Car News

BMW is preparing to launch a new version of its popular X5 SUV, the F15 Security Plus. To the casual observer, nothing is amiss with the X5, but to a firearm-wielding criminal bent on theft or worse, the F15 Security Plus is a rolling safehouse disguised as a BMW .

BMW will officially debut the armored X5 at the upcoming Moscow Auto Show next week, though the original concept made its first appearance in Frankfurt last year. The F15 Security Plus is designed to meet the VR6 protection level, meaning attacks from small arms fire like the AK-47, AR-15, and most hand guns will have no effect on the passenger’s health (well, save for panic or heart attacks).

Ballistic panels and glass aren’t the only modifications BMW has done to the F15. The chassis has been strengthened while the electronic management systems and brakes have been upgraded to deal with the added weight. Power comes from the twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 making 445 horsepower and 480 pound feet of torque.

This isn’t BMW’s first in-house armored vehicle. The German automaker has been producing armored versions of its 7 Series for nearly two decades. Currently BMW is producing the VR7-rated 7 Series rated to protect against more lethal threats like explosives and higher-powered rifles.

BMW will also offer a lighter, VR4-rated X5 SUV for customers looking for basic protection but with minimal changes in vehicle driving dynamics. More details are slated for release once the vehicle debuts in Moscow.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW X5 F15 Security Plus

While buying a Tesla Model S requires customers to fork out at least $69,000, owning one is more than affordable, given the fact that you don’t have to visit the gas station unless you need a sandwich and a soda. As of August 2014, current and future owners have one more reason to be happy with their all-electric sedan , as Tesla has extended the drive unit warranty for the 85 kWh sedan to match that of the battery back. Specifically, both the battery and the drivetrain now benefit from an eight-year, infinite-mile warranty.

The good news expands even further, as the rule doesn’t apply only to newly purchased vehicles. The warranty extension will apply retroactively to all 85 kWh Model S sedans ever produced. What’s more, the new warranty extends upon resale of the Tesla S too, no matter the number of owners, meaning the used-car market benefit from Tesla Motors’ gesture of generosity.

"If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that," Elon Musk explained in a statement.

The new warranty only applies to 85 kWh and 85 kWh Performance models. The former comes with 362 horsepower and costs from $79,900, while the latter carries a $93,400 sticker and cranks out 416 ponies. The entry-level 60 kWh version benefits from the same four-year, 50,000-mile warranty as before.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S.

Jaguar’s upcoming BMW 3 Series fighter, the XE, is reportedly getting a high-performance, supercharged SVR version. At least that’s what Auto Express claims, adding that the hot sedan is being prepared by Jaguar Land Rover’s recently established Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division. Although this is just an unconfirmed rumor, the scenario is very likely, as the XE lineup will require a more powerful sedan to compete against the range-topping BMW M3 .

The SVR-badged XE is reportedly set to arrive by early 2016, about one year after the regular model goes on sale. Although Jaguar has already confirmed a performance-oriented XE powered by the 3.0-liter V-6 fitted in the F-Type , Auto Express says SVO will be taking things even further and drop the company’s supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 between the front wheels. With 489 horsepower at its disposal, the XE SVR will need about four seconds to sprint from naught to 62 mph, while top speed will be electronically limited at 155 mph.

As things stand, BMW has plenty of reasons to be worried...

Note: Photo is a teaser of the Jaguar XE

Click past the jump to read about the Jaguar XE

Source: Auto Express

Launched in 1996 as a rear-wheel-drive, mid-engined roadster, the Lotus Elise replaced the aging Elan in the company’s lineup. Initially powered by a 118-horsepower, 1.8-liter Rover engine, the little roadster weighed only 1,598 pounds and was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds. More powerful iterations, including one that came with 190 horsepower on tap, were released until the first-generation model was replaced in 2001. The second-gen sports car came with revised exterior styling and a refreshed interior, while the Rover engine was dropped in favor of a Toyota -sourced, 1.8-liter four-banger. The second-gen Elise received a mild facelift in 2011, when an entry-level, 1.6-liter unit was introduced for the European market. As we’re moving closer to 2015, Lotus began testing a new version of the Elise on the Nurburgring track.

Spotted for the very first time by our skilled paparazzi, this Elise prototype appears to be a road-legal version of the track-prepped Cup R model launched in 2013.

Click past the jump to read about the Lotus Elise R

The completely redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang is no longer a mystery. The specs are out in the open and the pony car is already available for order. However, Detroit’s brand-new muscle car still has a lot of cool tricks up its sleeve, mostly consisting of performance and visual upgrades. Be it a factory-prepped SVT or aftermarket tunes from Saleen or Roush, Mustang enthusiasts are in for a lot of awesomeness over the next few months. Then there’s the Mustang RTR , one of the most aggressive-looking ’Stangs the market has to offer. Yes folks, Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s shop is getting ready to launch its own interpretation of the fifth-gen Mustang.

Looking back at past Mustang RTRs, including Gittin’s Monster Energy drifter, this is great news. Large front splitters, flared wheels arches, bespoke front grilles, and rear spoilers are only a few of the tweaks we can expect from RTR. Making things that much more exciting is the fact that RTR-prepped Mustang will become available at numerous Ford dealers around the world, enabling European and Asian enthusiasts to buy and drive them as well. Read on to find out what performance Mustang is about to go on sale globally.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Ford Mustang RTR

Jaguar Land Rover has been really working on its in-car technologies these days. Remember all the fancy self-learning software inside those Land Rovers in this video? Well, Jaguar is showcasing its own set of dashboard wizardry in the upcoming 2016 Jaguar XE with this swanky video.

With the help of animated parts exploding outward for detailed views, Jaguar’s Global Connected Car Director, Mike Bell, takes us on a tour of what we can expect from the upcoming luxury car .

The Jaguar XE will be the first of many Jaguars featuring the automaker’s "InControl Touch Infotainment system" that integrates many advanced features through an eight-inch touch screen in the dash and Jaguar’s new Plain Speech Voice Control system. The infotainment software will seamlessly connect with both Apple and Android devices for in-car integration of certain applications. An in-car Wi-Fi hotspot allows multiple devices to access high-speed Internet.

Also present is an optional laser-projected heads-up display system that shows information over the entire width of the windshield including driving directions, vehicle information, and even road sign recognition. Of course a premium audio system will be featured; this one coming from Meridian.

Protecting all this valuable technology and the entire Jaguar XE will be the InControl Protect and InControl Secure systems with the former allowing for SOS emergency and Jaguar Assistance calls to be placed without the need for a cell phone in the car while the latter allows authorities to track the vehicle should it become stolen.

Overall it seems Jaguar Land Rover is working hard on becoming the leader of in-car technology and smart phone integration. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on this gadgetry when it debuts in late 2015.

Hyundai appears to be considering entering the luxury crossover market to compete with the Lexus RX , Audi Q5 , and Cadillac SRX . That’s according to an interview Edmunds.com had recently with Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski.

However, Zuchowski says the main problem with creating a luxury SUV would be having a place to sell it. “We made a conscious decision on our premium products not to establish a secondary distribution channel,” he says. “And that decision, and we absolutely think it is the right decision, has some flow-through impact on products.”

So in other words, Hyundai doesn’t think a premium SUV or crossover would sell well within conventional Hyundai dealerships. The Korean automaker is already traveling down this bumpy road with its classy Genesis and Equus sedans, products that far exceed the Hyundai brand perception held by the general public. Hyundai does have that "dealership within a dealership" concept in use where the premium products are separated from the non-premium vehicles, but apparently the concept isn’t working well enough for it to add an SUV to the Genesis and Equus side of the showroom.

Regardless of the selling method, the SUV itself would likely be based on the seven-passenger Santa Fe . It would likely keep the same underpinnings and powertrain, but have completely unique styling and an interior that matched the luxuriousness of the all-new 2015 Genesis sedan.

Zuchowski and Hyundai appear to be stuck behind their decision to remain a singular brand and not create a secondary luxury label like Toyota’s Lexus or Nissan’s Infiniti . Zuchowski uses the example of Toyota and Lexus in selling mechanically similar products with different levels of refinement. "The RX is basically the Toyota Highlander and they can charge a premium for that vehicle because they are sold in different showrooms," Zuchowski says.

For now, Hyundai’s plans for rolling out a Lexus RX competitor are on hold, with Zuchowski implying that once a sales method has been reached, the automaker could move forward.

Note: Photo is of the Hyundai Intrado Concept

Click past the jump to read about the Hyundai Intrado Concept

Source: Edmunds

2013 was a great year for Buick . GM’s mid-level luxury brand sold a little over one million vehicles worldwide, topping a sales record that dates back to 1984. Deliveries of the Encore and Enclave models were decisive for the company’s growth, which is why Buick is adding a third crossover to its lineup as we move into the 2015 model year. Dubbed Envision, the new hauler slots between the Encore and the Enclave , in an already packed segment.

Launched on the Chinese market at first, with a North American release likely to follow for the 2016 model year, the Buick Envision comes with a couple of segment-first features. Additionally, the new crossover marks a premier for the brand, being the first Buick-badged vehicle to sport an Off-Road driving mode.

Stay tuned for the Envision’s official reveal on August 28th. We’ll be right back with additional details as soon as Buick releases them.

Click past the jump to read more about the Buick Envision

Things aren’t looking so good for Aston Martin’s future if the automaker fails to get an exemption from the U.S. government’s crash test standards regarding its DB9 and Vantage models. More specifically, both models fail to comply with the new side-impact crash standards coming into effect next month and therefore would not qualify for sale within the U.S. Bloomberg reports Aston Martin filed for an exemption for the two cars last year, but the word is still out on whether the automaker will be able to continue selling the two models without making significant structural changes to meet the higher standards.

The exemptions would allow the DB9 to be sold through August 2016 and the Vantage through August 2017. Without such leeway, the automaker could suffer tremendous financial losses to its dealer network, resulting in many lost jobs and closed franchises.

With the independently owned Aston Martin already in a tight financial bind, the automaker likely cannot afford to significantly alter the DB9 and Vantage to comply with the new legislation. Since Aston Martin isn’t a part of a larger organization of automakers, it cannot simply borrow technology or shift funds to fix the problem.

The new side-impact crash standards taking effect next month are designed to heighten a vehicle’s ability to protect occupants against impacts with solid objects such as utility poles and trees.

Click past the jump to read about the Aston Martin Vantage and DB9

Source: Bloomberg

The unique i8 hybrid sports car German automaker BMW built for the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance fetched $825,000 during Gooding & Company’s annual Pebble Beach auction. Sold ahead of the official vehicle U.S. sale date for about six time the sticker — set at $135,700 — the i8 Concours d’Elegance has set a record that’s likely to stick around for a few years.

Proceeds of the i8’s sale will go to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation, which raises funds for Monterey County youth. The foundation is known for awarding grants for arts, athletics, environmental sciences, educational organizations and community programs.

The winning bidder takes home a one-of-a-kind BMW i8 finished in a bespoke, Individual exterior color, and fitted with custom upholstery and trim accents. More importantly, he gets to drive the hybrid sports car long before it reaches North American dealerships.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8 Concours d’ Elegance Edition


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