August 17th, 2010 by Car and SUV
In a reversal of form and by a margin of just 407 vehicles, the BMW X1 has fended off the Audi Q5 to be Europe’s highest-selling premium SUV for the first six months of 2010. BMW gladly sold 44,067 units of the X1 from January to June, compared to 43,660 units of the Q5.
The Volvo XC60 (29,616 units), Land Rover Freelander (20,138 units) and the BMW X5 (16,565) were the others in the five top selling SUVs in Europe for that time period.
Sales of the X1 have certainly not slowed down and the X1 is the cheapest vehicle in the top five premium SUVs which has clearly helped.
However, the list could get quickly rewritten once 2011 model year vehicles go on sale. This new breed could include X1 competitors from Mercedes-Benz, along with the Audi Q3 and Saab 9-4X. The MINI Countryman may also steal some customers away from the X1, even though it may not be labelled a premium SUV.
To read a Car and SUV review of the new BMW X1, click here. Read the rest of this entry »
July 28th, 2010 by Car and SUV
There was a time when Mini would show up at a rally event, kick some butt and then just cruise off into the sunset. Those days could now return. After a long break, Mini is making a comeback in the world of rallying starting next season with a Prodrive built and developed Countryman crossover. The BMW Group claims that Mini, whose Cooper model won the Monte Carlo Rally three times in the 1960s, has been planning a return to WRC for several years.
The new Countryman compact SUV gives Mini the vessel for a strong return to the WRC and complies with the new Super2000 regulations. The car will be powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged engine from BMW Motorsport and use an all-wheel drive system. Prodrive, which is most famous for running Subaru’s world championship-winning team until the end of the 2008 season, has been working on the development of the car since early 2009.
The Countryman WRC car will also be made available to customer teams and will be first tested later this year, next year the car will compete at selected rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) before completing the full series in 2012.
Prodrive boss, David Richards, said in a recent interview that the target is to win the WRC title within three years.
“The target is clearly to be competitive from the outset and we have set a target with BMW and Mini of the world title within the next three years,” said Richards.
“We [Prodrive] have got six world titles to our credit already so we’ve been there before and know what it takes to do it. We are setting about that task very meticulously.”
Neither Prodrive or Mini has not made any announcement about drivers, though there have already been rumours about Marcus Gronholm and Markko Martin as well as Mads Ostberg.
June 29th, 2010 by Car and SUV
The second generation of BMW’s modern Mini has been tearing up the streets for a couple of years now and it has just received a subtle refresh. With the exception of the newly introduced Countryman crossover, the remainder of Mini’s lineup including the hatchback, Clubman and convertible models has received a subtle facelift with fresh styling updates and new diesel engines for the 2011 model year.
All variants of the Mini have been given a new front bumper design to refresh the face and improve pedestrian protection by larger deformation zones, new light elements in the headlamps, redesigned side gill housings with indicators, restyled rear bumpers and LED tail lights now on all models. There are five new paint colors on the Mini pallete and fresh alloy wheel designs to choose from.
Inside, there are redesigned controls for the centre console, steering wheel, air conditioning and audio systems. There are new materials and colours including six new upholstery choices, and two new interior color lines for door cards and side panels.
Sitting under the bonnet, there’s an all-new 1.6-litre diesel engine that shares the same internals and variable turbine geometry as BMW’s 2.0-litre diesel units. When used in the Mini, it will be offered with two output ratings – 90HP in the Mini One D and 112HP in the Cooper D.
The diesel engine will also feature for the first time in the Mini Convertible.
The refreshed 2011 Mini will go on sale globally from September.
April 27th, 2010 by Car and SUV
March 2nd, 2010 by Car and SUV
Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk are paying a visit to the twisting streets of Monte Carlo, where they celebrated their greatest victories at the Rallye Monte Carlo in 1963/64.
February 16th, 2010 by Car and SUV
A MINI driver cruising with his cat and bulldog.
December 22nd, 2009 by Car and SUV
Four doors, four single seats, agility on all fours and the first Mini measuring more than four meters in length – the Mini Crossover Concept
December 22nd, 2009 by Car and SUV
A Mini Cooper S zips through the streets of San Francisco, shaking up a can of soda