, seeing as how the model has disappeared from the Citroen range). After checking the technical specs, I saw that things were actually quite the opposite, with the new C3 being bigger than its predecessor. But, even though it keeps the arched roof, it looks much better.
Also, throw in the Blue Belle-Ile color (the name wasn’t our idea) with the stunning Clover 17 inch wheels, and the result is excellent.
On the inside, there are two sides in terms of the equipment: the Zenight windshield and everything else. You may have heard about this new option, but what’s so great about it? It’s huge. It’s not like a regular windscreen as it is elongated, covering half of the actual roof. To put it in another way, it’s like the sunroof and the windshield decided that a strip of metal shouldn’t keep them apart and merged together. The Top Gear guys put it even better: after driving the Zenith-equipped C3, driving the rest of the cars feels like walking around with a hat on your head. At first, the experience is a bit weird, as if you look at the rear-view mirror it seems like it’s floating in mid air. After you get used to it, though, it’s stunning, to say the least. You don’t have to break your neck while looking for traffic lights or signs and you can just enjoy the ride. The only downside appear when the sun is too bright, as the car fills up with light and you can’t see a whole lot. In those cases, you can pull up the half of the roof, with sun guards and all, and the car turns back into a regular one.
The other options include everything Citroen has best: automatic climate control, parking sensors, ambient perfume (so that you don’t need to buy tiny air fresheners, you just push a button and the car smells better), satellite navigation, a great HiFi audio system, leather seats plus a great and sporty steering wheel with a bit of flat bottom. The controls on the aforementioned steering wheel are a bit weird, at first, as they aren’t actually on it, but rather behind it. It takes a bit of time until you get used to it (I realized on my second day that it has such things), but once you grow accustomed to them, they’re quite practical. It’s not all Zenith sunshine and butterflies though, as the car lacked any … cup holders! Now we’ve grown accustomed to such a downside on BMWs, but we didn’t expect such a thing from Citroen. Another drawback is the instrument panel, which has a cheap look (you think stickers are glued to it) and the handbrake lever which is placed a little out of reach.
On the road
So, we have a small car with a gasoline-powered 120 HP engine. Sounds pretty good right? Well it pretty much is. Pretty much, though. I don’t know why, but when you see the actual technical specs, you would expect a bit more (the same feeling we got from the C4 by Loeb we had this winter). Still, on the open road, it’s a bit of a sloth and isn’t as responsive as you’d expect. This doesn’t mean it’s not any good. Quite the opposite. In the city, the car was pretty awesome. The steering wheel is extremely light (at one point you’ll actually be scared not to break it), and it’s coupled with a soft steering, which makes the C3 a joy in the city. I even tried (in completely safe conditions, of course) to drive it with just one finger. As I said, it was pretty awesome and I think, leaving all misconceptions behind, that it would make a great car for the ladies (nobody will break a single fingernail while maneuvering the wheel).
The new Citroen C3 isn’t so bad outside the city either. During overtakes, it has a certain jolt which makes all the difference and the suspension is quite comfy, even on gravel roads. We had the chance to take on some country roads and the C3 offered a much better ride than even a Saab 9-3, driven by a friend.
The engine doesn’t really impress through numbers: 1.6-liter, 120 HP, 0 to 62 mph in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 190 km/h The fuel average sits between 26 and 33 mpg (US) but it depends on where you drive it. The price was €17,800 or $22,6000 (taking into consideration the €1,000 discount Citroen has on all the C3 lineup). It might seem a bit steep, but our test car was practically the top-of-the-range full option model, with the best of the best. If you’re on a budget, the entry level model, with a 61 HP 1.1-liter engine, that starts at a bit over €10k, isn’t that bad.
The new Citroen C3 is a brilliant city car (the steering and the wheel are great) and won’t embarrass you outside the urban environment, even on bad roads. If you want a sporty experience though, you might want to consider something else. Still, given its attractive looks, that might be a bit hard to do.
- the Zenith windshield
- the outside looks (wheels, color, accessories)
- the steering and the wheel
- the handling
We didn’t like:
- not that sporty
- no cup holders
- not so great fuel average, especially if you’re into sporty driving.
2010 Citroen C3 specifications:
Weight: 1,075 kg (2,370 pounds)
Engine: 1.6-liter, four-cylinder in-line engine, max power output of 88 kW (120 HP) at 6,000 rpm and 160 Nm max torque at 4,250 rpm.
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds and top speed of 190km/h (118 mph)
Fuel consumption (city/highway/combined, official figures): 37.1/58.8/43.4 (US MPG) or 8,1/5,6/6,5 (liters per 100 km).
As always, big thanks to Laura and Paula from Citroen Romania for all their help!
Click for the full gallery: 2010 Citroen C3
Post tags: Tags: Citroen, citroen c3
When BMW first announced its newest “experiment”, the 5 Series GT (or how they like to call it Grand Turismo), I was among the many who were shocked by its ugliness. Still, considering the fact that I also said that about the X6, who managed to find a place in my heart after I drove it, I was keen to drive the 5 GT and see what’s what before finally reaching a verdict. The first aspect that pops out when you glance at the 5 GT is its size. It’s really huge. The 7 Series seems like a small sedan besides this behemoth, whose snout is almost as large enough as a small city car. As such, you really have a newfound respect for BMW’s creation, even before you actually get it. But let’s get on with this review and see if the 5 GT is actually something you might like.
Like I said above, when you first see it, you’re bound to get intimidated by its size. I know I’m repeating myself but it’s THAT big. Even Bobby’s Mercedes-Benz GLK seems like a compact hatchback besides the 5 GT. From the front, the car looks a lot like the CS Concept BMW showcased some time ago. It’s imposing, sporty, aggressive … in a word, superb. Not to mention the frameless doors, which are really a nice sporty and elegant touch. I was actually thinking that if the next 6 Series will borrow cues from this car, it’s going to be a big hit. But while the front end is mighty impressive, the rear of the BMW 5 GT is what sparked so much controversy. The first time you see it, it’s actually a bit scary. You can’t actually figure out what the designers intended to do or how much they drank when they sketched it out. One thing’s for sure, the result is a bit awkward. The huge taillights (you don’t really notice until night time) also don’t really help the whole rear ensemble. The biggest problem with the exterior is that, unlike other cars, after four days it still didn’t grow on me.
The niche of the car is also a bit ambiguous, with BMW saying it has the exterior dimensions of the 7 Series and the interior space of an X5. The company also explains that it is targeted at people who can afford either of the aforementioned vehicles, but, for some bizarre reason, don’t want to drive them, and opt for something a bit more inconspicuous. But no matter how much camouflage the Bavarians could have thrown onto the 5 GT, the car is bound to attract attention. Also, as a fun fact, it can even be mistaken for an X6, which attracted even more controversy. The main idea, though, is that the four door elongated coupe look (some might say even shooting break/brake) that sorta kinda worked on the X6 doesn’t really fit the 5 GT.
If you’re a bit confused about the exterior, on the inside everything’s crystal clear: It’s identical (albeit with slight differences) with the 7 Series. Check this and this photos…besides the different shape of the dash, do you see any other differences? (the central display of the GT is smaller because it didn’t have navigation). But, of course, this isn’t a bad thing. Who wouldn’t like a 7 Series for the price of a 5er? Adaptive drive, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, full active steering, soft-close doors (meaning you don’t have to brake your arms closing the doors), a superb panoramic roof, parking sensors (no camera, sadly), LED angel-eyes headlamps and…wait for it…cup-holders!
Needless to say the interior is top notch, as expected from BMW. The seats are extremely comfortable and with like 10 different adjustment options, can be configured just the way you like them. The steering wheel is very ergonomic with the controls set around your thumbs, the iDrive is impressive and the audio system is just how it should be. I also liked the fact that there were two separate seats in the back (with a central console between them), even though others didn’t really see the point.
The boot opens in two modes, just the trunk or the whole hatchback, and features enough space for any type of hauling (like a wise man once said: “You can put three bodies in there”). A few nets or cords to secure small luggage would have been nice, as they’re bound to move from side to side if there isn’t anything else in the boot. The rear seats can be folded, fully automatic thanks to a set of controls, so you don’t have to push or pull anything. The increased space can actually be used for camping if sitting on the grass isn’t your cup of tea.
On the road
At one point, somebody asked me, really curious, if I think it’s underpowered. At first, when I heard I was going to drive the 530d variant, I wasn’t too pleased, thinking the small diesel can’t properly power the small Panzer. Well, it’s not like that, but it’s not mind blowing either. It’s right in between, leaning a bit towards the power side. The 3-liter turbo develops 245 HP which, even though the car is quite heavy, are enough for a casual drive and even a sportier one, from time to time. You can’t really compare it to the 330d I drove last year, which really impressed, but won’t disappoint. The fuel average was around 22.1 mpg (10.6 liters/100 km), over a distance of 745 miles (1,200 km), more than acceptable for such a car. The 0 to 62 mph time is 6.9 seconds while the top speed is 149 mph (at around 105-110 mph it already starts to loose its steam).
An interesting thing about this BMW 5 GT is the Adaptive Drive technology. You have four modes (Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+) which you can select (a bit too easily, some might say), which dictate the response of the steering, suspension, throttle and the gearbox ratios. In Comfort you’ll feel just like in a boat: you don’t care what happens beneath you, you can drive over tram lines at any speed and you won’t even feel the slight sway that can get you to fall asleep. It’s a pretty Zen experience, unless you take on fast turns, when the roll of the Comfort-enabled car doesn’t make you feel too safe. For those situations, you have the Sport and Sport+ modes, which unleash the fun. Of course, if you’re using the Sport+, which turns off almost all of the driver aids and you make a mistake, you’re in for some trouble. But if you’re skilled enough though, you can even force the 5 GT behemoth in a few power slides or donuts (not that we’ve tried, honest!).
As I’ve said, the car handles pretty good, but the only big drawback comes from its large booty, which makes it a pain in the arse to park. The sensors do help you a bit, but a camera would’ve been much nicer.
Even though we can’t really say for sure where the car sits (it’s a Grand Tourer, a sports limousine, an SAV), if you rest your mind and just enjoy the car, the BMW 5 Series GT won’t disappoint. Depending on you mood, the car can become a rolling yacht or a sporty “little” model. The interior is impeccable, both as space and functionality and the faces of fellow drivers when they see the car are actually priceless.
In terms of price, the 530d GT starts at €47,350, no taxes (€56,347 with VAT). The car we had, which boasted almost everything except satellite navigation, cost €63,882 without taxes and around €76,000 with VAT. A lot? Too little? For a car which wears the 5 Series name tag it may seem a lot, but considering you get a cross between a 7 Series and an X5, it’s worth it. Plus, considering the fact that other German rivals are working on their own variants on this design, like the Audi A7 or the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Break, it seems BMW is onto something big again, not that we’re surprised.
- the aggressive front end
- the flawless interior
- the great panoramic roof
- the comfy handling
- the fuel average
We didn’t like:
- the funky back
- no rear camera aka a pain to park.
BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo specifications:
Weight: 2,035 kg (4,486 pounds)
Engine: 3-liter six-cylinders, max power output of 180 kW (245 HP) and 540 Nm max torque.
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.9 seconds and top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph)
Fuel consumption (city/highway/combined, official figures): 29/42/36.1 (US MPG) or 8,1/5,6/6,5 (liters per 100 km).
As always, big thanks to Alex Seremet from BMW Romania!
Click for the full gallery: BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
Post tags: Tags: BMW, bmw 5 series gran turismo, bmw-5-series
During the winter holiday season, red is all around, so we’d thought we’d go along with the trend and test out the new Citroen C4 by Loeb this winter, which sports a Santa-style red paint. Well, the paint had nothing to do with our choice, but it was a nice touch. As a general impression, the Citroen C4 Coupe was always a car which I considered pretty interesting, but it never really attracted me, so I was curious to see what I’ve been missing out on.
Last year, the C4 received a facelift, but the changes are so small even the designers have problems saying which is which: the front end is slightly restyled, on the inside the revcounter was moved from the top of the steering wheel to the central display and new upholstery choices were added. New options like navigation system, new headlights or safety systems are now available, as well as a few new engines, developed in partnership with BMW, among which is the 152 HP 1.6-liter gasoline unit that powered the model we tested.
As I was saying, on the outside there aren’t many noticeable differences as opposed to the old model, but it doesn’t mean that the C4 isn’t attractive. The rear, at least, was love at first sight. This special limited edition by Loeb is even more attractive. Besides the bright red (Rouge Aden) paint job, the model also has two side vinyls and Loeb’s signature under each of the outside mirrors.
Besides that, the 17-inch white sport wheels are available only on this limited series. Overall, the model looks gorgeous, especially when coming out of the car wash on a sunny day.
On the inside, the first thing which pops is the sporty red and black combination, a great touch, specific to this limited edition. Other customized features include the steering wheel (which is wrapped in black leather with red stitching) and the red inserts on the gear knob or carpets, plus the aluminum sport pedals. The center console, on top of the ashtray’s lid, has a really cool plate which says “C4 by LOEB Edition Limitee No XXX”, which makes you feel very special. Of course, you don’t feel that special any more when the number is 1,359, but still, it was a great touch. But by far the coolest thing on the interior was the glass roof, which left a lasting impression on all the car’s passengers (including us). The roof is definitely worth every penny (the package, which includes the wheels too, costs 750 Euros, ~$1,100). Other features in our model were cruise control, electronic folding outside mirrors, park assist and navigation (which compared to BMW’s, for example, is pretty good even in countries like ours, which don’t have a great digital map coverage).
I also enjoyed the seats. When you first get in, they don’t strike you as sporty, and are quite comfy. You’ll actually think that maybe they made a mistake at the factory, as this more aggressive model needed rally ones, but they will give you plenty of lateral support in corners, and are great for sporty driving. The only problem with the C4 is the rear visibility, largely due to the unique design in the back (which is nice) that binds the rear window with the roof right exactly where your inside mirror needs to be pointed at. In bad weather you’ll also be cursing the back wiper which covers an insignificant amount of space, rendering it useless.
I noticed that in terms of controls, Citroen really wants to be different from everyone, by any means. First off, the steering wheel. I’ve drive other Citroen models before, and I knew about the fixed center design, but it’s still quite weird until you grow accustomed to it. Then there are the audio controls. Although the sound system is great, especially when you crank it up, this is the first car I’ve driven where if you turn the big knob on the center console, you actually change stations/songs, instead of modifying the volume (not to mention I searched for the shuffle function for quite some time). Last but not least, the digital display, a Citroen trademark, which has generated a lot of talk. Some like it, but others, myself included, aren’t really into it, because I’d rather see the classic clocks instead of this video game-like lines. But it’s not that important and hasn’t swayed my opinion about the car.
Now you’ll ask “OK, it’s a coupe, so how’s in the back?” Well, the rear space is plentiful. The access is a bit difficult, but I’ve had three people (girls, albeit) in the back and they didn’t complain. The boot is quite large, and can easily fit three people’s luggage for a winter trip.
On the road
Seeing as how I had the C4 for two weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to see what it can do. At the beginning, I was pretty disappointed. I knew it had 152 HP (yeah, it’s not a lot) but reported to the weight of the car, made me expect a sportier feel. I can’t really put my finger on it, maybe it’s the gearbox ratios or my high expectations, but the C4 by Loeb isn’t exactly rally material. Yes, when you’re not afraid to put your foot down, the car complies, but not the way I would’ve expected. I mean Bobby blasted me during a mini-drag race in our long-term Mercedes-Benz GLK (even though it has an extra 150 HP)
All jokes aside, after you get used to revving the car a bit, it’s rather fun. Also, the road handling is great. Another interesting thing is the ride height. At the beginning, knowing it was a sport-oriented model, I expected a ground height so low I’d be afraid to park it on a sidewalk, go over tram lines or hit any pot holes. That lasted until I got a closer look and saw that it has plenty of clearance, which, coupled with the great suspension, make it handle great on normal or mountain roads and you won’t really feel any pot holes.
In terms of fuel consumption, I think the C4 has room to improve. Even though I drove it a bit (just a bit) more aggressive, the average was around 9.7 liters/100 km (29.1 Imperial mpg), and in the city it was between 10.5-10.7 (26.6 Imperial mpg). Outside, on the highway, I drove for two hours on an awful snowy weather so I had an average speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), with the consumption around 7.0 liter per 100 km (40 Imperial mpg).
Frankly, I was very, very eager to see the car’s price, as I enjoyed it and thought that it would’ve been a shame to have a high price that would ruin it. But the price in Romania, including taxes, is 20,850 Euros. Is it really worth it? I don’t really know, it’s up to each and every one of you, but I think it does. The Citroen C4 by Loeb looks and handles great, has plenty of features and the only small drawback is the fuel consumption.
Now though, at least in our country, Citroen has plenty of special offers, with discounts up to €6,000, which, at least in my opinion, are great and will attract anyone on the hunt for a hatchback, especially on the smaller engine models, which go as low as 9,000 Euros (7,900 pounds or $13,000).
- the paint job (color, vinyls and Sebastien Loeb’s signatures);
- the panoramic glass roof;
- the red and black interior trim;
- the audio system;
- the seats;
We didn’t like:
- the engine;
- the fuel consumption;
- poor visibility through the rear window.
Citroen C4 by Loeb specifications:
Weight: 1,337 kg (2,948 pounds)
Engine: 4-cylinder 1.6-liter (1,587 cmc), 152 HP (112 kW) at 5,800 rpm, 240 Nm at 1,400 rpm
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.2 seconds and top speed of 212 km/h (132 mph)
Fuel consumption (urban/extra-urban/combined): 9.3 / 6.9 / 5.3 (liters per 100 km) or 30.3 / 40.9 / 53.2 (Imperial mpg)
Big thanks to Laura Antonov from Citroen Romania, which helps us with all Citroen test drives!
Click for the photo gallery: Citroen C4 by Loeb Test Drive
Post tags: Tags: Citroen, Citroen C4
The BMW 1 Series isn’t really the most popular model for the Bavarian manufacturer, as most people tend to go that extra mile and just buy a 3 Series to get a bigger boot, more space, and bigger engines range. Before I drove the 116d, I used to agree with them, but for someone who doesn’t need a sedan, the 1 Series is perfect and can more than make up with its smaller weight the relatively small engine.
The new 116d offers the smallest amount of power, taken from the very popular 2.0-liter diesel, but is also the most economical and efficient version available, when coupled with the Auto StartStop function. But as I have learned, it is more than capable of wearing the BMW badge with honor.
I’m quite fond of hatchbacks, but up until now, the 1 Series didn’t really stand out for me. After driving it for three days, now I’m always on the lookout for one. The model doesn’t really stand out with plenty of things, perhaps its low ride height, but when coupled with the Montego Blue paint scheme, it won’t go unnoticed on the street.
The style of the car was rounded off by the light alloy 17-inch wheels and the big tail pipe which made an impressive sound whenever you put your foot down on the throttle. Sadly though, you can tell that the overall design needs a revamp soon in order to attract new customers and stand out on the premium hatchback market.
On the inside, the BMW 116d impresses, but doesn’t seem flamboyant. It did have the €2,000 advantage package, which included things like Vlad’s beloved cup holders, velour floor mats, arm rest and leather inserts on the wheel and gear knob. What I enjoyed was the quality of the textile material used on the seats, and the Monaco Blue tint it had. The seats however, could’ve had better lateral support, as although the car had just 115 HP, it had a crazy amount of grip in the bends, and you needed to hold on tightly on the wheel. Another annoying fact was the handle which allowed you move the seat to the front or the back, which was sticking out from the bottom of the seat; it needs to be shortened fast as I hit my right foot a couple of times.
While pretty basic, the interior of the 1 Series does its job and makes you feel like you are in a premium car. The space is adequate in front, although your taller friends might not fit very comfortable in the back. The boot offers plenty of space, making the 1 Series a reasonable choice for a small getaway somewhere quiet. Storage spaces are plentiful, and you might find yourself forgetting a thing or two in all of those.
On the road
This is where the BMW 116d really shines. Although it outputs the least amount of power (115 HP) from the 2.0-liter diesel (the 118d gets 143, the 120d gets 177 while the 123d gets 204), it still manages to offer some thrills in the city as well as on the open road. Sadly though, one of the most annoying faults I found on the car was the gearbox, which impresses through short and sporty shifts, but is rather difficult to actually shift, not to mention trying to put in reverse. The amount of strength necessary to take it past its threshold and into reverse is very impressive, and it required quite a few tries to get it right. When you’re in a hurry to park, this “sporty” gearbox won’t help at all.
But what the gearbox fails to do, the engine supplants through low end grunt and a great sound, thanks to the aforementioned tail pipe, which thankfully doesn’t make it too loud or annoying. Coupled with the Auto StartStop function (which some people, aka Vlad, might not enjoy), the 116d is a great choice for city traffic, not to mention the fact that it claims a consumption of 5.3 liters/100 km in the city, 3.9 outside and 4.4 combined. I drove it both in and outside a very busy city, in a rather sporty manner, and the end fuel consumption after around 200 km was 6.2 liters; not bad but still a bit far from the advertised amount.
Handling-wise, the 116d really sticks to the road and is a great pleasure to drive. In case you find yourself in a safe environment, you can turn off the DCT (Dynamic Traction Control) and really go wild, as the engine can easily power the Bavarian hatchback around tight corners, largely due to the suspension, which although is a bit on the stiff side, won’t throw you from your seat in case you hit a pothole or go over some tram lines.
Overall, the BMW 116d put a smile on my face when I drove it and left me sad when I had to take it back to BMW. The hatchback handles great, had adequate amounts of power, and thanks to its plentiful technologies, will offer a great fuel economy even in the most crowded cities. While the six-speed manual gearbox might be adequate for bodybuilders, it will definitely annoy some people. Sadly though, the price is still an issue, as the car I had cost €24,704 ($37,000), without taxes.
- the engine;
- the handling;
- the audio system;
- the fuel consumption;
We didn’t like:
- the gearbox;
- no navigation or on-board computer;
BMW 116d specifications:
Weight: 1,380 kg (3,042 pounds)
Engine: 4-cylinder 2.0-liter (1,995 cmc), 115 HP (85 kW) at 4,000 rpm, 260 Nm from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 10.3 seconds and top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph)
Fuel consumption (urban/extra-urban/combined): 5.3 / 4.4 / 3.9 (liters per 100 km) or 44 / 53 / 60 (US mpg)
As always, big thanks to Alex Seremet from BMW Romania!
Click here for the full photo Gallery: 2010 BMW 116d Test Drive
With the new generation launched last year, the BMW 7 Series represents the flagship of the Bavarian carmaker and, although we’ve tested the 750i at the beginning of summer, we were very curious to see how a diesel engine would do under the bonnet of the German limousine. And not just any diesel, but the most powerful in the entire BMW lineup; now let’s see how impressed we were:
Although it was launched last year, the new 7 Series isn’t exactly the cheapest model, so the streets aren’t filled with them yet, meaning that a certain admiration is still received by the car. After the last generation, which in my opinion was a complete failure (in any way you can think of), the current 7 Series seems like a breath of fresh air. Although it still keeps the robustness (and not in a good way) of the old model, the BMW designers managed to smooth out the lines and to give it a more “human” look. When you see it (and especially after you get in), you get the impression you’ll be sailing in a boat, and not a car designed for normal traffic, in or outside the city. But, as opposed to the previous yacht, the new one resembles a speed boat.
Actually, I think that BMW tried to compromise elegance with sportiness, and managed to pull it off. The first thing that pops in is the rear end, which looks very, very good. The taillamps are quite elegant (with the mini-neons already emblematic to BMW rears), and contrast with the two sporty exhaust pipes, which let you know that you’ve got some power under the bonnet. Although the front end didn’t blow me away, you can’t help but notice the huge nose, pushed forward, giving the car a very aggressive shark look.
As I’ve said, the first feeling you get when ‘climbing’ into the 7 Series is that you’ve entered a boat. You immediately feel like a small emperor, and it ain’t so bad, to tell you the truth. Although at first sigh you might be disappointed. Why? Because one would expect, especially on the flagship, to see something interesting and different on the dashboard. Let’s take Mercedes-Benz for example…when you wake up in an S Class, you immediately know in what car you are, and don’t need to get out and look at the car to figure out if you’re not in an E or C Class. Well in the BMW, besides the finishes (fabulous), the dashboard follows the same lines as the “smaller” Series. It might be what brought BMW the best financial results last year, among the luxury carmakers, but it kinda loses the “I’m Special” feeling. And when you’re paying 113,000 Euros ($165,000) on a such a car, well you most definitely want to feel special.
But when you see all of its options, you immediately know you’re in the best of the best: heated and ventilated Comfort seats, electronically adjustable and memory for both the front and the back seat passengers, control buttons with ceramic frames, back seats with massage, the coolest wood insertions I have ever seen and digital displays for climate and trip computer (integrate quite nicely). And if we busted our hands trying to close the doors on the 750i, this model had the Soft-Close function, which means magnetic doors (for the doors and for the trunk), very useful when you’re dealing with quite heavy doors. What I also enjoyed was the fact that it was the second car, after the Mini Cooper S Cabrio, which had the cruise control buttons on the wheel, instead of the classic little lever in the back of the steering wheel. It’s very fun, and gives a PlayStation-feel when you’re adjusting the speed from the buttons, without pushing any pedals. Last but not least, the car also has … cupholders!
The iDrive is still iDrive, meaning it’s easy to use and very handy. Also, there’s a nifty little thing I first saw on the xDrive Tour a few weeks ago and eagerly awaited to try out: the Night Vision. What does it do? Long story short, it scans the area (300 meters radius) in front of the car with infrared and, depending on the heat it detects, reveals what’s in front of you, on the road. The more heat the object/person in front of the car radiates, the whiter it appears on the display. And it does another cool thing…it detects pedestrians. If one is dangerously close to your trajectory, the display flashes yellow lights to attract your attention. While it’s very fun at first, I thought it was very distracting, but after a while you get used to it and it becomes a great tool especially on roads frequented by drunks who think they own the street (like it happens here, in Romania).
I only experienced the back seats for a short time, but according to those who stayed there longer (including me) the BMW 7 Series is basically made for the back passengers. You’ve got climate controls, seat controls, massage, entertainment system, headphones sockets and displays incorporated in the front seats (sadly I didn’t have TV reception, like I did with the X6). At one point, you can choose to have all the iDrive control, so the driver can’t interfere with the music you play, for example.
On the road
If part of what I observed earlier I also saw on the 750i as well, the biggest curiosity was the road behaviour. Under the hood is a twin-turbo 3-liter straight-six engine (the most powerful diesel from BMW) which develops 306 HP (225 kW) between 1,500 and 4,400 rpm and 600 Nm of torque at 1,500 rpm. Although it’s not small, you do have to consider the car which weighs around 2 tons. But the 740d doesn’t disappoint. You won’t feel like Michael Schumacher but the power is adequate for all your needs. The car easily sprints up to 210-230 km/h (130-140 mph), but if you really want to reach the electronically limited 250 km/h (155 mph), it will struggle a bit. But you won’t really buy a 7 Series to take it racing, so in terms of normal speeds, 130-140 km/h (80-90 mph), the car will offer a smooth ride.
The handling is great, and, by far, the most interesting thing is the Dynamic Drive, which offers four driving modes: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+. You’ve got a button (quite handy), where you select one of these modes and have different settings for the gearbox, throttle response, steering response, suspension settings and stability and traction control. If you won’t notice many differences between the Comfort, Normal and Sport, the true fun lies with the Sport+ one without traction control. Practically, in that moment only a tiny bit of DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) is on, a guardian angel If you will, to protect you from hitting a tree. But besides that, you’re on your own, and considering the fact that there isn’t an xDrive system, all the power goes to the rear wheels without any hesitation. It’s pretty impressive to see a 2 ton ‘tank’ drifting and doing donuts as easily as a Honda S2000. Of course, lacking the xDrive, there are some moments when you’d want to have it, so I guess it all depends on the customers’ tastes: you want ‘no worries driving’, go for the xDrive, you want excitement, cut it off the list. And speaking of handling, besides the fact that parking it is not the easiest thing (it’s hard to control it in an underground parking, and you’ll easily occupy two spaces), the 740d is quite agile in traffic, and easy to maneuver between tight spaces.
On the other hand, when your suicidal instincts are over and you select the Comfort mode, the BMW 7 Series becomes a true yacht on wheels. Smooth ride, no noise whatsoever and you can even take it on a farming field and you’ll still have a smooth ride. You might even get so relaxed as to fall asleep, but don’t worry, you’ll soon wake up … to fuel up the car. Of course the 740d, as with all top-of-the-line new BMW, comes with the EfficientDynamics package, including the brake energy regeneration system, which uses the energy from braking and takes it back to the battery. But although the official figures say something about a combined cycle consumption of around 6.8 liters/100 km (34 US mpg), I drove around 1,000 km, half in the city half outside, and got 14 liters/100 km (16 US mpg). It’s double, but considering the power and the weight of the car and the way I drove it, it isn’t that shocking.
Although we don’t have an equal to compare it to (we haven’t tested an Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S Class or Lexus LS), but when you drive a car costing 95,622 Euros ($140,000), withough taxes (no matter what version), you expect only the best. That is what the 740d offers. Great options, good performance (not the best, but sufficient), decent fuel consumption and great maneuverability make this car a serious option for anyone in the target.
-the quality of the finish;
-Dynamic Drive, especially the Sport+ model;
- no xDrive.
We didn’t like:
-lack of dashboard identity;
-although leather-wrapped, the steering wheel is quite thin and uncomfortable;
- no xDrive.
BMW 740d specifications:
Weight: 1,950 kg (4,299 pounds)
Engine: 6-cylinders 3.0 liter (2,993 cmc), 225 hp (306 kW) at 4,400 rpm, 600 Nm at 1,500-2,500 rpm
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.3 seconds and top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph)
Fuel consumption (urban/extra-urban/combined): 9.0 / 7.5 / 6.9 (liters per 100 km) or 26 / 31 / 34 (US mpg)
As always, big thanks to Alex Seremet from BMW Romania!
Click here for the full photo Gallery: 2010 BMW 740d Test Drive
Post tags: Tags: BMW, bmw 7 series
After lots of models that have basically created new niches, BMW is now giving it a shot with a new model, the X1, and last week I had the opportunity to play with the most recent Bavarian toy. In theory, the new X1 is a compact SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle); although in practice, you don’t really know what to think about it…is it a crossover?…a ‘pissed-off’ wagon?…do I like it?…do I hate it? Well, after 4 days of driving it, here are my conclusions: (more…)
Post tags: Tags: BMW, BMW X1
It’s been some time since I left the MINI Cooper S Cabrio back with the BMW guys and I still have a big, stupid smile on my face every time I think about it. Why? Because, without doubt, it was the most fun car I drove since I started Auto Unleashed/Rpmgo. So, let’s see why I was so thrilled about it: (more…)
Post tags: Tags: Mini, mini cooper s cabrio
Facing tough competition from the more recently launched Audi A4 and Mercedes C Class, last fall BMW introduced the refreshed 3 Series, one of their most popular models. After driving its German rivals, it was time for us to take the new 3 Series out for a spin and see what it’s made of. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago, the reps from Mercedes Benz called us and invited us to the official launch of the new E Class. We always thought the E Class to be one of the most stylish luxury sedans around and we were thrilled to drive the new one, especially with Mercedes preparing a very interesting route, which meant driving around 400 miles through all kind of roads.
The new E Class follows Mercedes’ recent styling trend and, as we mentioned at that time, is heavy influenced by the Concept FASCINATION which debuted last year in Paris. The front part is more aggressive than the previous generation’s and the first you see are the new headlights (the four “eyes”), which are no longer round but have a rectangular shape. The LED daytime running lights integrated in the front bumper increase the sporty look.
The only thing we didn’t really like about the car’s styling was its rear which, though it has the Mercedes stylish touch, is not as impressive as we had hoped for (the same problem from the new C Class).
I’m sure any of us would expect the highest standards when entering one the most popular luxury sedans around. And we weren’t dissapointed at all. Leather steering wheel, heated and ventilated perforated leather seats with a lot of funtions, panoramic roof and quality materials for all the controls and the instruments. Speaking of the instruments, the retro look instruments with the aluminium background of the panel looks amazing, increasing the sporty feeling you get in the car.
One of the coolest features was definitely the active multicontour seat package which include comfort head restraints and a two-stage massage function. These seats were ‘borrowed’ from its bigger brother, the S Class, and what they do is, depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and vehicle speed, fast-acting piezo-electric valves on the air chambers in the backrests vary their pressure and volume to give the driver and front passenger even better lateral support. That amazing, especially when taking corners at high speed. You feel like the car is basically giving you a protective hug and you’ve got an incredible safety feeling.
We weren’t really thrilled with the Mercedes infotainment system, BMW’s iDrive is a lot better, but that’s not stopping us from saying the interior is top class. It was really funny, because we had, as a passenger, a friend who is editor in chief at a famous fashion magazine and he was saying he felt like a “little president” in the back. And I don’t blame him!
During the two-days test drive, I drove three different versions, the E220, the E350 BlueTEC and the E350 CDI. There’s no point in saying the E350s were the most impressive. As for the E220, the only way I’d recommend it was if you really, really care about your driving license or if you really hate speeding tickets, because otherwise it’s a quite boring engine.
So, how do you feel in the E350? Awesome! The engine is powerful enough to make you feel the “king of the road” and all the safety and handling features make you feel very, very safe, especially the active seats. Like we said, Mercedes had prepared a very interesing and diverse route, with all kind of roads, from highway to mountain roads with a lot of curves. Was there a moment when I felt the E is going to do something else than what I ask? Not one!
So, what’s the verdict on the new E Class? Well, if you have the money (and boy, you’re gonna need it) and luxury is your middle name, I’d say yes, the E Class is the car for you. But if you’re the more sporty guy, I think you’d better reconsider. One thing’s for sure, the car really made us curious about the upcoming E coupe (the former CLK). I bet that, with the right engines, that car’s going to be a huge hit. Not that the new E won’t sell well.
As for a comparison with the competition, I didn’t get the chance to drive the facelifted A6 (hello, Audi!) so I can’t say anything about the driving experience, but, comparing to it, the new E’s look is incredibly elegant. It remains to see what will happen next year when the new 5 Series will be unleashed. I bet it will be an exciting competition between sporty and elegant. Who’s gonna win? Oh, and meanwhile, we’re waiting for the E63 AMG to come out, because that’s the real beast we’d love to get our hands on.
Photo Gallery: 2010 Mercedes Benz E Class Test Drive
Post tags: Tags: mercedes benz e class, Mercedes-Benz
So last weekend I had the opportunity to test one hell of a car. Because it’s big. Really big. Huge. Did I mention it’s really big?
The Toyota Land Cruiser is a big car, everyone knows that. But Toyota Land Cruiser V8 is even bigger. So big that getting in the car can be a challenge if you’re not in shape or you happen to be shorter.
What’s there to say? It’s a huge off-roader (you can’t call it an SUV), with wheels the size of a Daewoo Tico, which doesn’t look bad but isn’t an example of perfect aerodynamics either. Honestly, I like the old version’s design better, this one looks too rough to me. It follows the latest trend in Toyota design, with the headlights sticking out (I don’t particularly like it) and the large chrome radiator grill.
It’s big on the inside, as you can expect. It can fit three rows of chairs and seven passengers, but I wouldn’t ask my friends to sit in the last row and hope they’ll still be my friends afterwards. If you’ve got kids though, it’s perfect.
The interior is full of leather and wood, the unavoidable plastic on the dashboard looks very well, but it felt inconsistent at times: you see wood on the central console, then you see aluminum, like they couldn’t decide if they wanted a sporty interior or not. (more…)
Post tags: Tags: Toyota, toyota landcruiser, toyota landcruiser v8
The Citroen C4 Picasso is an MPV (multi purpose vehicle). It’s basically a car you can use for a lot of stuff, especially for driving kids to school and carrying strollers in the trunk (which is very large, especially on the vertical). If you’re a dad who can only afford one car, this is the one you’ll want. I tested a Citroen C4 Picasso Exclusive, with leather interior, 17″ wheels, electric controls and seat memory, “Follow me home” system, electric mirrors which fold down when the car is locked…it was a full option version.
How it drives
Nothing to complain about. The car runs well, the suspensions are soft enough so you don’t feel every bump in the road. However, I didn’t like the gear box. It changes gears very strangely, with a weird bump everytime it changes gears and you need to adjust the speed from the two paddles on the steering wheel. At one point I even gave up driving with the automatic gear box and switched to manual. Honestly, it might be something I didn’t understand, but so far I haven’t seen such an automatic box and such reactions. Other than this, the car works very well, including on rough roads (we climbed a little so we could take photos).
The fuel consumption is very good. We had the 118 hp 1.6 liter HDi diesel, and the average consumption was 7.2 liters/100km (32.6 US mpg) on the highway and 8.8 liters/100km (26.7 mpg) in the city. (more…)
Post tags: Tags: Citroen, Citroen C4, citroen c4 picasso
After some time ago I had the chance to drive the Outback, now I got another car from Subaru for test drive, the new Forester. I really liked the Outback and I was expecting even more from the Forester, because I heard a lot of people saying it’s a great car. So, after I picked up the car from the dealer I decided to head to a very interesting location, the Mud Volcanoes, because I had the chance to check out the car both on highway and off-road.
The Forester’s exterior looks great. I really hated the previous generation, with that large wagon look. The interior is much more ‘spartan’ than the Outback’s. It’s true that I had the top-of-the-line Outback and a cheaper Forester, but still, I didn’t like it very much. The dashboard is ok, the buttons are ok but the instrument panel sucks (looks like they’ve jut put sticker there and not real instruments, looks really cheap). Plus that it’s obvious the car was created for off-road.
The first thing I noticed after driving it for a few miles was that it’s pretty lazy. (more…)