Fueled by a handful of new or recently redesigned vehicles, BMW is on pace for record sales in 2013 after attracting its best-ever year-to-date tally through 11 months. More than 31,700 BMW models found new homes in the United States last month, resulting in the luxury auto brand’s highest November sales on record. BMW’s year-to-date sales are now up 11 percent from the same point last year with one month remaining in 2013.
Sales of the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series led the brand’s lineup last month, totaling 13,148 units for a 22 percent increase compared to November 2012. The new BMW 4 Series Coupe went on sale in late summer as a replacement for the BMW 3 Series Coupe, sporting a longer, lower and wider profile while incorporating fuel-saving measures like Auto Start-Stop technology, an ECO PRO driving mode and new aerodynamic features. Last month, the new BMW 4 Series Convertible debuted at the LA Auto Show, and the model could provide an added sales boost when it arrives at dealerships in the first quarter of 2014.
“By designating its sedans with odd numbers and its coupes with even numbers, BMW can completely tailor cars like the 3 Series and 4 Series to different types of buyers and boost its sales even further,” said Marshal Cabot, general manager of BMW of Peabody, a Greater Boston BMW dealer. “At the same time, the brand has been appealing to a younger generation of buyers by introducing new vehicles to the U.S. market, like the BMW X1 that launched a year ago.”
Achieving a 13 percent year-over-year sales increase in November, the BMW X1 is a subcompact Sport Activity Vehicle that provides drivers with a potent mix of performance, fuel efficiency and versatility at an affordable price. The base BMW X1 sDrive28i features a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower while returning up to 34 mpg on the highway. Buyers can also opt for xDrive all-wheel drive to ensure stability during snowy trips to the mountains, while a pass-through located between the outer rear seats can accommodate up to four pairs of skis.
For busy executives who prefer to be chauffeured around town from meeting to meeting, the current long-wheelbase options on the market are essentially limited to luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. That is about to change, however, following the recent debut of the new long-wheelbase Range Rover SUV at the LA Auto Show.
With its wheelbase lengthened by 7.8 inches compared to the standard model, the long-wheelbase Range Rover provides rear passengers with 7.3 inches of added legroom, while the rear seats can be reclined by an extra eight degrees with the executive seating package to reach 17 degrees. Should buyers want the absolute utmost in luxury, a new Autobiography Black trim will also be available on the long-wheelbase Range Rover with a wealth of interior amenities. Rear occupants will enjoy dual 10.2-inch screens on the backs of the front seats, a redesigned center console with automatic-folding leather tables and USB charging sockets, custom lighting, a chilled compartment for beverages and improved stowage.
“The new long-wheelbase Range Rover and its Autobiography Black trim will give successful executives a much bolder option than a stretched luxury sedan while providing them with a cavernous space that can act as a mobile office or a luxury lounge on wheels,” said Dave Edwards, general manager of Land Rover Peabody, a Greater Boston Range Rover dealer. “The standard Range Rover already boasts an incredibly sophisticated and modern design, but the Autobiography Black Range Rover features an extra level of detail to make a bigger statement than a luxury sedan ever could.”
Outside, the long-wheelbase Autobiography Black Range Rover is differentiated by a number of exclusive style touches, including the unique grille, side vents, auxiliary vents and taillights. Meanwhile, buyers will be able to choose between 21-inch and 22-inch seven-spoke wheel designs with a high-gloss polished finish. Both the long-wheelbase Range Rover and long-wheelbase Autobiography Black Range Rover will go on sale in March 2014.
When an automaker has an instantly recognizable favorite in its lineup, it usually behooves the company to aim for an evolutionary redesign of the model versus a drastic overhaul. At first glimpse, the recently revealed third-generation MINI Hardtop appears to have received that more subtle treatment, but inside and underneath the hood, it has taken a big leap forward in technology.
Unveiled earlier this month at an old movie theater in Los Angeles, the new MINI Hardtop retains its classic silhouette and dons modernized versions of its signature styling cues, including optional LED circular headlamps, but it is 4.5 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider and 0.3 inches taller than its predecessor. Meanwhile, a new standard 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine produces 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, increases of 13 horsepower and 48 pound-feet of torque compared to the outgoing standard four-cylinder. Upgrading to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit in the new MINI Cooper S will get buyers 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, resulting in boosts of 8 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque over the prior Cooper S.
“With its nimble chassis, the MINI Hardtop doesn’t require all that much output to provide a highly responsive ride, but the new engines will produce the most engaging MINI driving experiences yet, particularly with their impressive helpings of torque,” said Gary King, general manager of MINI of Bedford, a New Hampshire MINI dealer. “The added bonus is that, despite the improvements in performance, both the new MINI Cooper and Cooper S are expected to be more fuel efficient than before.”
Inside the cabin, the new MINI Hardtop is packed with new convenience and safety technologies. A new instrument cluster on the steering column displays visual indicators for the newly available driver-assistance technologies, including a Driving Assistant option that offers camera-based cruise control and a collision- and pedestrian-warning system. The new MINI Hardtop also marks the brand’s introduction of the MINI Head-Up Display, which places vital information safely within the driver’s line of sight on an extendible monitor in the upper dashboard.