Archive for July 2015

BMW 435i xDrive Cabriolet

An Elite Member of a Crowded Model Family

2015 BMW 435i xDrive Convertible

 

For close observers of the automobile industry, it is impossible to miss the ongoing “wars-of scale” that will only intensify into the next decade. It is not unrealistic to expect that for a global manufacturer to survive, the production volume should be around five million units.

For luxury car manufacturers like the BMW with about two million units of production, this is a big challenge, even if the profitability of the Bavarian company is flourishing.

To increase the volume while using a common platform, BMW is doing amazingly well. In the last couple of year they created a rich variety of 3-Series, (the backbone of BMW’s model range). The 4-Series, as BMW calls it, is the coupe version of the 3-Series with two-doors. But, you can have a 4-Series Grand Coupe or with four doors. Or you can have 3-Series as Touring, Grand Tourismo and X4, as a crossover, in addition to the traditional sedan. Naturally, this multitude of variants includes a convertible version.

It is easy to power-fold the hardtop. Due to intuitive design, the trunk can accommodate up to two small weekend bags.

It is easy to power-fold the hardtop. Due to intuitive design, the trunk can accommodate up to two small weekend bags.

With regard to passenger cars, producing good sports cars is a core competency for BMW. The new model definition splits the 3-Series sedan and coupe into separate lines. Now BMW defines the coupe and convertible as the 4-Series, even though both would still share similar platforms and design. The convertible version that I tested in the cold days of early spring is, without any doubt an all-season vehicle offering the added bonus of sunny-weather show. For one week, I had to opportunity to drive an Alpine White 2015 BMW 435i Cabriolet, with xDrive all-wheel drive and the M-Performance package in Southern Ontario.

Th Coral Read Dakota leather fits well to the sporty character and the white exterior of the BMW.

Th Coral Read Dakota leather fits well to the sporty character and the white exterior of the BMW.

More than just a two-door version of the 3-Series, the “Four” has a faster roofline rake with a smaller rear deck, which reduces the look of the rear overhang. To accommodate the power-folding hardtop roof, the convertible has a flatter rear deck. Other than this, the exterior styling of the coup and convertible is practically the same.

elegant, yet simple design of the rear light units

elegant, yet simple design of the rear light units

2015 BMW 435i xDrive Convertible

Without a fixed roof, as it should be in any modern “topless” vehicle, BMW has a reinforced chassis for safety and stability reasons: A stronger windshield and roll bars to support the weight of the car in the event of a collision while achieving the high-performance people expect from a BMW with the rigidity of a “roofed” car. So, you have the same excellent chassis and suspension leading to the same ride quality and handling as in other BMW’s I drove for several hundred kilometers. You do not have to worry much about the additional weight of 234kg (or 515lb) that was necessary for these reinforcements. The engine is powerful enough to have the same enjoyment with a moderate increase in fuel consumption. In a country where the maximum speed limit is 120 km/h, that is fne.

For the ordinary observer, the 4 Series has the traditional BMW look with the front kidney grille and very similar to the 3-Series sedan. My test vehicle is equipped with the M-Performance package, with 19” lightweight wheels.

Inside, the dashboard and instrument cluster is unsurprisingly BMW designed and built around the driver. The optional Coral Red Dakota leather creates a nice contrast with the exterior colour and black plastics inside. The Executive Package includes an air collar with a vent blowing hot air to your neck. With the main controller in the centre console, it is very easy to open and close the power retractable hard top.

Although I did not have an opportunity to test it, the rear seats are more than space-fillers and accommodate two “not-so-adult” passengers of larger body types at least in short distances.

The rear trunk storage space actually happens to be quite impressive in the 435i Cabriolet. While the roof performs a lot of acrobatics to fit into the rear trunk area, there remains a usable bin running down the centre. You could – in a pinch – fit a weekender bag into there with a little space to spare. The movable divider must be in the lowered position for the hard top to operate.

BMW’s well-known 3.0L inline-six gasoline engine does an excellent job also in this car. It runs smoothly and delivering a low-end torque, and showing its capabilities instantly while accelerating. TwinPower technology, as BMW calls it, has a twin-scroll turbo with direct injection and Valvetronic variable valve lift.

The specs give you 300 horsepower from 5800-6000rpm, and a round 300 lb/ft of torque from 1200-5000rpm. And it simply feels good and powerful in acceleration and daily driving

The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, sourced from supplier ZF, arguably manufacturing the best transmissions available today. Smooth shifts without a power gap or jumps in revs make a difference. BMW’s programming gives you the options as Comfort and Sport+ mode. xDrive all-wheel drive is available regardless of your engine choice.

BMW rates the 435i xDrive Cabriolet at 12.1L/100km in the city, 8.1L/100km on the highway, and 10.3L/100km in a combined cycle. My one-week mixed-mode test drive delivered an average of around 13 liters, which is reasonable considering the very cold days of March.

Well, you can occasionally drive topless in Southern Ontario in March

Well, you can occasionally drive topless in Southern Ontario in March

And I was lucky enough to drive with folded-down hardtop under the sunny sky, even if the temperature was just above zero. It is a pity, it was not summer.

Conclusion:

A BMW means a refined automobile for “gourmet” drivers. A convertible version makes the experience more unique and more exciting.

Specifications:

Model: 2015 BMW 435i xDrive Cabriolet

Paint Type: Alpine White
Base /as tested MSRP: $69,100 /79,200

Optional Equipment:

Executive Package ($2,800) includes:

  • Air Collar
  • High-Beam Assistant
  • Driving Assistant
  • Surround View
  • Head-Up Display

Premium Package ($4,900) includes:

  • Alarm System
  • Universal Remote Control
  • Comfort Access
  • Rear View Camera
  • Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
  • Lumbar Support
  • Park Distance Control, front and rear
  • Adaptive Headlights
  • On-Board Navigation
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Harmann/Kardon Sound System

M Performance Package

  • 19″M Light Alloy Wheel, Double Spoke, Bicolour Orbit Gret
  • M Sport Brake
  • Adaptive M Suspension
  • Variable Sport Steering

ConnectedDrive Services Prof with ARTTI Package ($500) includes

  • BMW Online
  • Advanced Real Time Traffic Information
  • Concierge Services
  • Remote Services
  • Internet
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services Package

Price as Tested: $79,200

Wheelbase (mm): 2810
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4671 / 1881 / 1624

Curb weight (kg): 1873
Engine: 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six
Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5000-6500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1450-4800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic with paddle shifters
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD (xDrive)
Suspension-Front: MacPherson struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Suspension-Rear: Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Brakes-Front: Ventilated discs
Brakes-Rear: Ventilated discs

Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 11.8 / 8.4 / 10.3
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS – 245/45R19

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, , Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.bmw.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

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Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT

UNIQUNESS OR TRAP

Will the unmistakable Mustang design survive in the longer term or the retro-design approach will spell death? Time will tell.

Will the unmistakable Mustang design survive in the longer term or the retro-design approach will spell death? Time will tell.

The sixth-generation of the creator of pony cars is on the market. Mustang is thoroughly modern, but reveals its royalty to the “School of Retrodesign”.

It has the potential of provoking some debate whether or not retro design is good in the longer-term or a “cul de sac” for the continuity of an important brand (or for any brand).

I had a critical look especially while sitting inside and looking at the dashboard. The material and finishing quality is quite good but still lagging behind European rivals. It was probably due to efforts to replicate a design from the sixties, subjectively speaking. It has a character though.

Nevertheless, it would not be fair too much overemphasize the design of an automobile with a great history.

The new model family, for the first time offers 4, 6 and 8-cylinder engines. I had the privilege to test the most powerful version

The new model family, for the first time offers 4, 6 and 8-cylinder engines. I had the privilege to test the most powerful version

There are important technological changes worth looking at: After 50 years, Ford has moved to an independent rear suspension instead of a solid rear axle. With McPherson strut setup in front, the new Mustang is now a much more modern sports car. You feel the difference of 50 years when you experience the improved ride and handling.

Before driving this car, orange was not the colour I imagined with this or any other car. However during one-week driving, I not only got used to it, but I loved it. The “colour of fire” reflects the power of the V8 and the sporty character and contrasts well with the environment, in city as well in the countryside. Consequently, this is a great colour to take pictures of.

With more than nine-million-units sold for 50 years and continuously in production since 1965, the Mustang has a deep history. Ford plans to sell Mustang in Europe and Asia and wants to make the “Pony” a global brand.

The Mustang is available in both coupe (and fastback as Ford calls it) and convertible variants.

The interior and dashboard is not as good as a European sports car. But, without any doubt, it is a retro-design.

The interior and dashboard is not as good as a European sports car. But, without any doubt, it is a retro-design.

You better consider the Mustang as a two-seater. Then, you will not be disappointed.

You better consider the Mustang as a two-seater. Then, you will not be disappointed.

The fastback starts at $25,349 and the convertible is a $5k jump at $30,349. Ford offers three engine choices: the base 3.7-litre V6, a 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder or the 435 hp 5.0-litre V8 featured in my GT test vehicle.

According to Ford this is the first car to offer four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines each delivering at least 300 hp. Six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are offered. I am not a fan of manual transmission. But with this car, I simply enjoyed of having more control and closer communication with the vehicle.

Mustang is known as the creator of what is called “pony car” with a long, sculpted hood and short rear deck. And the 2015 model strongly expresses these design features with a sleeker profile, with a more steeply raked windshield and rear glass. The car also has a lower, wider stance with a reduced roof height and wider rear fenders and track.

Another feature worth mentioning is improvement is in trunk volume, which is up 19 per cent over the outgoing model to 322 liters.

Even with winter tires, the GT offers exceptionally sporty driving

Even with winter tires, the GT offers exceptionally sporty driving

Testing the pony abilities in a closed-to-traffic facility

Testing the pony abilities in a closed-to-traffic facility

In terms of practicality, a Mustang is a Mustang and you have to accept its shortcomings. With only two, “over-sized” doors and a cramped back seat, it’s definitely not your typical family car. For a guy like me weighing nearly 100 kilos jumping in and out may and does turn into a small torture especially in tight parking spots. However, once you hit the road and hear the sound of the V8 engine, complemented by dual exhausts, delivering 435 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque, you forget the pain and hope the journey never ends.

A compromise between hard-core sports car and contemporary comfort is electric steering with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. Select different modes via a button at the base of the centre stack and find the best that suits to your style. There is also a toggle switch next to it to select drive modes— Normal, Sport, Track and Snow/Wet.

At more than $58k, the Mustang GT Convertible is hardly an inexpensive ride. But it is an icon among American cars that is better than ever for 2015 and now set to take on the world as Ford continues its global outreach.

Turn baby turn...

Turn baby turn…

Conclusion

For a baby-boomer, who had youth memories with the original Mustang, driving a new one offers a thrilling and emotional experience.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle Sports coupe
Power 5.0, V8 engine ecoboost engine, 435 hp with 400 lb-ft of torque
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $42,499 / $55,449
Destination charge $1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city, highway
Standard features AdvanceTrac with electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, ABS (anti-lock brakes), hill start assist, power mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors,
Options Floor mats: $150, Engine Block Heater: $150, Security Package: $700, Adaptive Speed Control: $1,600, GT Performance Package: $3,700, Reverse Park Assist: 350, Base Recaro Leather Seats: $1,800, Navigation System: $800, Destination & Delivery: $1,575, Green Tax: $100

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by JLR Canada via BHG Media

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.ford.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

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