For more than a decade, MINI owners from around the country have gathered for an annual pilgrimage to Mount Washington called MINIs on Top, and for many New England participants the festivities will kick off early at New Hampshire MINI dealer MINI of Bedford. The showroom will serve as the rendezvous point for the Yankee Candle and Boston Area caravans for the second straight year following its grand opening in August 2011, with participants meeting there at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 21, before heading up to the Attitash Grand Summit Resort in Bartlett, N.H., for a weekend of events.
After socializing, sundaes and trivia on Friday night, drivers will fuel up for a big Saturday with breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. in the hotel’s MINIs on Top Operations Room, courtesy of the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, which includes MINI of Bedford and Massachusetts dealership MINI of Peabody. Participants will then be free to check out the more than 200 MINI models expected to be on hand before they all make the trek up the Mount Washington Auto Road to the 6,288-foot summit.
“MINIs on Top has become a legendary event among MINI owners, and each year their models get more and more stylish and the scene gets more and more jovial,” said Gary King, general manager of MINI of Bedford. “With seven models in the MINI lineup now, and each owner’s flexibility to customize their ride as they like, we’re really looking forward to the diversity of MINIs this year.”
What: MINIs on Top Kickoff at MINI of Bedford
Where: MINI of Bedford, 209 S. River Road, Bedford, NH
When: Friday, June 21, 2013, 1 p.m. EDT. The combined caravan will depart at roughly 2 p.m. EDT.
How: Register with a comment at http://minisontop.com/2013-feeder-events/2013-mini-of-bedford-meeting-point/.
While at MINI of Bedford, MINIs on Top participants can check out the all-new 2013 MINI Paceman, which went on sale in March. Designed as a two-door version of the popular MINI Countryman, the Paceman is also available with ALL4 all-wheel drive, but it is distinguished with a lower stance, a sloping roofline, an integrated spoiler and longer doors.
“The Paceman’s advanced all-wheel drive allows its owners to have the same confidence on mountain roads in the winter as they do in the summer, but they still get sporty styling and a dynamic ride despite that capability,” added King. “It’s the perfect vehicle for New England drivers who have always wanted a fun coupe, but have held off because they needed a vehicle that could get around easily in all four seasons.”
While Quinto starts off his trip to the links with Vulcan-like efficiency in an Audi S7, easily loading his clubs in through the power hatchback, Nimoy curses as he fails to fit his clubs into the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz CLS550, buckling them into the shotgun position instead. The S7 glides along the road with a futuristic look accented by LED daytime running lights, while the CLS-Class seemingly putters along as Nimoy mutters the words of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” a quirky song he recorded in the late 1960s. As the first to pull up to the golf club’s entrance, Quinto takes the time to mock Nimoy with a voice-activated phone call through the Audi connect infotainment system.
“Though Leonard Nimoy is ultimately victorious by rendering Zachary Quinto unconscious with a Vulcan death grip, Audi’s video is a highly entertaining way of showing that the S7 is another galaxy above the CLS-Class,” said Larry Bedell, general manager of Audi of Nashua, a New Hampshire Audi dealer. “The Audi S7 has sleeker styling, higher performance and intuitive technology that wouldn’t be out of place on the USS Enterprise.”
Featured on the 2013 10Best list from Car and Driver magazine, the new 2013 Audi S7 is a high-performance version of the Audi A7 with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower. The five-door coupe can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is 0.6 seconds faster than the 2013 CLS550. Audi has also tuned the S7 to be just as responsive in the turns as it is in the straightaways, incorporating an adaptive air suspension and a special version of the automaker’s quattro all-wheel drive with sport differential.
The high-tech interior of the Audi S7 has earned the model accolades as well, with Connected World magazine naming it the Connected Car of the Year for 2013 in the luxury category. Offering much more than hands-free phone calls, the Audi connect system features navigation integrated with Google Earth and wireless Internet for up to eight mobile devices. Drivers can also check the weather, news and latest fuel prices, as well as perform a Google Local Search for detailed restaurant and hotel information.
“Whether you are a Trekkie or just a techie, the Audi S7 offers all the features drivers could want for staying comfortably connected on the road,” Bedell noted. “Not to mention, the precise engineering of the twin-turbocharged V8 can make you feel like you’re approaching warp speed in the cabin.”
As part of its plan to introduce diesel engines to most of its lineup within the next three years, BMW will be outfitting its refreshed 2014 5 Series sedan with a new inline-six diesel powerplant. Speaking with Automotive News, BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch recently indicated that the diesel engines in models like the 2014 BMW 5 Series will offer the responsive torque that American luxury buyers want while addressing their need for improved fuel efficiency.
By leveraging TwinPower Turbo technology, the diesel engine in the new 2014 BMW 535d Sedan will produce 255 horsepower and an impressive 413 pound-feet of torque. Though EPA fuel-economy ratings won’t be released until closer to the model’s on-sale date in August, the efficiency gains over the gas-powered six-cylinder unit are expected to be significant. Meanwhile, buyers who prefer to stick with a gas engine will find 45 more horsepower in the range-topping 2014 BMW 550i Sedan, which will now produce 445 horsepower from its updated 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 powerplant.
“American buyers are continuing to come around to diesel engines as a way of getting fuel efficiency without losing the fun of driving, and BMW’s technology has allowed it to take that concept to a new level,” said Marshal Cabot, general manager of BMW of Peabody, a Massachusetts BMW dealer. “The new diesel 5 Series will be extremely responsive each time you step on the pedal, and it will even be available with xDrive all-wheel drive for those who want extra grip on the roads.”
Buyers will also find updated styling on both the BMW 5 Series Sedan and Gran Turismo models for 2014. With revised contour lines around its kidney grille and modified lower air intakes, the Sedan model features a sportier look, while the Gran Turismo conveys a firmer stance thanks to a redesigned front apron and lower, longer design lines in the rear. For added convenience, both models will provide the option of an updated Comfort Access system, which now allows owners to not only open, but also close their trunk or tailgate automatically with the swipe of a foot underneath the rear bumper.
BMW hopes that the 2014 5 Series will help it remain the best-selling luxury automaker in the United States this year. Even with a refreshed model coming this summer, the current 5 Series is popular in the showroom, selling 5,234 units in April for a 47 percent increase over the same month last year. Year-to-date, sales of the BMW 5 Series are up by 7 percent compared to the same period in 2012.
“The 5 Series is a very important model line for BMW, and with the new and revised powertrains, refined styling and updated technology for 2014, we expect an even bigger boost in sales for the latter part of this year,” added Cabot. “Fans of the 5 Series will be getting a better mix of performance, fuel efficiency and technology than ever before.”