Jumat, 24 Oktober 2008

2008 BMW X6 xDrive50i


Modelers have a name for it: kit-bashing. It’s when parts from different model kits are combined to make something new. That’s exactly what BMW did to create the X6. Sorta.

BMW refers to the new 2008 BMW X6 as a Sport Activity Coupé (note the accent), much as it calls the X3 and X5, despite being sport utes, Sport Activity Vehicles. Compared to the body-on-frame construction typical of SUV’s when the X5 arrived, giving the X5 its own classification just seemed like the right thing to do. Besides, BMW simply couldn’t produce anything so prosaic as an SUV. What would the world be coming to?

What the world came to is the new BMW X6.

The BMW X6 is based on the X5’s SAV platform, shares the same suspension but with a slightly wider track. BMW describes the front suspension as a “double track control arm configuration applying the double joint principle for dynamic lateral acceleration, superior tracking stability and minimization of those forces acting on the steering wheel.” That’s hard to argue with.

The rear set up is a multilink arrangement designed to isolate suspension forces from the drivetrain while maintaining correct camber for optimum roadholding. If that’s a little too complex without a picture, it’s sufficient to say that BMW designed and built the suspension. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

Mud slinging? The chassis is sufficiently similar that the X6’s ground clearance is identical to the X5’s at 212mm (8.3 inches). The 115 inch wheelbase of the X5 was also unchanged for the X6, so the SAC has similar off-road capabilities as the SAV. The X6 has a longer nose so therefore has a shallower approach angle but a shorter rump, thereby actually having a steeper departure angle than its more offroad-oriented sibling.

Not that many a BMW X6 will be venturing offroad, but they could if asked.

Anyway, it would look odd to see a coupe in the outback, and that brings us back to the kit-bashing. Although the flanks of the X6 resemble those of the X5, the coupe has been given bigger wheel flares and a stronger shoulder line. The hood is more sharply creased and has a steeper slope, the kidneys are wider and ventilation is increased by large openings under the headlamps and another opening under the center front bumper. Overall the X6 has an aggressive face.

The side windows have significant tumblehome—the lean inward a lot—and it wouldn’t be a BMW without the “Hoffmeister kick,” the forward angle at the bottom of the rear side (“C”) pillar. The profile shows what makes BMW call the X6 a coupe. The roofline is what used to be called a fastback, the rear window sharply tilted forward.

Rear view From behind, the BMW X6 looks like nothing else on the road. The rear deck, such that it is, is high and very short, and a spoiler is contoured into the trunk lid. The rear end was styled to emphasize horizontal lines which, with the X6’s wide stance, emphasize a theme of width. Good thing, too, because otherwise the rear end would be blunt and stubby-looking as a Pontiac Aztec’s.

The initial impression is a vehicle that’s not long enough for its height, like it parked in front of a funhouse mirror. It has an odd way of, if not looking pretty, having a bulldog kind of appearance that is somehow endearing nonetheless.

It’s typical BMW inside, with a typical BMW instrument panel and controls, BMW dash and BMW seats, though BMW added pads on the side of the center console for the driver and passenger to brace their shins. It’s one of those why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-that-before things.

There’s not a bench in the back but a pair of individual buckets with a mini-console between them. Headroom is surprisingly good but duck getting in. The rear door opening isn’t very tall and it curves down towards the back.

At 20 cubic feet, the trunk is surprisingly roomy and lowering the rear seatbacks increases cargo room to 51 cubic feet. The X6 is a hatchback so it’s easy to get stuff in and with sliding tracks, easy to tie it down. The roofline that slopes on the outside also slopes on the inside, however, so plan the shapes of your cargo accordingly.

Of course, if maximizing cargo is the goal, we recommend shopping elsewhere. On the other hand, the X6 is just fine if another kind hauling is on the menu. Worldwide, BMW offers four engines in the X6, two diesel and two gas. No diesel for the U.S., however, at least for now. The choices in the States are the BMW xDrive35i, powered by the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six as used in the 3-Series and 1-Series, and the xDrive50i, powered by a twin-turbo V-8.

Down in the valley The 4.4-liter V-8 is new and, to our knowledge, something completely new to production engines. The two turbochargers lie side-by-side inside the vee, each one feeding the four cylinders on its side of the engine. And because there’s still more wasted space in there—and because it puts them closer to where the air is hotter—BMW puts the catalytic converters in the vee as well. The engine has piezo direct injection, the injectors placed right next to the spark plug, which BMW claims not only improves power and economy but “engine acoustics” as well.

So how much power? BMW says 400 horsepower, but with this engine that’s only part of the story. It’s not reached at a “power peak” but a plateau from 5500 to 6400 rpm. Torque is equally impressive, with 450 lb-ft over a spread from 1750 to 4500 rpm.

Curb weight of 4,700 lbs? How do you say “fuggitaboutit” in German? BMW claims the X6 xDrive50i thunders through the 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.4 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

All BMW X6 models are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission that has BMW’s electronic shifter controls that abandon the traditional shift pattern. The shifter can still be used to tip shift by moving the lever to the left, and the X6 also comes standard with paddle shifting.

BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is standard on all models as well. Standard because it’s an integral part of the X6’s handling. In normal driving conditions, xDrive splits torque 40:60 front to rear, but based on various sensors, the xDrive’s “Dynamic Performance Control” (DPC) varies torque transmitted to the rear wheels side-to-side. In an oversteer situation, power is reduced to the outside rear wheel and increased to the inner, reducing the yaw effect. For understeer, the opposite is done.

DPC goes a step father, however, by working on the overrun (when the vehicle is decelerating against engine braking) with a “double planetary gear set and multiple plate clutch operated by an electric motor.” Again, this is able to push the vehicle side to side to help maintain stability while slowing.

By all rights… This whole package comes together much better than it has any right to. Yes, we know that the BMW X6 is heavy and sits high on its wheels, but one would not know that from behind the steering wheel. The power spread from the twin-turbo V-8 gives full acceleration across the board instead of a series of peaks, and ditto the torque. All-wheel drive and the huge 255/50R19 tires on light-weight alloy wheels means no slip on acceleration and the effect of the DPC is, well, we presume its fine-tuning our already deft touch at the wheel.

What we know is that on winding roads through the Appalachians on the North Carolina/South Carolina border, roads that on nav system screen look like a snake on a bender—literally—the big Bimmer clung to fog-dampened asphalt like moonshiner to a fully-loaded Mason jar.

The punch of the V-8 snapped our test BMW X6 xDrive50i out of one corner and towards to the next with no turbo lag. The only way any driver would know there are two turbos under the hood is by reading the fine print. And if the location of those piezo direct injection really do have anything to do with engine acoustics, it’s good stuff. All the right V-8 sounds are present and accounted for.

Our exploration of the BMW X6’s pavement prowess was not limited to the public road. BMW made a Michelin’s South Carolina test track facility available, including a high speed road course test track and a sprinkler (to gross understatement) loop of winding pavement to put the DPC to an extreme test.

On the high speed track the X6 handled like a sports sedan. That’s something written in many road tests, claiming car-like handling for an SUV that’s not really happening. The X6 had us driving fast enough to realize the speed only after later comparing engine speed to gear. The track had enough curves to keep a driver too busy to be looking at the speedometer or, for that matter, the little schematic between the speedo and the tach that shows which wheel is getting more of the torque. The X6 xDrive50i is darn fast on a race track.

On the other hand, on a “wet track” flooded by monster sprinklers, enough so that the windshield wipers could hardly keep up with the water being hosed over the track, the X6 hung on beyond reasonable expectations. Mr. Isaac Newton eventually comes knocking and when he does, the X6’s tires judder and understeers until road speed is slow enough for grip and turn, thanks to the vehicle’s advanced stability program. Good, at least if there’s enough run-off room, but again, that’s faster than unreasonable and the X6 will leave the pavement nose first, which is the safest way to run into anything.

But certainly the X6 xDrive50i lives up to the BMW reputation for handling, hardly a kit of sport-utility—excuse us, sport-activity vehicle and car body. It may have a youthful attitude and be the product of adolescent imagination. But for those with the wherewithal—the X6 xDrive50i starts at $63,775 and goes up from there—the X6 is what can only be described as a hoot, a more mature and upscale version of the Japanese rally-inspired sedans. It may be an answer to a question that was never asked, but then Jeopardy has questions asked for answers given, which is something like the X6.

And anyway, I need to get back to my Exacto knife and Testors cement.

Philbert J Thrombockle comments: The BMW X6 is a passion purchase, the triumph of desire over practicality. We say, so what. So is a Porsche—any Porsche—but one never hears that complaint about the Porsche 911, high performance two-seater (with imitation rear seats), faster than anyone has a need for and a layout that puts the engine in the worst possible location for a sports car. It’s about desire. Deal with it.

Also, a six-cylinder version of the X6 is available, the 35i. It includes most of the features of the 50i, differing mainly in the engine, the same twin-turbo unit used in BMW’s 135i and 335i models. And it has a base price a smidge more than $10k less. Some say they prefer the smaller engine. Not us. If we were to splurge on such an impractical vehicle such as this, we’d take it all the way. (Assuming the budget would allow, which in our case, well, that’s why the word “moot” was invented).

The interior is a duplicate of just about every other BMW made, which is not a bad thing. Access is restricted by its ride height, just as much as the typical SUV, though the contour of the roofline means ducking when getting in the back seat. Once there, however, headroom is generous.

The BMW X6 has a hatchback and not surprisingly, the slope of its rear window limits it ability to swallow a large rectangular object. Which is like saying you can’t park an elephant in the typical American garage: Well, of course not, and why would you want to?

A distinct peculiarity of the BMW X6, however, is the lack of rear and rear three-quarter vision. The view straight back is a slit and over the driver’s shoulder mostly isn’t. Drivers will need to rely more on side mirrors. It’s a mere inconvenience where passion is involved.

2008 BMW 135i Review - yes, it’s that good

2008 BMW 135i (E82)


  • Powerful acceleration at any speed
  • Tight handling
  • Crisp radio system
  • Clean interior design with good fit and finish


  • Scant cabin storage
  • Slightly restricted visibility towards rear

Having been a fan of BMW for years, I was looking forward to checking out the new 1-Series cars that are new to the United States this year. The 1-Series has successfully sold in Europe since 2004 and it was now time for us to get in on the fun. The promise of a small, light vehicle coupled with a powerful engine, wrapped up with BMW’s precision handling tempted me with the possibility of adrenaline-pumping acceleration and confident control. Read on to find out if BMW delivered the goods with the 135i or if our expectations came up shorter than an 8 year-old who couldn’t meet the minimum height requirement to ride the roller coaster at the annual state fair..

Driving Impressions
The 2008 BMW 135i is indeed an impressive car designed around the focus of raw power and precision handling. The standard 300 hp six-cylinder engine launches this coupe like a rocket while dynamic stability control and four-wheel dynamic brake control keep it on the road. I drove an appropriately colored Crimson Red model with the Sport and Cold packages, as well as black leather seats. The Sport package provided the deep driving seats that came in handy, while the Cold package gave me seat warmers. While I didn’t need them for a summer test drive, I’m a firm believer that all premium cars should include seat warmers. Integrated support for iPods is available, which I also consider a minimum requirement in this class of car. While I only drove this 135i for a few days, it was clear that BMW made all design decisions based on the simple question, “Will this make the 135i fun to drive?” Some mundane features suffered as a result, but this coupe will thrill any driver that dares to take the wheel.

2008 BMW 135i (E82)

The car is put together well, as you would expect from a company that prides itself on German engineering. The doors were solid and formed a tight seal with the cabin, resulting in low road noise. The seats presented a solid wall of unblemished, smooth leather, tied together with tight seams. The dashboard, metal accents, steering wheel and instrument panel all reflected the premium quality image of BMW. Unfortunately, the sun visors did not continue the trend. They were covered in what appeared to be a cheap vinyl and felt small, cheap and flimsy. It surprised me that BMW has not found a better solution to this, as it was the only aspect of the car that did not exude high quality performance.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The layout of the cockpit reinforces the obvious purpose of this machine- to drive fast with confidence. The two large dials immediately behind the smallish M racing steering wheel are the speedometer and tachometer. Wedged between them are the various warning lights and small clock, enabling you to keep your eyes on the road and monitor your situation with brief downward glances. The steering wheel integrates controls for the radio and phone, making it simple to keep the perfect music playing while keep both hands on the wheel and your head up scanning for traffic. This turned out to be a very good thing, as I was not able to read the radio display while wearing my polarized sun glasses. The radio was the only electronic display that had this issue. Phone control is also located on the steering wheel, but I did not get around to testing that feature. The automatic temperature control system was laid out intuitively and successfully kept the car cool in the warm California weather. The deep seats comfortably cradled my tall frame and kept it firmly in place on many high speed turns. The ceiling arched well above my head giving a feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. The rear seats were surprisingly comfortable (I had low expectations) and would do well for short trips, but the roof was so close that I almost felt the need to hunch over. There are two minor areas that I think could be improved on the interior- storage and cup holders. The interior offered only a few areas for storage and curiously devoted some prime real estate to an ash tray! Additionally, the cup holders are directly behind the stick shift, with one under the arm rest. With my travel coffee mug in the only possible cup holder, shifting was a little awkward. In BMW’s defense, this car was built for driving, not drinking coffee, but it’s something to be aware of.

back seat legroomsteering whell controlsBMW 135i front seat

BMW designed this car to go fast and they succeeded quite well. This machine is a rocket. With 300 horsepower pushing about 3,000 lbs, this baby is designed for speed. It continually surprised me with how much acceleration it offered in every gear that I was able to test. From a strong start to a ‘whiplash’ second gear, the 135i will get you up to speed in a hurry. Merging with traffic was not the issue, but rather it was the potential to merge into a slower car ahead! In driving around the Northern California freeways, I was able to almost instantly put the car into whatever spot on the road. The 135i would leap into any available space that I directed it, even when traveling at 65 Mph. The steering was tight and controlled, which provided confidence in piloting around corners or slower, less capable cars. The powerful four-wheel brake system brought the car to a quick stop and a tight turning radius made it easy to turn around on a tight residential street.

student loans consolidation

The all-new Jeep Cherokee has arrived in the UK where it’s offered exclusively with a 177 HP 2.8-litre diesel engine and a choice of manual and automatic gearbox. Jeep’s new SUV is available in only one equipment level – Limited – which includes standard ESP, Hill Descent Control, 17-inch alloy wheels and leather trim. Prices are set at £24,595 for the manual version and £25,595 for the automatic. Follow the jump for details on the Cherokee Limited’s standard equipment. -Continued

Cherokee Limited Standard Equipment

Safety and Security

All speed traction control
Anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes
Panic Brake Assist
Child seat anchor system-latch ready
Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
Enhanced Accident Response system
Locking fuel filler cap
Next generation multistage front air bags
Premium security alarm with immobiliser
Sentry key theft deterrent system
Speed sensitive power locks
Supplemental side curtain air bags
Selec-Trac® II full-time 4WD system
Hill Descent Control
Hill Start Assist
Remote keyless entry
ParkSense® rear park assist system
Compact spare tyre


17 x 7.0 alloy wheels
235/65 R17 tyres
Automatic headlamps
Body coloured fascias with bright inserts
Bright grille
Bright side roof rails
Chrome bodyside mouldings
Front Fog Lamps
Power folding heated door mirrors


12v auxiliary power outlet
Air conditioning with automatic temperature control
AM/FM MP3 radio
Compact spare tyre
Courtesy lamps
Cruise control
Front passenger forward fold flat seat
Illuminated entry
Instrument cluster with display screen
Leather wrapped steering wheel
Luxury front & rear floor mats
Power 6-way driver seat
Power front windows, 1-touch up & down
Rear 60/40 folding split recline seat
Rear view auto dim mirror
Reversible / waterproof cargo storage
Six speakers
Steering wheel mounted audio controls
Temperature & compass gauge
Tilt steering column
Tip start ignition
Tyre pressure monitoring display
Variable intermittent windshield wipers
Vehicle Information Centre
Power 6-way driver and 2-way passenger seat
Luxury door trim panel
Leather trimmed seats
Leather wrapped interior items
Leather wrapped shift knob
Bright sill scuff pads
Heated front seats
Manual driver lumbar adjust
Memory package (seats, mirror and radio)

TQ: http://broker-valas.blogspot.com/