Wednesday, 25 May 2022

BMW recently announced the BMW Concept XM, a new vehicle concept that looks ahead to the most powerful BMW M car ever to go into series production, which is set to begin at the end of 2022. Electrification underpins a driving experience which allows the driver to both glide along in near silence and enjoy the engaging pleasure of high performance driving, M-style. The BMW Concept XM provides a preview of the new front end design for BMW’s forthcoming luxury-class models. It also introduces a highly progressive and distinctive take on BMW X model design, and an all-new form of luxury and sense of space for the interior.
 
The series-production model – the BMW XM – will begin production at the end of 2022 at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. BMW M will be introducing its first standalone vehicle since the legendary BMW M1 in the year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.  The BMW XM will be available only as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and exclusively as an M model. 
 
The exterior styling of the BMW Concept XM reflects the vehicle’s exceptional performance attributes: power, agility, and precision, plus an all-electric range of up to 80 km (WLTP) and up to 30 miles (preliminary estimate, not an official EPA value). The newly developed M Hybrid drive system in the BMW Concept XM brings together a V8 engine and a high-performance electric motor to develop a maximum output of 740 hp and peak torque of 738 lb-ft. The first electrified vehicle from BMW M GmbH in the high-performance segment is emphatically pointing the way forward for the future of the brand.
 
“The BMW Concept XM represents a complete re-imagining of the high-performance vehicle segment,” says Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “It underlines the ability of BMW M GmbH to break with established conventions and push boundaries in order to offer fans of the brand the ultimate driving experience. The series-production vehicle – the first pure BMW M model since the legendary BMW M1 – also shows how we are approaching the step-by-step electrification of our brand.” 

“The design of the BMW Concept XM is an extravagant statement by BMW M in the heart of the luxury segment,” says Domagoj Dukec, Vice President BMW Design. “It has a resolutely standalone identity and embodies an expressive lifestyle like no other model in the BMW line-up.”

Published in NEWS

Luxury automakers have embraced the plug-in hybrid at various levels, but one of the automakers going in full steam in this category is Volvo, which already offers a plethora of plug-in hybrids to the public and is eagerly moving toward an all-Electric Vehicle future.

One of the plug-in hybrids that is currently available from Volvo is the S90 Recharge, a large sedan that is pricey, yet fills the needs of any demanding luxury car customer. It embraces the future while maintaining the cushy and comfortable environment these buyers expect. I recently spent some time in an S90 Recharge, and I’m back with a full report.

LOOKS

There are different ways to approach luxury design. Some automakers are more flashy, but others take a more nuanced approach.

Volvo falls in the second category. Unlike the massive, dominating grille on new Lexus models, for example, the Volvo has a classy and minimalist design on the front end of the S90. You still sense luxury, but it’s not slapping you in the face.

Published in CAR REVIEWS

Since launching the hybrid craze years ago with the Prius, Toyota has been a leader in eco-friendly vehicles. Hence their recent emphasis on plug-in hybrids, the next step toward the inevitable arrival of electric-only vehicles for the masses.

One such offering in this vein that I recently got to test is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid version of their wildly popular RAV4 SUV. With an electric range of 42 miles, and strong fuel economy when in hybrid mode, it’s definitely one of the plug-in offerings getting a lot of attention in this changing automotive landscape.

I recently spent some time in the RAV4 Prime, which serves a good landing point for people who want to move beyond standard hybrids but are not yet comfortable with electric-only options.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

While the charge toward electrification of the vehicles we buy continues, some brands are taking the challenge more seriously than others.

Among the brands most dedicated to this incoming change, and leading the charge (no pun intended), is Volvo. The company has a lofty goal of having fully electric vehicles comprising 50 percent of its sales by 2025, and already offers all of its new models in some form of hybrid or electric model.

Volvo has the difficult task of maintaining the strong driving experience that Volvos tend to offer, while adapting to this new eco-friendly environment. I recently tested a 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge, the plug-in hybrid version of their mid-size SUV, and I’m back with a full report on whether it lives up to these expectations.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

As the automotive world becomes electrified more each year, there is a race to get people further and further on electric power only. But it’s not all pure EVs.

The market for plug-in hybrids is still out there, with the potential to get people great fuel mileage with a bit of an electric boost. 

One such entry is the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid, which I recently got a chance to test. Here’s a full report on how it stacks up in the hybrid arms race.



LOOKS

First introduced in 2017, the Ioniq features a standout design compared to other plug-in hybrids, including a shark-fin style antenna on top. 

Unlike some other vehicles in this class, you wouldn’t know it’s a plug-in hybrid if nobody told you. It blends in quite well.

There are 16-inch alloy wheels, plus LEDs all around on its headlights, daytime running lights and taillights. 

The inside of the Ioniq is roomy for the class and well-designed, but not fancy. This isn’t a luxury model — but it doesn’t look or feel cheap either..

My test vehicle was a high-end Limited trim level and featured leather seating and heated front seats. It also had a leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic steering.

Published in CAR REVIEWS

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