Newsflash: facelift voor BMW X5

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+++ BMW ’s lineup is in flux, which means the automaker is introducing all-new cars while rolling out updated versions of existing models. One that’s getting a nip and a tuck is the X5. The current-generation entered production in late 2018 and BMW is now ready to give it a proper makeover. I’ve spotted the refreshed X5 out testing numerous times over the last year, and the latest batch of spy shots caught the spicier M60i trim. It’ll get a big change under the bonnet where BMW will slip its S68 engine, pairing the turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup and the 8-speed gearbox. The setup will deliver 530 hp. The updated SUV will also arrive with updated styling, mimicking bits of the X6. The X5 will get a new grille flanked by slimmer headlights, which will sit above a reshaped bumper, a revised central intake, and other tweaks. At the rear, BMW will make fewer changes, with the company certainly installing new taillight graphics. Inside, I expect BMW to give the X5 the brand’s latest infotainment system, with a large dash-mounted screen and the iDrive 8 software. This will be a big interior change for the mid-cycle refresh, and it’ll keep the SUV feeling fresh in a crowded segment. The new styling will spread throughout the X5 lineup, including on the X5 M. However, while the high-performance crossover will get new styling, the powertrain will remain unchanged. That means that the refreshed X5 M will continue packing BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, which makes 625 hp in the X5 M Competition, which should return. BMW hasn’t said when we’d see the new X5, but I expect it to be on sale for the 2023 model year. However, it might launch in Europe first before becoming available in the US and other markets. The X5 is nearing its fifth birthday, and a styling update couldn’t have come at a better time. +++

+++ A limited edition of 50 CITROEN Ami mini electric cars sold out in less than 18 minutes, parent company Stellantis said on Wednesday, prompting the French brand to post a cheeky message to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “Sorry Elon, the only way to get one is to buy us”, Citroën wrote on a billboard at Paris’ Gare de L’Est train station, referring to the Musk’s appetite for deals, which has recently included a $44 billion bid for Twitter. Since the Ami’s launch in April 2020, Citroen has sold 22.000 of the small electric model in Morocco, Europe and Turkey. The car is produced in Morocco and does not require a driver’s license. It is only sold online. For the limited edition “My Ami Buggy” version, the roof is replaced with canvas that can be rolled back and metal tube gates replace the doors. It is sold from €9.790. “The fastest customer managed to complete the whole purchasing journey and get his ‘My Ami Buggy’ in only 2 minutes and 53 seconds”, Citroen said in a statement. +++

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+++ The SUV market is not a zero-sum game, at least not for now, as early indications suggest that the FORD BRONCO has not stolen customers away from Jeep, as one might have assumed. Instead, it appears to simply be growing the customer base for off-road-focused SUVs. A new study from S&P Global Mobility indicates that as the Ford Bronco’s sales have increased over the last 9 months, the Jeep Wrangler‘s sales have not declined. Although the former’s sales have risen to as high as 6 percent of the compact SUV segment (as defined by S&P), the latter’s segment share has held steady at between 7 and 9 percent. Although the Bronco is still quite new, that indicates that there’s room in the segment for both off-roaders. And that may be reassuring to Jeep, whose Wrangler hasn’t had a direct competitor for years. Chuck Anderson, the general manager of a Ford dealership in Missouri, told that he doesn’t think a single Bronco buyer has traded in a Jeep Wrangler. “I don’t think it’s really taking away the Jeep market”, Anderson said. “I think it’s giving people that never really gave that segment of vehicle a chance an opportunity to buy something that they want”. So, for now at least, an equilibrium appears to have been found. The question now is how much larger can the segment grow? “The interesting thing about it will be if anybody else decides to join in”, Stephanie Brinley, S&P Global Mobility analyst, said. “We’re not necessarily saying we’ve got a ton of growth opportunity in that space, but Bronco’s addition has made the pie bigger”. Volkswagen has already expressed an interest in seeing how large that pie can be. The automaker has made official its interest in producing an off-road-focused SUV through the Scout brand. It will be interesting to see, though, if the market can handle all three models or if history will repeat itself. +++

+++ OPEL has unveiled a special edition of the Corsa honoring the 40th anniversary of the nameplate. The model comes 40 years, 6 generations and a total production of 14 million units after the first Corsa was introduced back in 1982. The Corsa 40 Years will be produced in 1.982 units as a nod to the original. Its twin brother, Corsa-e Anniversary Edition, will be produced in an additional 1.000 units, exclusively offered in fully electric form. The supermini is exclusively available in “Rekord Red”, inspired by the similar red of the first-generation Corsa A. In the new model it is combined with black finish for the roof, mirrors, grille and emblems. There is also a cool set of 17-inch alloy wheels finished in glossy black with matte gray inserts. Inside the cabin, we find a retro-flavored tartan upholstery for the sports seats inspired by the Corsa SR of the 80s. Notably, each car comes with a pair of limited edition tartan socks available in both small and large sizes, so the owners can brag in their local cafe. Unfortunately, Opel didn’t provide me with photos of the socks, but said they either mimic the pattern of the original or its modern reinterpretation. There is also a numbered plaque on the dashboard with the 40-year emblem. Equipment includes LED lights, heated seats, heated steering wheel, a 7-inch Multimedia Radio infotainment, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors plus a few ADAS. The Opel Corsa 40 Years will be offered in selected markets in Europe starting in the coming weeks. +++

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+++ The RENAULT ZOE is being kept relevant for 2023 with a model year refresh, following the comprehensive facelift of 2019. The 2023 modelyear Zoé gets a new range structure with 3 trim levels (Equlibre, Evolution and Iconic). There are no styling updates over the facelifted model setting aside the addition of the new Shadow Grey exterior shade and the new wheel designs. Another new feature is the E-Tech badge on the trunk lid and the warm titanium finish on the letter é from Zoé. The entry-level Equilibre comes standard with the 10-inch digital instrument cluster, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, keyless card, manual air-conditioning, 4 speakers and the 22 kW AC charger, but in terms of ADAS is limited to autonomous emergency braking (AEB). I guess that the poor safety kit won’t change the embarrassing zero-star rating from Euro NCAP. The mid-range Zoé Evolution adds navigation, rear parking sensors, auto airconditioning, and a few more basic ADAS (traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist) while it is visually distinguished by the 16-inch Eridis rims and the shark antenna. Finally, the range-topping Zoe is the best looking of the bunch thanks to a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels with warm titanium accents, gold details on the grille, bumper intake, and foglight surround, plus a new sticker on the profile. Inside, the flagship trim is the only one with the larger 9.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment, and it also benefits from new upholstery made from TEP and recycled fabric with gold piping and special embossing. In the Equlibre and the Evolution trims, the electric powertrain produces 109 hp , while the Iconic is more potent with 136 hp. All 3 variants come fitted with the 52 kW battery offering a range of 395 km in the base version, or 386 km in the more powerful one. According to Renault, the Zoé is the bestselling EV in Europe in the past decade, with 380.000 units sold between 2012 and 2022. It is not clear how much longer it will remain on sale since the French automaker will soon unveil the similarly-sized Renault 5 E-tech Electric. +++

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+++ TOYOTA on Wednesday cut its July global production plan by 50.000 vehicles as semiconductor shortages and Covid-19 parts supply disruptions continued to curb output. The world’s largest car maker by volume expects to make 800.000 vehicles next month, it said in a statement. “As it remains difficult to look ahead due to the shortage of semiconductors and the spread of Covid-19, there is a possibility that the production plan may be lower”, the Japanese company said. Toyota and other car makers continue to struggle with supply-chain disruptions and component shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic including those resulting from recent lockdowns in China. Automakers are also having to compete for limited semiconductor supplies with other manufacturers such as consumer electronics device makers. Toyota stuck with its annual global production target of 9.7 million vehicles, although the company signaled in May that supply chain disruptions could eventually force it lower that number. The automaker on Wednesday also expanded production halts in Japan next month at plants that make vehicles, including its GR Yaris and BZ4X. +++

+++ The vast majority of electric vehicle startups to emerge from China in recent years will inevitably fail but one company seemingly going from strength to strength is XPENG . In fact, the car manufacturer recently produced its 200.000th vehicle. The Chinese automaker was founded in 2014 and built its very first production vehicle in December 2018. It took Xpeng until October 2021 before it had built 100.000 vehicles but now, just 8 months later, it has built another 100.000 EVs, even though the automotive industry continues to face Covid-related restrictions and supply chain shortages. “Reaching our 200.000-delivery milestone represents the trust of 200.000 customers”, Xpeng chief executive and chairman He Xiaopeng said. “Every single delivery represents the trust we have earned from our customers: it’s a step closer to our transition to a smarter and greener future”. Xpeng is expected to continue growing over the coming 12 months. In November last year, it unveiled its flagship G9 electric crossover, the first model developed from the outset to be sold in both China and international markets. The G9 is also the first from Xpeng equipped with its XPilot 4.0 semi-autonomous driving system, which features 2 lidar sensors beneath the headlights, an 8-million-pixel front binocular camera, and 2.9-million-pixel side cameras. Sales of the G9 will commence in the first quarter of this year while deliveries are tipped to begin in the 4th quarter. The international launch of the Xpeng P5 also represents a significant moment in the history of the company. While it has been on sale in China for quite some time, the electric sedan was only recently launched in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. It features a 66 kWh battery pack powering a single electric motor with 211 hp and 310 Nm, allowing it to hit 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and to travel up to 465 km on the WLTP cycle. +++

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