2014 BMW i3 EV debuts

Is the all-new (really all-new) BMW i3 that big of a deal? Uh yea. Besides the little EVs unique styling, the i3 is a pioneer in the use of lightweight materials (carbon-fiber, aluminum, and magnesium) in a regular production vehicle. As an example, the car's safety cage is made of strong and light carbon-fiber and new production methods were developed specifically for the body cage's build requirements. Low weight equals better range, performance, and handling. Even the seats are of a thin sculpted design for improved room and less weight. The i3 uses a rear-mounted electric motor rated at 170 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque (0 to 60 in about 7 secs.) that puts the power to the rear wheels using a single-speed transmission (as most EVs do). Range is currently estimated at 80-100 miles (from a full charge) depending on driving style with a range-extender gas engine (a 650cc motorcycle engine rated at 34 hp) available as an option that can be used as a generator to charge the lithium-ion batteries and increase range to almost 200 miles. The airy interior will be available in three trim levels - Loft, Lodge, and Suite with a long standards list and an equally long options list. Nothing was mentioned in the Euro-centric press release, but it has been said that a loaner car (limited use by reservation) will be made available to i3 owners for long trips in the US. Another reason the i3 is a big deal is that the i3 delivers BMW-style driving dynamics and handling which would be a first for an EV. The BMW i3 will start at about $41k and head skyward from there (US Government and some state rebates should be available). i-Brand vehicles will be trend-setters in terms of production, style, performance, handling, and engineering. Just wait 'til the i8 supercar hits the streets. For more information than you probably want, check out the extensive press releases (one release is over 40 pages - but provided in one single readable listing) after the "read more" jump. For videos, click on the i3 video post link below. Enjoy. Can't wait to see these out and about...

Source: BMW - Extensive press releases (2)  and pics after the jump. i3 video post.

BMW i3 videos - Update

Now that the Live Stream is over, here are a couple of new videos of the potentially game-changing new i3 EV. Enjoy!  Update: I've added the video of the live introduction that was held simultaneously in New York, Beijing, and London after the "read more" jump. The video is long(er) but interesting. I like the whirring turbine sounds the cars make in the video when driven briskly.

Source: BMW

Infiniti announces 2014 Q50 pricing and arrival date

To say that the new Infiniti Q50 is an important vehicle for the automaker is a bit of an understatement. With Infiniti's new "Q" naming system, the Q50 becomes the replacement for the popular G37 mid-size luxury/sport sedan. Due to the new model's importance, Infiniti delayed the launch of the newest "Q" to August 5th to get it just right. The new Q50 sedan will continue to use the popular 3.7-liter V6 (328 hp) and add a new Hybrid model that will use the 3.5-liter version of the V6 with a new (to the Q50) hybrid drive system that will provide a total system rating of 360 hp.The S models will add sport suspension tuning and unique appearance upgrades to the mix. Prices will start at $36,700 (+ taxes, license, fees, options, and $905 destination) for the "regular Q50 and run up to $48,150 (+) for the loaded Q50 S Hybrid with all-wheel drive. Your bucks will get you a good-looking, well-equipped sedan that strikes a unique stance as it cuts through the air. I think a dark color would be best so that the light can play off of the car's curves and accents. If you want Infiniti's latest or if you are one of the almost 4,000 folks that put in a pre-order for the car, get thee to your local Infiniti establishment ASAP. For lots more info ('bout things like the new Infiniti InTuition or "My Car Knows Me" systems), check out the three press releases, pics, and three videos after the "read more" jump.

Source: Infiniti - Press releases (3), videos (3), and pics after the jump.

BMW i3 pre-debut info

BMW's i range of electrified vehicles is about to fire the first salvo in their entry into the EV wars. The i3 is just hours away from its worldwide intro, but BMW has released some info in advance of the big day. Firstly, the i3 (for those that don't know) is a battery-electric vehicle (EV) that will debut with a base price of just $41,350 (plus taxes, license, fees, $995 destination, minus government EV rebates) which is less than most folks expected. Is this why Ford dropped the price of the Focus EV by more than $4,000? Could be. Anyway, the i3 will get 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque from its hybrid-synchronous electric motor which is electrified by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, good for 80-100 miles. After the i3's official launch, a range-extending engine will be introduced to extend the i3's range to almost 300 miles. What makes the i3 an EV with a range extender different from say a Chevy Volt you ask? In technical terms, the Volt is a plug-in hybrid even though GM markets the car as an EV. The Volt's engine can actually move the car, whereas the i3's engine (a motorcycle mill) is used as a generator only. Small difference? Maybe, but it is a difference and I've always wondered why GM isn't proud enough of it's plug-in hybrid technology to call it what it is. Anyway back to the i3...more info will be available about this potentially game-changing new EV. Check back for upcoming info. Until then, check out the three press releases after the "read more" jump.

Source: BMW - Press releases after the jump.

Mini shows you three ways to getaway

Proving that there is a Mini for every season and almost every reason, the automaker released their Getaway cars designed to ignite your inner camper/outdoorsman. Mini re-imagined a Countryman All4 and a couple of Clubvan models (no longer sold in the US) and fitted the cars with the equipment necessary for extended stays in the Great Outdoors.The Countryman All4 Camp (black car above) features a rooftop tent that can be fitted to almost any Mini. The Clubvan Camper features sleeping accommodations for one along with an extendable kitchenette, portable sat-nav, a television, an auxiliary heater, a hand-held shower, and a rooftop storage rack. The Mini Crowley is a Mini-designed teardrop caravan/trailer that is light enough to be towed behind your Mini. The trailer was designed with Mini vehicles in mind and offers more luxurious overnight solutions with two sleeping berths, a twin-burner gas stove, a water tank complete with pump and sink facility, and a solar module that charges the on-board battery with a 230-volt connection to power the fridge, TV/DVD, and audio equipment. I guess this proves that you don't need a giant truck or SUV to "see the USA" (sorry Chevy). Are these available or will they? Dunno, but check out the press release and slideshow (with over 40 low res pics) after the "read more" jump.

Source: Mini - Press release and slideshow (45 pics) after the jump.

Just For Fun: Alfa Romeo 4C at Goodwood

Nice shots of the Alfa Romeo 4C sports car running Goodwood.

Source Alfa Romeo/Fiat

{Alfa info: The 4C compact supercar and six magnificent classic Alfas to star at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013. From 11 to 14 July, the English county of West Sussex host the prestigious event that will see the dynamic debut of Alfa Romeo's 4C compact supercar. The "most Alfa of the Alfas" will tackle the challenging Goodwood Hillclimb along with four of the six historic models on display at Goodwood: the 8C 2900 B Special "Le Mans" (1938), the Gran Premio Tipo 159 "Alfetta" (1951), the 1750 GT Am (1970) and the 33 TT 12 (1975).}

Jaguar Project 7 Concept debuts at Goodwood

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual event in the UK that idolizes all things fast - automotive things that is. Many automakers prepare special cars, concepts, or updated production vehicles for display and The Project 7 Concept is one of Jaguar's entries. The Project 7 is basically a race-prepped F-Type, Jag's new two-seat sports car. The Project 7 utilizes a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 mated to an eight-speed "quick-shift" automatic transmission, lightweight materials, race-tuned suspensions, a free-flow exhaust system with a ceramic finish, and more. Visual changes include a fairing behind the driver's head; custom carbon-fiber components (a new front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser), a lowered windshield, and a restyled front bumper. In other words, it looks as fast as it is. The changes made to the F-Type to become the Project 7 would probably make the concept unable to meet government regs, so don't expect a production version. But it sure is pretty. The faring behind the driver (with one behind the passenger) might make for an interesting special edition model, right? For more info, check out the pics and video after the "Read More" jump.

Source: Jaguar - Press release, pics (5), and video after the jump.

Vauxhall Country Estate Sport Tourer shown ahead of Frankfurt debut

Taking a page from the Audi All-Road handbook, Vauxhall will introduce the new Insignia Country Estate at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Like the Audi All-Road and Subaru Outback. the new Country Estate is an estate (read station wagon) model with a raised ride height, a more rugged-looking body kit (with anthracite cladding, aluminum accents, and more), and all-wheel drive to give the Insignia wagon more presence and all-weather capability. In Europe, the Insignia Country Estate will have two diesel engines available along with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. What makes the Insignia Country Estate interesting for US consumers (and the reason it doesn't fall into the Another Car We Won't Get - ACWWG - category) is the fact that numerous Vauxhall/Opel models are available in the US as Buicks. Notice the sweeping line on the flanks of the Country Estate that are shared with the US Regal. While Buick doesn't offer station wagon versions of its cars in the US due to the proliferation of Buick crossovers, A Regal Country Estate would make a nice addition to the line-up and would allow Buick to offer an upscale vehicle to compete with the Audi All-Road and Subaru Outback. Remember, Subaru sells quite a few Outbacks. Interesting. Let's keep an eye on this one and if you really like what you see, let GM know.

Source: Vauxhall - Press release after the jump.

Just For Fun: BMW Active Tourer Concept w/ Bike Rack

This one is interesting not just for the Active Tourer Concept that is said to be a peak at the new X4, but for the very cool internal bike rack. The rack glides out of the cargo area revealing two bikes that were carried inside the vehicle. Production? Maybe, I mean BMW makes premium bicycles after all and...

Source: BMW