Archive for August 2016

2017 BMW 650i XDrive Cabriolet

 

 

2017 BMW 650i XDrive Convertible

 

Overview

First things first: With the technology and built quality available today, I would never choose a soft-top for a luxury convertible like the BMW 650i xDrive with a price tag of $126,000.

I appreciate BMW’s efforts to save a bit weight by using the traditional fabric soft-top. However, for a highly exclusive car sold to a limited number of lucky and rich customers, a metal hard top would provide far better insulation in terms of weather and noise. The good thing is that you can operate BMWS soft-top up at speeds up to 40 km/h. Although I did not take an instrumental measurement, it closes and opens in less than half a minute.

2017 BMW 650i XDrive Convertible

 

I drove the 650i on different highways of Southern Ontario up to the speeds of 110 km/h. It becomes noisy when sharing the busy driving corridors like the 401 or the QEW with so many other vehicles, trucks and lorries included. A far better choice would be to navigate the relatively empty side roads instead of highways. That’s the pure joy of driving a topless car. I drove from Burlington to Dundas and Ancaster via Wilson Street through the forest and enjoyed it. Still worth mentioning is the rear glass window that can be lowered or raised independently of the roof and aids in circulation and blockage of wind.

The biggest convertible that the Bavarian company produces shares-to your surprise-the platform of the 5 Series. At the first glance, you would probably thing it is a shortened version of the majestic 7 Series. The 6 is wider, but a bit shorter than the 5. The proportions are impressive and the elongated hood whispers a big power plant inside.

This car is one of the three body styles in the & Family: The other two being a two-door coupe, a four-door coupe.

One of the things I loved most in this car was the Tanzanite Blue paint (as part of the BMW Individual customization program). Dark colours look much better with luxury cars. However, white leather inside is not my first choice.

2017 BMW 650i XDrive Convertible

 

BMW processes the convertible’s leather seats and steering wheel with a special pigment that reflects direct sunlight and keeps the upholstery surfaces nice and cool on a hot summer day. The days of my driving were not so hot, so I could not evaluate well this feature during my limited days with the Bimmer.

Interior

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The driver focused cabin design of the ultimate driving machines hasn’t changed much over the decades with a legible, not-complicated dashboard angled towards the driver. The two-tone leather finish is a brilliant example of high-quality craftsmanship and costs $5,900 extra for Full Merino Leather. The 2017 version of iDrive is, easy-to use, non-distracting and a textbook example of how a feature can be developed to perfection over the model generations. Wireless charging, and Wi-Fi hot spot are not-any-more luxury features for this high-tech 21st century vehicle.
As a family of four, we never drove in this Bimmer at the same time. Even if we would have done so, I do not think this would be a great driving experience. The convertible’s rear seats are for kids at the best and for us, those years are long over. In urgent cases, for example, if you pickup your friends on the road, you can make a sacrifice and squeeze the front seats towards the dashboard. Add to this the narrow trunk, it is obvious that this oversize convertible is not for a “loaded long” drive, even for two.

Driving Impressions

2017 BMW 650i XDrive Convertible

Men, this is a BMW. And the blue-white brand from Bavaria stands for, among other things, for pure driving pleasure. And it doesn’t disappoint. The 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 delivers 445 hp at 5,500 rpm and a torque of 480 lb-ft in the range of 2,000 – 4,500 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission transfers this huge power to the asphalt. The steering is precise (the setup changes per the driving mode, but is always great). You are not wrong if you think you are commanding a smaller vehicle than it actually is. However, this driving pleasure has its downside too:

With all-wheel drive and a curb weight of 2,105 kg, we reached an average consumption of 15,6 liters. To reach this consumption, I drove the car for 658 km’s and mainly on the highway. Don’t worry. If you already afforded one, the price at the gas station will not bother you much.

The interaction between the engine and transmission is impressive and with short accelerations (only) could I test the capabilities of the powertrain. Men, you should be on German highways to fully enjoy this giant toy. With firm road holding, superb acceleration, wide footprint and very trustable brakes, this machine is under your control at any time.

There are five driving modes to choose from: Comfort, Sport, Comfort+, Sport+ and Eco Pro. The optional Adaptive Dampers ($2,500) are required to fully experience and differentiate between these driving modes. It is questionable if somebody needs so many options. However, this car is the expression of luxury and luxury means simply “excess of something that you do not absolutely need.”

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Conclusion:

This vehicle is good for you, if you have funds to spend to experience what today’s automotive technology can offer in comfort and safety, that you might see even in ordinary cars tomorrow.

The top classes of luxury German cars, whether the S Class of Mercedes or 6 Series of BMW, have always been the pioneers of the latest technologies that were available later in more mainstream models of these brands.

 

Specifications:

Model: 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet

Paint Type: Tanzanite Blue Metallic ($1,000)
Base Price: $111,500

Price as Tested: $126,800

Optional Equipment:

M Sport Edition: $8,400

20″ performance wheels with RFT tire, soft close doors, M Sport Package, Rear View Camera, Without Exterior lines Designation, Ventilated Seats, Active Seat for Driver/Passenger, Comfort Seats Front, Contrast Stitching, Leather Instrument Panel, Ceramic Controls, Active Blind Spot Detection, Driving Assistant, Surround View, Head-up Display, Active Blind Spot Detection, Driving Assistant, Sirius XM Satellite Radio Tuner, Harman/Kardon Sound System, Wireless charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB, Multifunctional Instrument Display, WiFi Hotspot, M Leather Steering Wheel, M Aerodynamics Package, High-Gloss Shadow Line, M Sport Edition, High speed maximum with performance tires, Speed Limit info, Nappa Leather

Stand Alone Options:

Individual Paint: $1,000

Full Merino Leather: $5,900

Wheelbase(mm): 2,855
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,894 / 1,894 / 1,365

Curb weight (kg): 2,105
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
Horsepower: 445 hp @ 5,500 – 6,000 rpm
Torque: 480 lb-ft @ 2,000 – 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD

Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 14.8 / 9.6 / 12.5
Actual Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 15.6

Tires: Front 245/35R10; Rear 275/30R20

Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars, Burak 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 permitted.

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2017 Ford Escape SE 4WD

On The Solid Ground With The Second Bestselling Ford

An already good design gets better: The new grille has active grille shutters

An already good design gets better: The new grille has active grille shutters

We all know that compact SUV’s in Canada and the USA constitute the fastest growing segment.

To the south of the border, as of the end of September, Ford sold 234,764 units trailing Honda CR-V (263.493), Toyota RAV-4 (260,380) and Nissan Rouge (241,169).(1)

In the same period, sales of compact cars in the USA dropped by 5.5.per cent (1,626,933 units sold) while sales of compact crossovers increased by 5.7 per cent.(1,894,585 units sold).(2)

If any automaker does not have a product in this segment, it is simply out-of-the game. Logically, all major players put their best efforts to compete with great products.

Ford, not surprisingly is one of the strongest players in this segment. Almost a decade ago, when Ford launched its new, product-focused strategy with Allan Mullaly, SUV’s were already strong pieces of the portfolio. With 47K units sold in 2015, the Escape is the second best-selling Ford after F-150 in Canada.

 

The 1.5L Ecoboost engine with direct injection and turbo charging represents the new reality: Smaller displacement and power on demand via turbo. Sensitive driver feel the lack of bigger engine volume, even if occasionally.

The 1.5L Ecoboost engine with direct injection and turbo charging represents the new reality: Smaller displacement and power on demand via turbo.
Sensitive drivers feel the lack of bigger engine volume, even if occasionally.

The dashboard is not all new, but refined with higher quality materials and more storage space

The dashboard is not all new, but refined with higher quality materials and more storage space

The instrument cluster is not overly complicated and well designed.

The instrument cluster is not overly complicated and well designed.

The current generation of Escape was introduced in 2013 not gets a face-lift as 2017 model. The already attractive design with very good proportions got a boost with the new grille with active grille shutters.The new head-and taillights also give Ford’s compact SUV a fresher look to better compete with new entrants.

The 19" black wheels with low-profile tires give a sportier look but do not fit well to the vehicle

The 19″ black wheels with low-profile tires give a sportier look but do not fit well to the vehicle

The trunk capacity behind second row is 964L and good for this class

The trunk capacity behind second row is 964L and good for this class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Better, What Is Worse

For me, the most important improvement is Sync-2, the new infotainment system which is more user-friendly and functional with capability for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

To be honest, 19” black wheels to not fit well to the rest of the vehicle. Not because they are not gorgeous. However, I had the impression the Escape, in its entirety does not look so sporty (despite the SE Sport Appearance Package) and these wheels look as if they are aftermarket installed.

Narrower taillights are among the design changes for the 2017 model year face-lift and give the Escape a broader stance

Narrower taillights are among the design changes for the 2017 model year face-lift and give the Escape a broader stance

Conclusion:

The Escape was and is a strong and reliable choice in this highly competitive segment. And for anybody shopping around in this segment, opting for this vehicle would hardly be a mistake.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: Compact size SUV
Engine: 1.5 liter, Ecoboost Engine, 179 hp of power, 177 lb-ft of torque, with direct injection and turbo-charging
Transmission: Six-Speed, SelectShift Automatic Transmission
Price (base/as tested): CAD 31,999 / 38.329
Destination charge: CAD 1,690
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): city; 10.2 highway;7.8 combined; 9.1
Optional features: Equipment Group 201A: 1,550.00

(SE Convenience Package, Rear Paring Aid Sensors, Roof Side Rails, Balack Sync 3, Tonneau Cover, Power 10-Way Driver Seat, Sync Connect)

2.0L ATK IVCT Engine, CVT Transmission & P225/50R17 Tires and are standard

Optional Equipment Other:

Power Liftgate: 500.00; Twin-Panel Moonroof: 1,750.00; All-Waether Floor Mats: 150.00; Voice-Activated touch-Screen Navigation:: 800.00; SE Sport Appearance Package: 1,500

Total Other Options: 7.050.00

Destination & Delivery: 1,600

Total Price as Tested: 38,139.00

(1), (2): Automotive News

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

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

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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Ford C-Max Energi SEL

Ford C-Max Energi: The Best Of Two Worlds?

 

The C-Max is good both for urban and highway driving

The C-Max is good both for urban and highway driving

The internal combustion engine is one of the most successful and longest lasting technological applications. The improvements in efficiency, performance and reliability continue for decades and apparently still for a while. However, at one point, we will say “Good Bye” to fossil fuels and fully embrace to electro-mobility. This means a long transition. And nothing better than a hybrid car symbolizes this transition.

Based on the universally successful Focus, Ford’s C-Max combines the reliability and anxiety-free range of a gasoline engine with the futuristic hybrid technology.
Charge your car fully by planning in advance, and depending on your route planning, you may not visit a gas station for weeks even months. Or to cope with any uncertainty and route volatility, drive your car just as a traditional gasoline vehicle. you can drive in electric only mode up to 65 kilometers, thanks also to regenerative braking. The seamless transition between gasoline and electric power makes driving more enjoyable. Forgive the extra space in the trunk occupied by the battery.

 

The ability to monitor the power flow makes you a more engaging driver. This was at least my impression.

The ability to monitor the power flow makes you a more engaging driver. This was at least my impression.The new Sync 3 is better and more user-friendly

Ford's configurable dashboard is customized for hydrid vehicles and used accross several Ford and Lincoln models

Ford’s configurable dashboard is customized for hydrid vehicles and used accross several Ford and Lincoln models

 

With a standard 120V power cord,, you can charge the C-Max overnight. A quick recharge in 2,5 hours requires a 240V-home charging station.

With a standard 120V power cord,, you can charge the C-Max overnight. A quick recharge in 2,5 hours requires a 240V-home charging station.(Archive picture)

 

The combination of a traditional gasoline engine and an electric motor is a good transformation before battery-electric vehicles

The combination of a traditional gasoline engine and an electric motor is a good transformation before battery-electric vehicles

During our one-week test drive, I had and average of 4.1 liters, with more city than highway driving.

During our one-week test drive, I had and average of 4.1 liters, with more city than highway driving.

To me, as a temporary driver of this vehicle is the ability to use HOV lanes also as solo

To me, as a temporary driver of this vehicle is the ability to use HOV lanes also as solo

Conclusion

Ford Focus C-Max a solid and comfortable vehicle, fun to drive. You have to decide if the premium for hybrid over gasoline engine makes sense. And it depends on your annual mileage and also driving style. Realistically, very fews people choose an hybrid or a full-EV, just to save to world, but because it makes economic sense for those people.
Do your homework, do the math and decide.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: Compact size high-roof Hatchback
Engine: 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle hybrid engine, 141 hp of power, 129 lb-ft of torque. Permament magnet AC synchronuous EV motor with 7.6 kWh Li-ion battery
Transmission: Electronic, continuously variable transmission
Price (base/as tested): CAD 31,999 / 38.329
Destination charge: CAD 1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): city; 9.7 highway;7.6 as-tested; 10.6
Optional features: Equipment Group 303A: 3,695.00

(Premium Audio & Navigation Pkg, Hands-Free Technology Package, Power Liftgate, Rearview Camera, Keyless Entry/Start/Tailgate, Parking Technology Package, Active Park Assist)

2.0L ATK IVCT Engine, CVT Transmission & P225/50R17 Tires and are standard

Charge-Cord-Bag (Dealed-installed: 85.00; Stainless Steel Scuff Plate: 150.00; Exterior Protection Package: 300.00; Charge-Door Graphic: 75.00)

 

Total Other Options: 4.730.00

Destination & Delivery: 1,600

Total Price as Tested: 38,329.00

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

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

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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Ford Focus EV

The Joy And Pain Of Driving Pure Electric

With a standard, 120V home outlet, a full-charge takes up to 20 hours.

With a standard, 120V home outlet, a full-charge takes up to 20 hours.

No matter what you think about electric vehicles as of today, The Focus EV will give you a good idea about the capabilities and shortcomings of those vehicles.
At first sight, the Focus Electric is very similar to its gasoline-powered sibling. A 107 kW (143-hp) electric motor drives the front wheels. And that’s it. You do not have a conventional engine that kicks in when battery is depleted, nor a range-extender. Just you, your car and your battery.

The estimated range is 76 miles or 122 kilometers per charge; so you have to use your driving “budget” sparingly.

For the 2017 model, Ford promises a 100-mile (160 km) range which means an improvement of over 30 per cent.

The 107 kW engine delivers sufficient performance in the city or on highway.

The 107 kW engine delivers sufficient performance in the city or on highway.

Except the “range anxiety”, you enjoy the well-balanced chassis and the interior comfort of the world’s best-selling compact car. Worth noting are the leather-front (and rear) seats. Another face of reality pops up when you open the trunk: The battery impinges on cargo room.

You can watch how the painfully long stored power flows and moves you.

You can watch how the painfully long stored power flows and moves you.

This is your maximum driving budget. Use it sparingly

This is your maximum driving budget. Use it sparingly

On The Road

During our one-week drive, I did not attempt to test this car to its range limits, but managed to drive 108 kilometers (in one trip) without any problems, most of it on the highway and between 100 and 120 km/h. To compensate the increased aerodynamic drag at highway speeds, I pulled my foot from the gas pedal watching the regenerative power, but apparently it had limited help. As the driver of a green vehicle, I had the permission to use the HOV lane between Mississauga and Burlington as solo, otherwise, I wouldn’t dare to immerse into the busy evening rush-hour traffic at the QEW and 403.

As a green vehicle, you can drive your Focus EV in the HOV lanes even if you drive alone

As a green vehicle, you can drive your Focus EV in the HOV lanes even if you drive alone

The upside is the driving pleasure: Unique to EV’s, the torque is instantly and linearly available and as you hit the accelerator, you enjoy the feeling of commanding a sports vehicle, sort of.

The charging time with the standard 120-Volt circuity is around 20 hours. So, you better have a second car, if you plan to take your wife for dinner and opera. Or your plans for the next day’s commute will change wildly.

If you have as to 240-Volt charging facility, a full-charge is possible in less than four hours and this may save you days during your ownership.

Even with this significant improvement for the next model year, this blue-oval faces big challenges. Remember GM’s upcoming Bolt with a promised range of 200 miles doubling the Blue Oval’s promise.

However, do not underestimate this car and Ford, the brand name behind it. The automaker recently announced it’s investing $4.5 billion in battery development over the next few years, with a commitment of bringing no less than 13 new electric vehicle nameplates to its global lineup by 2020.

the Focus EV comes standard with the new SYNC3 enhanced voice recognition communication and entertainment system; this includes a new touchscreen that allows you to swipe to change content in the same way you do with a smartphone. My experience with SYNC3 was very positive.

2016 Ford Focus EV

Conclusion

Obviously, the Focus EV is not a sales champion. This is a car for trailblazers, pioneers or pure environmentalists, who want to experience the early stages of a full-electric car.

And if you have a pretty well-defined daily route between home and work within the humble range of the EV, you will probably love this car.

And with a price tag that may go up well north of 30,000 mark (before provincial and federal incentives), you have to do your math.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: 5-Door Compact-size Harchback
Engine: 107 kW Electric Motor,
Transmission: 1-speed, automatic transmission
Price (base/as tested): CAD 31,999 / 35.624
Transportation & Handling: CAD 1,600

Optional features:

White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat: 550, Leather Bucket Seats: 1,000, Exterior Protection Package: 300, charge Door Graphic Tag: 75

Total Price as Tested: 35,624

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

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

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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