BMW 7 Series New York Media Launch.
BMW 7 Series New York Media Launch.
BMW 7 Series New York Media Launch.
BMW 7 Series New York Media Launch.

New York.

The all-new 2016 BMW 7 Series is a sixth generation edition of the brand’s big, flagship sedan.

The new styling is another evolutionary step and still instantly recognizable as a BMW. Dimensionally this car is the same as the outgoing model, yet it has a radically new and innovative sub-structure.

And the latter, coupled with remarkable onboard technology, is what caught my attention. Today, much is unique to the 7 series but, figuratively speaking, tomorrow it will spread through the range and the day after it will doubtless be coming to a car near you!

The new 7 Series, offers a showcase of the very latest technologies that BMW has to offer, combined with more advanced forms of technologies already available. Sadly, a novel driverless “self-parking” technology (controlled by the key fob and available in Europe) has not (yet) received Canadian regulatory approval. A similar (delayed approval) story also applies to a new adaptive LED headlight option.

Another fascinating new (multi-media) feature is Gesture Control, which lets an operator do things like raise audio volume by twirling your finger, take a phone call with a finger point or wave it away with a wrist flick. An operator can also add customized gestures to trigger a function… a couple come to mind!

Pandering to the non-driving owners is an interesting optional interior first for BMW, a feature called “Executive Lounge”. A feet-up recliner in the right rear seat has a body massage feature and a multi-media experience controlled by a removable touch-screen tablet, which is mounted in a clever docking feature. Got to admit, it was rear seat test drive to savour – and yes, I do love this job!

BMW is pioneering a different way to improve body rigidity and reduce weight, explained Dr. Wolfgang Hundt, the Project Manager for Driving Dynamics & Driving Assistance. It uses carbon-fibre (reinforced plastic) in key (core) locations of the structure of the new 7 Series. An indicator of how strongly committed BMW is to the use of this ultra-light yet super-strong material is the expansion work (to triple production output) already in progress at its relatively new Moses Lake (Washington State) carbon-fibre manufacturing plant.

I was most impressed by the balance and poise of the 750i xDrive (with an M-Sport package) on the Monticello Motor Club, in up-state New York. In Sport mode the new 7 is so wonderfully light on its feet that you can very easily forget you’re behind the wheel of a big sedan. This mode drops the standard air suspension an additional 10mm and it seems to firm-up and tighten everything. The difference between Sport and Comfort modes was quite dramatic and there’s a new one “Adaptive”. It matches the vehicle set-up to the driver’s current driving style and a profile of the route ahead, by talking to the navigation system.

A redesigned optional Integral Active Steering system can now be offered in conjunction with the xDrive all-wheel drive system. It can turn the rear wheels in the same or an opposing direction as the front wheels to increase manoeuvrability in urban traffic and agility at highway speeds.

The extremely rigid body structure is a ground-breaking marriage of steel, aluminum and carbon-fibre (core) members. The end result is a 7 Series with a much lower centre of gravity and close to perfect front/rear weight distribution.

The 750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive editions will soon be arriving in Canadian BMW dealer showrooms. A BMW 750i xDrive model will have a starting MSRP of $113,900, and a long-wheelbase 750iL xDrive at $117,900. Pricing, which should be lower, for the 740 editions will be announced closer to market launch next year.

A redesigned 4.4 litre V 8 engine with TwinPower Turbo technology can produce 445 hp and rocket a 750i to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds (according to BMW). It’s teamed with an eight-speed automatic and a new version of BMW’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system in the 750i xDrive.

BMW’s venerable 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder engine, which now also features TwinPower Turbo technology, will power 740i xDrive and 740Li xDrive editions. A plug-in hybrid 740e xDrive will also join the model lineup in 2016. Its 2.0-litre gas engine is paired with electric drive unit that’s integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and it comes with a lithium-ion battery pack.

Drives-U-Crazy-Logo (1)Port Coquitlam reader Glenn Elliott comments, “In New York, it is against the law to honk unless you are ‘warning of impending danger.'”

Let’s do the same here for improved safety, instead of honking at drivers for their mistakes!

What drives-u-crazy?

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“The New York Show didn’t offer much that is truly new and exciting, with a number of manufacturers seemingly drawing on their heritage for clues to the future.”

Chevrolet has introduced the all-new 2016 Malibu at the New York Auto Show.

Buoyed by the critical and sales success of its full-size Impala, Chevrolet set about creating a mid-size Malibu with same visual and performance appeal.

The proof will be in the driving, of course, but on first sight at the Javits Center, the GM marque may just have another winner.

The new Impala, set to arrive in showrooms in the latter part of this year, will feature an all-new, Ecotec 1.5L turbo as the standard engine, with an estimated highway fuel efficiency of 6.3 L/100 kms. A hybrid version is expected to sip a miserly 4.9 L/100 kms.

The Ford Focus RS is a year away from production but that didn’t stop Henry’s company teasing show goers with a pre-production version.

It’s a high-performance road car in a small package. The third-generation high-performance hatch features a 2.3-litre EcoBoost® engine delivering well in excess of 315 horsepower, along with the most powerful Ford RS braking system ever. Its dramatic exterior design offers optimized aerodynamics and cooling, with 9 percent less drag over the previous model. By the way, it is equipped with selectable drive modes – including industry-first drift mode as well as launch control! Make a note not to follow one on the freeway.

Chrysler is the king of nostalgia, sorry FCA – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Anyway, in the past ten years or so they have produced cars for today that are reminiscent of yesterday. There have been some successes and the less so have quietly gone away. Do we remember the PT Cruiser?

By all rights, the big Chrysler 300 should have been ripe for Dodo status but it keeps coming back for more. And, I have to admit there is something majestic about the big bruiser.

The new 2015 Chrysler 300 is more fuel efficient than ever but let’s not pretend. The 3.6-litre Pentastar engine is for those that love to cruise and the 5.7-litre HEMI V8 is for the road trip of a lifetime.

The new 300S is a show off. It has unique blacked-out accents, large 20-inch Hyper Black finish wheels, more athletically sculpted side sills, unique deck-lid spoiler and a higher output Pentastar V-6 engine with 300 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque, plus Sport mode and paddle-shifting capabilities now as quick as 250 milliseconds

Scion is expanding its line-up this fall to include its first-ever sedan in the shape of the 2016 Scion iA. The car has a sporty look though I’m still not enamoured with the Toyota-Lexus-Scion gaping front design, which just seems unfinished to me.

A quick-revving, high-compression 1.5-litre engine with 106 hp, matched to a choice of either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions, should get the blood coursing. The price tag will be under $20,000.

The Beetle began arriving in North America in 1949; the first two arriving not too far from today’s show in the Big Apple. Volkswagen is showing four Beetle concepts, all of which have traces of the past heritage and offer a glimpse of what might be next.

The Beetle Pink Color Edition, painted entirely in Pink Metallic, was designed for the style-conscious says VW. The Convertible Denim has a denim-look soft top and a matching Stonewashed Blue Metallic body color. The Beetle Convertible Wave is an open-top four-seater and the Beetle R-Line is all about performance – not something, you could ever attribute to the early Beetles!

The New York Show didn’t offer much that is truly new and exciting, with a number of manufacturers seemingly drawing on their heritage for clues to the future. Maybe that’s not so bad.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Hyundai would like to put a serious dent in the Toyota Camry success story with its own mid-size sedan – the redesigned Sonata…

NEW YORK, New York.

There was more sizzle in my New York steak dinner than on the show floor at the Big Apple’s international auto show.

It seems the Big Four shot their lightning bolts at the preceding Detroit and Los Angeles auto extravaganzas and left it to the import manufacturers to dazzle here.

Nissan did not disappoint with the unveiling of a classy looking crossover in the shape of the all-wheel drive 2015 Nissan Murano. The mid-size model first showed up in 2002 and this new model marks the birth of the third-generation. The Nissan-named V-Motion nose and boomerang-shaped taillights ensure it makes an impression on the observer, coming and going, and distinguishes itself from its rivals.

Inside, up to five passengers can expect more of a luxury ride than they might have enjoyed in the outgoing version – heated and cooled front seats will impress those upfront. The trend in this segment to include huge sunroofs continues here.

Under the hood, Nissan stays with the trusty 3.5-litre six-cylinder powerplant matched to a continuously variable transmission. Expect to see the Murano in the showrooms at the tail end of the year.

Before moving on, the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept should be mentioned as it offers a clue to what the new Maxima might resemble. And boy, is it a looker despite the horrible orange colour of the show car! It too features a panoramic roof stretching almost from the windshield to the rear window. A production model version is expected later in the year, which suggests the L.A. show might benefit from that timetable.

Any new Toyota Camry is an instant hit, especially in North America where it’s been the best selling car for 12 years. Despite that, the Japanese manufacturer launched an all-new 2015 model, just three years after introducing a redesign.

It incorporates design touches now appearing in sibling models, including a deeper grille that more resembles an upmarket Lexus. Interior materials are upgraded and a large central display matches the design trend of its competitors. Two trims are added; a sporty XSE with some luxury touches and a Hybrid SE. Toyota sticks with its 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, and 3.5-litre, six-cylinder engines plus its Hybrid Synergy Drive.

Hyundai would like to put a serious dent in the Toyota Camry success story with its own mid-size sedan – the redesigned Sonata. It’s likely the introduction of a sharp looking Sonata in 2011 helped prompt Toyota into taking a serious look at upping the ante in the Camry. Other competitors have also risen to the challenge. Now the seventh-generation, newly styled, sharper looking 2015 Sonata raises the bar again with improved ride and handling plus advanced driver assistance and safety equipment.

Unlike the Camry, the Sonata stays with purely four-cylinder engines. Standard is a 2.4-litre power plant and a turbocharged 2.0L four is an option.

The one domestic manufacturer that did show up with something more exciting than the rest was Jeep, which introduced the compact Renegade. It is the iconic brand’s first foray into the small SUV segment.

Its funky looks and fuel efficiency should make it an urban dweller hit but it also boasts best-in-class off-road capability, which may just bring in buyers from the growing outdoor adventure seekers.

Two engine choices: a 2.4-litre Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 paired to the segment’s first nine-speed automatic transmission, or a 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine with six-speed manual transmission.

Prices for all of the above closer to launch when pencils have been sharpened and each figure out how they can undercut competitors!

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Sure, this was published all the way back on November 8, but it’s hard to get enough…

Mercedes is making waves for 2014. It’s CLA has already impressed the heck out of our own car guy, Zack Spencer.

And its new E-Class looks fit for a drive from the bustle of New York City to the luxurious lapland of Montauk.

You know, if you’re in that area.

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