Luxury Car Blog

The BMW X3M will be with you in 2020

BMW X3M Competition
The X3M Competition power up for the track.
Image: Motor Authority

The BMW X3M and an X4M will appear in 2020 to the delight of BMW fans looking for a sporty crossover SUV that is strong on performance. As Motor Authority says, “it was only a matter of time before BMW released M versions of its compact X3 and X4 crossovers.”

Production of the new models begins in April this year, according to a statement from the German manufacturer released this week. The most important changes to the model are in the engine area. Both the X3M and X4M crossover SUVs are fitted out with a S58 twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-6 that produces 473 horsepower. The engine revs to 7,200 rpm, launches the vehicles to 60 mph/ 100 kmh in 4.1 seconds, and propels them to a top speed of 174 mph/ 280 kmh.

The BMW X3M and X4M Competition

And there is something more to please drivers looking for a high-performance crossover SUV from BMW, a firm that has always emphasised the performance quality of its models – the X3M and X4M Competition models.

These two cars are more powerful than the standard models. They produce 503 horsepower and do 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat, while having a top speed of 177 mph/ 285 kmh. This much power needs a lot of cooling, so the SUVs have a central radiator flanked by two smaller ones, plus an engine oil cooler and a transmission cooler as well.

These two models have been optimised for track driving with the oil supply maximised to ensure that the cars are never starved of oil when involved in track racing. Furthermore, the all-wheel-drive system in the standard X3M and X4M models has been tweaked and tuned by BMW’s M Division, and there is a Sport driving mode that allows it to send more power to the rear wheels.

The body in the Competition models has been reinforced as well and the suspension has been updated  with M-specific bushings, bearings, rear control arms, anti-roll bars, and front wishbone suspension components. BMW says it has tested the X3 M and X4 M on the Nürburgring Nordschiefe, as well as at the company’s Mirimas test track in southern France. So far prices are not known, but it is expected they will be announced shortly.

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BMW Mini celebrates 60th birthday

BMW Mini
BMW celebrates 60 years of the Mini.
Image: Mini UK

On 26th August the BMW Mini will celebrate it 60th birthday and to mark the occasion, BMW is producing a limited edition model called the 60 Years Edition. Only 500 are going to be made and they will be sold exclusively by UK car dealerships.

It is remarkable to think that the little car that became a motoring icon, and not just in Britain, has reached its 60th anniversary. When the British Motor Corporation first launched it, nobody could have imagined it would become one of the most famous cars in the world.

Although the Mini is now owned by BMW, it is still made in Oxford and BMW have paid tribute to its British origins by only selling the 60 Years Edition in Britain. According to the Mail Online this BMW Mini will cost 35% more than a standard Mini Cooper S three-door hatchback with an automatic gearbox, which the 60 Years Edition is mechanically based on. Like the Mini Cooper S it has a 2.0-litre petrol engine linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It does 0-62 mph/100 kmh in 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 145 mph/ 233 kmh. It also claims to be economic on fuel at 40 mpg/ 14 kml. The price is around £29,990.

This edition of the BMW Mini will come in British Racing Green with a black exterior trim and a contrast roof. It will also have special anniversary design bonnet stripes and a set of 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels that are exclusive to the 500 birthday models.

BMW released a video of the car last week showing the new model being driven alongside an original classic Mini.

In its official announcement regarding the BMW birthday edition, the BMW Group statement said: “Much like Alex Issigonis’ first car in 1959, Mini has continued to push the boundaries whilst keeping creative use of space, driving fun, style and individualisation at its core.”

BMW said the Mini 60 Years Edition is the “first of many celebrations planned for 2019 that will champion the brand’s rich heritage in Britain and its continuous dedication to innovation.”

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The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography

Range Rover SVAutobiography
A more powerful and luxurious SVA.
Image: Land Rover/Motor Authority

The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is a luxury SUV with ambition. It’s a tough name to remember, but there’s a reason behind the limited edition model’s name that is due to appear in 2020.

The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography (SVA) Dynamic Edition comes from Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations unit and the fact that it is a Dynamic Edition indicates that it will have improved performance while still retaining all the luxury features.

So, what is under the bonnet or hood? According to details released by Land Rover this week it has a supercharged 5.0-litre V-8 engine and can do a 0-60 mph/100 kmh sprint in 4.3 seconds and has a top speed of 170 mph/273 kmh. You will be able to hear it coming as it has a specially tuned exhaust; the SV Variable Active Exhaust System to be precise, which exaggerates the sound of the engine. Apparently it also reduces the Range Rover Velar’s curb weight. Furthermore, the undercarriage of the SUV carries a transmission tunnel undertray that assists the car in cutting through the air more efficiently.

There is a recalibrated 8-speed automatic transmission connected to an all-wheel-drive system, and as Motor Authority reports, “Engineers also tweaked the active rear-locking differential, steering system, and air suspension specifically to focus on performance.”

The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography (SVA) Dynamic Edition’s bigger wheels than in the standard edition also help it to have better road grip and allowed the team to put in larger brakes.

It’s exterior has been tweaked to suggest its bigger performance power. A new front bumper features larger air intakes, while a new grille adds to the sporting appeal and the revised rear bumper, and quad exhaust pipes hint at the model’s power. It is also the only Velar model that will be available in Satin Byron Blue, although every model regardless of body colour will have a Narvik Black roof. Inside the luxury SUV there are twin-stitched, perforated, and quilted Windsor leather upholstered seats available in Ebony, Cirrus, Vintage Tan or Pimento.

It is anticipated that this will be a low volume model and that output will be around 2,000 models sold globally. And as yet, Land Rover has not announced the price, but it is likely to be in the area of $80,000.

Titanium Luxury Hire has a selection of Range Rover models for hire in Europe. We provide Range Rover rental across Europe. See the Locations page for details. We can deliver your Range Rover to your hotel, home or airport. Rent a Range Rover today and enjoy Titanium’s first class service.




The luxurious Learjet Limo

Learjet limo
The Learjet limo nightclub on wheels.
Image: Adam Gray/Barcroft Images

The Learjet limo ensures that the world of automobile concept cars is never dull. The conversion of a Learjet into a limousine is the work of designer Dan Harris and Frank DeAngelo, the owner of the Learjet. The unique, and it truly is unique, at least for the moment, because only one has been constructed, cost more than $1 million to build and is selling for $5 million. The Learjet limo is based on a Learjet 28 private aircraft that was produced between 1977 and 1982.

The Mail Online describes it as a “nightclub on wheels,” indicating that it trumps drinking champagne in the back of a stretch limousine. It carries eight passengers; so it is a very exclusive kind of club.

The limo has four 28-inch wheels attached to a wingless Learjet fuselage and took 12 years to make. It was developed by the Illinois-based Jetsetter, Inc based in Lakeville, Minnesota, USA.

The Learjet limo is powerd by a V-8 engine rather than a jet engine and its interior is packed to with lights, speakers, screens to create a nightclub ambience. As well as a large screen at the rear, there is a row of side-facing recliner seats and the driver gets plenty of space inside the cockpit with a bucket seat for comfort.

The exact dimensions of the so-called Learjet remain unknown but, according to Mr DeAngelo, this element mystery and intrigue is part of its appeal. He told the press, “We’ve had people pull over on the side of the road, get out of the car and video tape the limo.” Well, there’s a surprise! As if most people wouldn’t stop to gawk at a Learjet whizzing down the road instead of flying high in the sky.

As motoring journalist ThePointsGuy said: “Perhaps the most incredible thing about the conversion isn’t the 8-cylinder engine that’s powering it, but that it’s actually street legal. Said another way, you can legally drive this on roadways, just as you would any other limousine.”

Jetsetter, the company behind the ‘contraption’ envisages that it is more likely to be used for corporate launch events than for a trip to the supermarket, and most people would agree that parking it will pose some issues.

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Is an uncrashable Mercedes Benz possible?

Mercedes Benz
Can Mercedes achieve zero road deaths?
Image: Motor Authority

Mercedes Benz has been talking to Motoring online magazine in Australia, saying that an uncrashable car is possible.

This might seem impossible to most of us, but Mercedes’ global R&D chief, Ola Kalennius claims it is not a pipedream and he has produced a new ESF (formerly ESV), or Experimental Safety Vehicle to prove it. He told the magazine, “Safety is the core DNA of Mercedes and the ultimate goal is zero accidents in traffic.”

Zero road deaths is an idea that has also been talked up by Volvo, a company that is most definitely associated with safe driving and it even went so far as to claim it would have a car ready for that purpose by 2020. It seems Mercedes may have pipped Volvo to the post.

Kalennius told the Australian media at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show that a new ESF would be unveiled in mid-2019, but when asked where it would be shown, he replied, “Wait and see!”

As he pointed out, improvements in autonomous driving tech and collision prevention are expected in the near future, as are new occupant protection systems designed to reduce injury in the advent of a car crash. “Things like autonomous driving and sophisticated driver assistance are all enablers to reduce traffic accidents. Because virtually all traffic accidents are human error,” he remarked.

Kalennius said that the idea behind the uncrashable car is if cars are controlled by constantly-learning AI and a huge amount of cloud computing brawn that can see all things at all times, no one should die while riding inside a car.

He also said that the car when it arrives would be a “jaw dropper.” Some suspected that the new ESF might be based on the S-Class flagship limousine, but Kalennius would neither confirm nor deny this.

However, he did say that many of its safety features are almost showroom ready: “Having been in engineering for a couple of years, I’m absolutely amazed at the ingenuity and creativity of the engineers. It never stops. We will do something in the middle of this year, to demonstrate what the future of safety is going to look like.

I don’t want to say what the features are [but] there are some things that are very hands on and very close to series deployment.”

What do you think – is the Mercedes R&D chief just invoking PR spin or can the driverless car achieve zero road deaths in our lifetime?

Titanium Luxury Hire provide Mercedes-Benz rental across Europe. See the Locations page for details. We can deliver your Mercedes-Benz to your hotel, home or airport. Call us now to hire a Mercedes.





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