Chrysler 300C wagon faces extinction

October 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Some said it looks like a hearse others said it was the ugliest thing they’ve seen since Paul Holmes went on Dancing with the Stars – it’s the Chrysler 300C wagon. Although it never appealed to all tastes it did gain a substantial following and there will be some that are sad to hear that a wagon variant won’t be offered with the new 300C model.

Chrysler-Lancia CEO Saad Chebab said in a recent interview that the 300C wagon’s sales in the States weren’t enough to justify the development costs of a five-door version of the platform. Apparently the 300C Touring had proved more popular in the U.K and Europe than it did in the States. Continue reading “Chrysler 300C wagon faces extinction” »

BMW 535i Touring 2011 Review

May 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Picking the wagon body style over a sedan is a decision that could be made for a variety of different reasons. A big dog could be the cause; moving large equipment for a hobby could be another need for the extra space. The price of the more practical wagon body shape traditionally was paid in aesthetic appeal. But for anyone who believes that wagons are still the ugly siblings of sedans needs to take a look at the BMW 5-Series Touring. Car and SUV spent a week enchanted by its free flowing design and its executive cruiser meets family workhorse attitude.

While the recent popularity of SUVs and crossover vehicles has pushed low-slung wagons on to the endangered species list the 535i Touring shows real evolution of the body style. While we’ve had plenty of BMW’s current range for review at Car and SUV headquarters, no other model has generated as much interest and admiration as the 535i Touring. Our test machine was glamourised over the standard model by the optional M Sports package ($8,350). This upgrade sees a more aggressive body kit fitted, lower sports suspension and eye-catching 19-inch M-Light alloy wheels. If you want to give your BMW wagon some serious road presence the M Sports package is the way to go. Continue reading “BMW 535i Touring 2011 Review” »

2011 Bentley Continental GT unveiled with updates and optional V8

September 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Bentley Continental GT represents just the second generation of the popular coupe since it was introduced back in 2003. Back then it represented the first step in Bentley’s renaissance and helped define a whole new market segment. It was a luxury GT offering solid usability that retained much of Bentley’s grand touring spirit.

Now the new Continental GT 4-seat coupe builds on the success of its predecessor, with refreshed design and updated engineering, luxury, craftsmanship, dynamic performance, everyday practicality and refinement.

A  sculptured new body gives the GT coupe a more defined appearance. There are more prominent front guard lines that roll over the headlights and into a more-upright grille, a more pronounced grille treatment that pushes itself into the lower intake, LED running lamps surrounding the main headlight elements and a double-horseshoe rear-end treatment inspired by the Mulsanne.

Inside the cabin apparently offers new levels of design, comfort and hand-crafted luxury. There’s a sleeker dash and climate-controlled seats that provide more legroom. There is also a new touchscreen infotainment system featuring state-of-the-art navigation, Google Maps and entertainment while playing the tunes is the latest Balanced Mode Radiator speaker technology and Dirac Dimensions digital sound processing which delivers enhanced audio quality.

In terms of power there has been a boost in horses with Bentley’s 6-litre, 12-cylinder, twin-turbocharged powertrain raising output to 423kW and 700N of torque and this is mated to a new Quickshift transmission which enables double downshifts. Thanks to advanced FlexFuel technology it can also run on both standard unleaded petrol (gasoline) and sustainable bioethanol (up to E85) or any mix of the two.

Continue reading “2011 Bentley Continental GT unveiled with updates and optional V8” »

2011 BMW 5-Series Touring revealed (+video)

March 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has unveiled the 2011 5-Series Touring, before it is officially revealed at the upcoming Leipzig Motor Show.

Set to join the rest of the new 5-Series range by going on sale this September in Europe, the 5-Series wagon will feature Dakota leather upholstery, matt aluminum roof rails, Park Distance Control, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Luggage capacity has been increased to 560 litres and with the rear seats down extends to a huge 1,670 litres.

From launch in Europe, four different engines will be available. The 520d with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with 181 bhp (135 kW) and 380 Nm of torque. It will get to 100 kph in 8.3 seconds, before topping out at 222 km/h. By utilising an engine Start/Stop system, the 520d has a combined fuel consumption of just 5.2l /100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 137g/km.

The other diesel option is a straight-six turbo engine, with 242 bhp (180 kW) and 540 Nm of torque, the 530d will accelerate from 0-100 kph in 6.4 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. It is also relatively frugal thanks to upgraded piezo-injectors, averaging a combined 6.3l /100km.

When it comes to petrol engines, BMW is offering the 523i and the 535i. The 523i has a naturally-aspirated engine with 201 bhp (150 kW) and 270 Nm of torque. It allows the wagon to accelerate from 0-100 kph in 8.2 seconds, before reaching an electronically-limited 250 km/h.

The 535i has a turbocharged 3.0-litre engine with 302 bhp (225 kW) and 400 Nm of torque. It gets to 100 kph in 6.0 seconds flat and has an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. With the optional eight-speed automatic transmission, the 535i consumes a combined 8.5l /100km and emits 197 g/km.

Spec sheet options include Adaptive Drive, Park Assist, Active Steering, Surround View, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning, Speed Limit Info, and two rear entertainment packages.

To see images of the 5-Series Touring and a video click on the link below.

Continue reading “2011 BMW 5-Series Touring revealed (+video)” »