Come and see Alfa Romeo Storico at Autoworld Brussels this summer!

Autoworld Brussels is during the summer filled with iconic Alfa’s

On the first day of July – for many of us the start of the summer holidays – the mythical Milanese brand Alfa Romeo stands in the spotlight in the iconic Autoworld-Brussels museum, and this until the 28th of August.

So plenty of time for you to come to Brussels, and see the more than 50 of the most emblematic Alfa’s, celebrating the 112th anniversary of the brand.

This stunning show is the result of a close collaboration with the Club Quadrifoglio Belgio, the National Automobile Museum of Mulhouse, private collectors, the Italian collector of prototypes Corrado Lopresto and Stellantis Belux (Alfa Romeo).

There is more for you to see, as this exhibition will start on Sunday 3 July with a event organized by the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio Belgio Club: a beautiful ride starting in front of the Royal Palace of Brussels and ending on the Esplanade du Cinquantenaire, in front of the Autoworld Museum, where a Concours d’Elegance will be held with nearly 150 cars.

On the first floor of the Autoworld museum are more than 50 historical Alfa’s: pre-war, commercialized, competition and special cars. These include a Giulietta Sprint and a Spider, the 2600 Sprint & 2000 Spider, a Montreal, a Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, a Spider Coda Tronca, a GT 1600 Zagato, a Giulia GT 1300 Scalino, a GT 1300 Junior, a 2000 GTV, an Alfasud, an Alfasud TI and an Alfasud Sprint, a Giulietta Turbodelta, an Alfa 90, an Alfa 75 2.5 QV, an Alfa 6, and many others…

The Musée Nationale de l’Automobile de Mulhouse owns a beautiful 1936 Alfa Romeo 8C Pininfarina, which is said to have won the Mille Miglia that same year. In addition, part of the exhibition will be devoted to five exceptional prototypes from Corrado Lopresto’s magnificent collection.

The Lopresto collection is one of the most important collections of Italian prototypes in the world from 1901 until today. Many of the cars are unique, custom built with special features (rare copies, special series, number 1 chassis, cars with famous owners). Most of these cars have collected awards at Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach. Showcases with scale models show the same cars in subtle dioramas.

One of the absolute highlights of the exhibition is of course the new Alfa Romeo Tonale, the first electrified compact SUV in its history. In addition to the new Alfa Romeo Tonale, the dynamic Giulia and the Stelvio, the brand’s sporty SUV, will of course also be on display.

We would say, you have the whole summer to see this unique collection on display, and who wouldn’t visit the capital of Europe in the meantime, where there is so much to see, and excellent Belgian haute cuisine to enjoy?

Until soon, and I all wish you a fantastic (automotive) holiday. Your servant will be travelling to France at the wheel of his personal Audi A5 Cabrio… soon more about my trip!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Opel presented new Opel Astra Sports Tourer in Brussels…

Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz presented in world premiere the new Astra Sports Tourer

The Opel Astra Sports Tourer would have its world premiere at the Brussels Motorshow 2022. This car is, after the new Astra Hatchback, the first Opel estate car with the new expressive Opel Vizor front and the Pure Panel, the digital dashboard. As you can see from the photos, it combines a number of distinctive features: functionality, elegance, sportiness and generous, modular interior space.

Opel therefore organized a press conference at the stylish The Merode in Brussels on Tuesday 1 February, to present the two variants of this new generation Opel Astra.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Mr. Uwe Hochgeschurtz, the new Opel CEO, lifted the veil of this new Astra.  This is the first Opel estate to be electrified. In addition, the sports estate from Rüsselsheim will be optionally available in stylish two-tone paint. Like that of the five-door model soon to make its debut at dealerships, the Sports Tourer’s interior is also thoroughly redesigned.

For the first time, drivers will find the fully digital Pure Panel cockpit in front of them – the next generation of the fully connected and intuitively operable Human Machine Interface (HMI). Utilising the integrated Snapdragon® Cockpit Platform from Qualcomm Technologies, the Pure Panel cockpit features enhanced graphics, multimedia, computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to provide a more integrated, contextually aware and constantly adaptive cockpit system that evolves to its passengers’ preferences.

There is no need for cables in the new Astra Sports Tourer either, since the new generation of multimedia infotainment systems can be connected as standard on all model variants to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via compatible smartphones. Here, too, the maxim was to create a clear, fully functional high-tech design that does not appear cold and impersonal, but rather conveys a feeling of security.

Efficient estate…

The Astra Sports Tourer with vital statistics of 4,642 x 1,860 x 1,480 millimetres (L x W x H) and a loading height of around 600 mm, displays the brand’s typical talent for efficient packaging.

To keep the loading sill low, the number plate, for example, is not located in the bumper – unlike in the five-door model – but in the tailgate. This makes it easier to load the completely flat rear compartment with luggage or equipment. And despite the considerably longer wheelbase of 2,732 mm (+70 mm) that is even 57 mm longer than that of the new Astra hatchback and increases cabin comfort for passengers, the new Astra Sports Tourer is 60 mm shorter than the previous model, thanks to the particularly short front overhang. 

Opel will soon open the order books for the new Astra Sports Tourer so that customers can configure their dream vehicle.

A bold electrified future…

Opel is also embarked on an electrification offensive in this New Year. Eleven Opel models will be electrified by mid-2022 – including Opel’s entire light commercial vehicle (LCV) range. En route to an emissions-free fleet, some models will exclusively be offered as battery-electric variants this year already.

Indeed, customers can now order the Opel Combo Life, Vivaro Combi and Zafira Life exclusively with an electric drive.

“There is no alternative to electrification. In the future, Opel will gain even more traction with environmentally friendly innovations. And what shows us the rapid change again very clearly: From 2024, we will offer an electrified version of every Opel model, without exception. In other words, the successors to Crossland and Insignia will also be electrified. Our statement is clear: From 2028, we will exclusively sell battery-electric vehicles in Europe,” stated Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz. (See photo above).

In the coming months, the new generation of the Opel Astra will be the linchpin of the Rüsselsheim-based brand’s electrification offensive. After celebrating its premiere in September 2021, the new Astra five-door will arrive at customers in the spring – and will be available as a plug-in hybrid right from the start. In 2023, the purely battery-electric Astra-e will complete the range. The emissions-free product portfolio with the Blitz already ranges from the Opel Rocks-e lightweight vehicle to the large Opel Movano-e van.

More Opel news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

2021 was another exceptional year for the Mercedes-Benz Museum…

Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

You servant is truly fond of car museums, and unfortunately, the present times are truly difficult. Also for the wonderful Mercedes-Benz Museum…

As in 2020, it was marked in many respects by the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “We look to 2022 with optimism, but also due caution, because the pandemic is not over,” says Bettina Haussmann, Director of the Museum. “Nevertheless, a suitable programme is already in preparation: under the motto ‘Take your mind off thingsʼ, we would like to provide distraction in stressful times and invite you to visit the Museum free of charge in the first week of March. And of course we are especially looking forward to the warmer season with a wide range of outdoor events, the relaunch of ‘Stadtkulturʼ (Urban Culture) and Classics & Coffee. The open-air cinema and the Mercedes-Benz Concert Summer are also scheduled to take place again this year.”

“Given the overall difficult situation worldwide, we are nevertheless satisfied with 2021. The number of visitors was hardly any different from 2020,” says Museum Director Haussmann.

Currently until 15 February at the Mercedes-Benz Museum: Presentation on the hill of three championship cars from the 2021 motorsport season.

245,232 people visited the Mercedes-Benz Museum from June to December 2021 under the conditions of a well-thought-out hygiene concept. Despite a longer pandemic-related closure period than in 2020, this was only 1,573 visitors or 0.6 per cent less.

We list here for you the important dates (subject to change)

Champions@Mercedes-Benz Museum (until 15 February 2022) Special presentation on the hill of three championship cars from the 2021 motorsport season: Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02, Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E-Performance.

Special exhibition “The Fascination of the SL – a dream car for 70 years” (until 9 October 2022).

Mercedes-Benz Museum, special exhibition “The Fascination of the SL – a dream car for 70 years”, 22 October 2021 to 9 October 2022.

 “Take your mind off things” (1 to 6 March 2022): Free admission to the permanent exhibition and special exhibition. Free guided tours daily at 4 p.m. (prior reservation recommended).

Hands-on exhibition for children aged 4 and over (29 March to 24 April 2022): “The whole world on one page – international hidden object books”.

Classics & Coffee (from mid-April): The popular classic car meeting every Sunday and from mid-May “after work” on numerous Thursday evenings.

Night of the Stars (mid-May 2022): The gastronomy event in a class of its own.

Long Night of the Museums (21 May 2022)

Concert Summer at the Mercedes-Benz Museum (7 to 10 July 2022).

Urban Culture (14 July to 14 August 2022): A diverse cultural programme on the open-air stage with partners from the region.

Open-air cinema (18 Ausgust to 4 September 2022)

Hands-on activities for children (every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Let’s hope the spring and summer will bring better times!

Soon we will also bring you more news about the Porsche and BMW museums!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and… Rimac: Belgian Importer D’Ieteren enlarges import activities in top segment…

Amidst the Supercar Story exhibit at Autoworld, D’Ieteren presented the brands it imports in Belgium, with Rimac as a newcomer…

The famous Belgian firm D’Ieteren, which has a unique and rich history, mainly but not exclusively in the automotive world, looks back at a very good year for its three luxury brands, and adds another one… Rimac.

The Flying Spur Hybrid reveals its electrified nature by a blue colored radiator mascotte…

But let’s start our overview here with Bentley. Your servant has always been very fond of these cars, and vividly remembers a drive in the Mulsanne Bentley from the D’Ieteren headquarters in Brussels to Le Mans, to attend the 24 h race there. This unique experience was further enhanced by the invitation by D’Ieteren to attend the race in the Bentley hospitality room above the Bentley pit stand. Sweet and precious memories…

Your servant was unfortunately medically advised not to attend the press conference at Autoworld in the light of the present pandemic, but thanks to the excellent D’Ieteren PR department, last but not least PR Managers Bernard Van Bellingen and Jean-Marc Ponteville, there is, dear reader, more than enough info material available to present all the news in detail to you.

A Bentley remains a Bentley, even when only judging it by its dashboard instruments…

Bentley took advantage of the sensational Supercar Story exhibit at Autoworld to delight fans and enthusiasts of exceptional cars. The Continental GT Speed Cabriolet has been on display since the opening of the show on December 17 last. Over 40 exceptional cars from the history of the automotive industry accompanied the Flying Spur Hybrid at the Autoworld venue. Among these were the Flying Spur V8, the Continental GT Speed Convertible and the Bentley Continental GT3-R. The selection of Bentley models on display showcases the strongest product portfolio in the history of the brand whilst cementing the role of Bentley in automotive history.

The Flying Spur Hybrid made its debut…

But in a surprising move, at the initiative of its headquarters in Crewe, this collection has been joined by two additional models: the Flying Spur Hybrid, which is having its European premiere there, as well as the very first Flying Spur to leave the factory in 2003 with the number 1 stamped on its chassis.

“The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid that we can admire at Autoworld until January 23, is the model that has traveled 733 kilometers through Iceland with electricity generated from geothermal sources and biofuel. Because, indeed, our engines are already compatible with 100% renewable synthetic fuels ,” said David Favest, Bentley General Manager.

Combined with electricity from natural sources, this biofuel can reduce CO2 emissions from well to wheel by 45%. In electric mode, the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid can travel 40 kilometers. We will come back with a detailed review of this formidable car.

Towards carbon neutrality

Bentley’s ambitious Beyond100 strategy…

Indeed, “the world’s best luxury sedan”, as Bentley calls it, goes green: the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid is another step in Bentley’s “Beyond100” strategy. Its goal is to be carbon neutral from start to finish by 2030. On its journey, it will see the entire Bentley range having an electrified drivetrain option by 2024 and the brands first BEV in 2025.

In that respect, the dealership Bentley Brussels is setting a good example with its power supply on solar panels. But that’s not all: in 2021 Bentley Brussels also installed three beehives on its site in Drogenbos.

David Favest explains: “The surrounding site, which is owned by D’Ieteren, is a Natura 2000 site. In this zone we are recolonizing Belgian Black Bees (Apis Mellifera Mellifera), the purest breed of the Belgian bees on the brink of extinction; we aim to have 30,000 bees in three hives over a three-year period.”

We would also like to remind you that last summer Bentley Motors entered into a partnership with The Macallan, the prestigious Scottish producer of Scotch whiskey and alcohol-free thanks. Both companies want to develop a number of experiments together for a more sustainable future.

More sales and more customization

2021 was a remarkably successful year for Bentley with 109 registrations. But with the foreign registrations added, the order book is more representative: together with Lamborghini, a total of 250 vehicles last year. In Belgium, Bentley’s registrations grew by 9%, orders even by 70%!

In the total luxury market (more than 450 hp), Bentley and Lamborghini have a market share of 22.2%, while the D’Ieteren group (Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini) even approaches a share of almost 45%!

“Last year we also observed a strong evolution in spending on bespoke customization,” continues David Favest. “The Bentley customer currently spends an average of €42,000, excluding taxes, on the Mulliner program. That’s almost €20,000 more than before.”

Covid safe #One2OneXperience increases customer satisfaction

The health crisis has led us to create new services for our customers, such as the #One2OneXperience. This allows them to configure their car from home in a paperless manner. This experience is only available in the company of a vendor who provides remote access to the world’s most powerful configurators, storing more than 1.7 million images per model in ultra-high resolution. “To develop this service, we upgraded our entire IT system with twice the bandwidth for Teams. This increases the degree of personalization by 10 billion possible combinations,” explains David Favest.

If the customer wishes to complete the configuration at the dealer, we offer him or her a private appointment, with a prepared test vehicle also available. The dealerships of Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti Brussels are currently only open by appointment.

As a result of its bees conservation programme, Bentley even produces honey…

The #One2OneXperience service also includes after-sales service. This makes it possible to collect or deliver a vehicle for maintenance where the customer wishes, either via closed transport or with a driver.

These new services, launched during the health crisis to limit contacts, have increased the satisfaction rate to over 90%!

Of course, news will follow about Lamborghini, Bugatti and a new fully electric supercar brand: Rimac.

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Citroën exhibits its vision of mobility at the CES…   

At the heart of the Stellantis experience at the 2022 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which had opened its doors from 5 to 8 January, Citroën shared its vision of current and future mobility with an original innovation, the Citroën Skate and of course, its mind-blowing Citroën Ami.

 Citroën exhibited its “Skate”, an essential part of its concept of autonomous and shared mobility, Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision.

The concept combines an autonomous technology platform, Citroën Skate, with pods purposed for a range of services and uses designed by partners (local authorities, service companies). The “Skates” will transport users from one point to another in the city, offering them a singular on-board experience”e.

The aim of this autonomous open-source concept is to free up urban traffic and bring users an original experience that takes care of all their needs.

To optimise urban traffic flows, a fleet of autonomous and interconnected robots, “Citroën Skates”, dissociated from the pods that they transport, will circulate in special lanes seamlessly integrated into the urban landscape. The Skates are mobility vectors which enable the pods, created by various service companies, to position themselves on their platform.

Users enjoy 24-7 access to the service of their choice. For example, they can benefit from a relaxed environment to read a book, watch a video, listen to music while sipping a drink, or practice sports while travelling from A to B.

Of course, focusing on the present, the Citroën Ami was also in the spotlight in its playful and sporty My Ami “Pop” version. Accessible, electric, ultra-compact and agile, Ami responds to new micro-mobility needs, rounding out our range of electric vehicles for individuals and professionals alike.

More interesting Citroën news soon, stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW launches new BMW iX M60 at Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas…

BMW Group reveals for the first time a world premiere of a production vehicle on the CES. It is the new BMW iX M60. It is the first performance automobile from BMW M GmbH developed from the outset for all-electric mobility. And it breathes performance, as a BMW should.

Indeed, the third and even more powerful model of the new technological flagship is at once the most powerful and the fastest electric vehicle the BMW Group has ever produced. With output of 455 kW/619 PS, a maximum torque of 1,015 Nm in Sport mode or even 1,100 Nm when Launch Control is active and with M specific chassis tuning, the BMW iX M60 is bringing a phenomenal performance experience to zero local emissions mobility.

The BMW iX M60 takes just 3.8 seconds* to sprint from a standing start to 100 km/h. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, making it 50 km/h faster than the BMW iX xDrive50.

The necessary energy for this is supplied by a high-voltage battery with a gross energy content of 111.5 kWh. State-of-the-art battery cell technology permits a range of up to 566 kilometres* according to WLTP and helps to give the BMW iX M60 impressive long distance capability.

There is a lot more BMW news unveiled on the CES, so there is more to come in these columns…

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Lexus initiatives during Belgian “Salon” period…

Lexus is taking advantage of the Salon period to introduce “Lexus Relax”, a unique program with a free extended warranty of up to 10 years to all customers, irrespective whether they have a new or pre-owned Lexus. Indeed, as our report about our own Lexus on these pages shows, reliable they are!

In order to offer the customer the opportunity to discover all hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models and the Salon conditions at any time, Lexus is opening a virtual showroom. The latest model, the new NX, will be on public display in a number of shopping centers across Belgium and Luxembourg.

Relax with a Lexus…

With the Lexus Relax Program, every Lexus owner that has reached the end of the conventional manufacturer’s warranty (3 years or 100,000 km) automatically receives a free extended warranty of 12 months or 15,000 km after each annual service in the Lexus authorized network. Any car that is less than 10 years old or has less than 185,000 miles on the odometer is eligible for this free extended warranty. This also applies to used cars, even if they were previously serviced outside the official network(!).

Virtual showroom, the interactive Lexus experience

Lexus offers a fully virtual showroom to give everyone the opportunity to explore its hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid models. When a visitor selects a model, he or she is given the opportunity to discover the car, the interior and the technical specifications. With regard to this specific “Salon”period, Salon conditions will be proposed. After this interactive experience, the visitor has the option to make an appointment with a Lexus dealer and even book a test drive right away.

The virtual showroom is accessible through the Lexus website.

The new NX goes shopping…

During the Salon period, the new Lexus NX will be on display in a number of shopping centers throughout Belgium and Luxembourg. Visitors to the various Lexus stands will have the opportunity to discover the new compact SUV for the first time, experience the luxurious interior and learn more about the technical specifications and the associated Salon conditions.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

D’Ieteren innovates and launches for the first time a national multi-brand campaign…

On a special website, D’Ieteren presents Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, CUPRA, ŠKODA and Porsche, to make buyers choose more easily…

In the first days of this new year, interesting auto news is reaching our desk. Last but not least big Belgian importers are doubling their efforts to reach the car buying public, as there is no Automobile Salon this year due to Covid reasons.

Indeed, the salon period in January is traditionally the time for the Belgian public to think about a new car, even when the Show is not taking place. Today, where the range of models is ever increasing, making the right choice has become more complex. This is how the idea was born at D’Ieteren to offer a comfortable solution in a few clicks by bringing together all the models of the importer and making a ‘short list’ with the ideal model in the first place.

The site suggests these models, but of course the buyer can freely click away and make his personal choice…

D’Ieteren therefore launches for the first time a national multi-brand campaign from January 3 to 31 to coincide with the show period. Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, CUPRA, ŠKODA and Porsche are joining forces on the new platform Dezewordthet.be/voicimavoiture.be, on which visitors can discover their ideal Top 5 cars based on personal criteria.

Once the visitor has selected their ideal model, they can use the platform to find the contact details of the nearest dealer, request a quote or even book a test drive.

José Fernandez, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer D’Ieteren comments: “This innovative approach takes advantage of the entire model range of the Volkswagen Group and has been designed as simply as possible to guide customers in their choice. It takes into account their criteria of use and the technological developments, especially in the field of hybrid and electric vehicles.”

The launch of the internet platform will be supported by a major communications campaign, including a digital campaign and a major TV and radio campaign.

The platform’s address is www.dezewordthet.be or voicimavoiture.be

Just click away!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW presents the Concept M: a bold new vehicle concept…

We will be driving the coming month the stylish M4 Coupé, and we are looking forward to it. But in the meantime, we show you here some (very) interesting news from BMW, which is a harbinger of stylish things for the brand to come…

At Art Basel’s 2021 Miami Beach show, BMW M GmbH is presenting an expressive new vehicle concept on the global stage. The BMW Concept XM looks ahead to the most powerful BMW M car ever to go into series production, which is set to begin at the end of next year.

The BMW Concept XM provides a first glimpse of the new front-end design for BMW’s forthcoming luxury-class models. It will also introduce its audience to a highly progressive and distinctive take on BMW X model design and an all-new form of luxury and sense of space for the interior.

The series-production model – the BMW XM – will be built from the end of 2022 at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the USA, the most important sales market for the new high-performance car. BMW M will therefore be introducing its first standalone vehicle since the legendary BMW M1 in the year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.  The BMW XM will be available in plug-in hybrid form only and exclusively as an M model.

The bold exterior styling of the Concept XM reflects the car’s exceptional performance attributes: dynamism, agility and precision, plus an all-electric range of up to 80 km. The newly developed M Hybrid drive system in the BMW Concept XM brings together a V8 engine and a high-performance electric motor to develop maximum output of 550 kW/750 hp and peak torque of 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft). The first electrified vehicle from BMW M GmbH in the high-performance segment is therefore pointing the way for the future of the brand.

BMW M goes its own way in the luxury segment…

The BMW Concept XM sees BMW M GmbH forging a distinctive path in the luxury segment. The car’s exterior majors on presence and extrovert appeal. Inside the car, a special take on the driver-focused cockpit typical for the M models meets an all-new rear compartment design: high-comfort seats and an illuminated, sculptural headliner add panache.

“The design of the BMW Concept XM is an extravagant statement by BMW M in the heart of the luxury segment,” says Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “It has a unique identity and embodies an expressive lifestyle like no other model in the BMW line-up.”

The front end: progressive design for maximum presence.

The BMW Concept XM debuts the new, progressive front-end design for BMW’s luxury-class models, a version of which will be seen for the first time in 2022 as part of the BMW model offensive in the luxury segment. The headlights have been split into two separate modules. The horizontal kidney grille sits between the headlights and tapers towards the outer edges, producing a near-octagonal outline that emphasises the front end’s character. The black kidney grille elements are enclosed within an intricate surround and appear almost to be floating freely within a High-gloss Black surface. The new XM logo in the kidney grille and the large air intakes hint at the power of the V8 engine, which teams up with the electric motor to form the M Hybrid system.

M-specific details point to compromise-free performance.

The glasshouse of the BMW Concept XM rises up vertically, accentuating the front end’s imposing feel. The colour of the roof contrasts with the black finish of the A-pillars. The windscreen seems to have an even heavier rake as a result, injecting modern dynamism into the front end. Slim LED searchlights have been incorporated into the roof above the A-pillars.

The powerful and heavily contoured proportions of the BMW Concept XM highlight the car’s identity and draw the eye to the coupé-like character of the body. The visually striking front end, long bonnet and stretched, sloping roofline present a characterful two-box design with a distinctive outline.

The two-tone paint finish of the BMW Concept XM further accentuates its lines: the upper section is in matt gold-bronze, while the lower section sports the Space Grey metallic shade. Below the window graphic, a broad, High-gloss Black line – the “black belt” – separates the two exterior colours. The charging flap rearwards of the front-left wheel is a reminder of the M Hybrid drive system at work.

The rear : bold stature

The design of the rear end likewise accentuates the car’s powerful stance, and the BMW Concept XM cuts a low and sporty figure from this angle. The BMW logo is laser-etched into the window below each of the two cant rails. This is a stylistic reference to the BMW M1, to date the only example of a standalone model developed exclusively by BMW M GmbH.

The interior design – high performance and extrovert luxury.

Inside the BMW Concept XM, the driver will find a distinctive M interpretation of driver-focused cockpit design. The lines and surface design of the instrument panel, centre console, door trim and seats give the ambience in the front compartment a progressive feel with their powerful geometry and high-quality materials. Brown, vintage-look leather, copper and carbon fibre create a bridge between luxury and motor sport. A bold trim element provides clear visual separation between the driver’s area and the other sections of the car.

The new BMW Curved Display screen grouping creates a neat balance between traditional driver focus and modern digitality. Red accents on the steering wheel and centre console are M-specific references to the car’s sporting DNA. A trio of vertical elements presented in the three colours of the BMW M brand logo form the heart of the centre console.

Spacious and luxurious: the M Lounge.

The unwavering driver focus of the front compartment contrasts with the extravagant and luxurious lounge-like ambience in the rear of the BMW Concept XM. Special materials, visually powerful surfaces and expressive details turn the rear seats into the unique M Lounge, black-tinted rear side windows underscoring the abiding sense of privacy here. While warm brown leather dominates the cockpit, the rear is decked out in the rich colour shade Petrol. The large rear seat bench with its deep seat recesses forms an inviting space to relax. Only the diamond-shaped area of the head restraints – which provides the supporting function familiar from BMW M Sport seats in other models – is leather-trimmed.

Illuminated and sculptural: the  headliner .

The visual highlight of the cabin is its headliner with a three-dimensional prism structure. A combination of indirect and direct lighting produces a relief-like structure. The ambient lighting can be activated in the three BMW M colours.

BMW Curved Display with M-specific user interface.

Based on the latest generation of BMW iDrive, the M-specific version of the control/operation system translates the high-performance character of the BMW Concept XM into the digital world. Showcased in the familiar three M colours, it visualises the modes of the hybrid drive system as well as the pure-electric driving mode with captivating aesthetic appeal.

Stay tuned on these pages!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Five world premieres at Porsche…

The 718 Cayman GT4 RS and 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport

Indeed, there is no Motor Show in Brussels this year. But in the showrooms, there is no lack of news. Also from one of the most iconic sports car manufacturers around: Porsche. Your servant had a good taste of these unique cars in his early days as a (test) driver. Just look at my report in these columns “Some early photos from my automotive beginnings”, where I am to be seen behind the wheel of a 914-6 VW Porsche, or an early 911… Just klick on the link here: https://autoprova.be/2021/03/27/some-early-photos-from-my-automotive-beginnings/

Needless to say that we want to repeat the experience, and collect for you some driving impressions of their latest products. In the meantime, we will present Porsche news on a very regular basis in the future!

Just read on here…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A three lane future for Porsche…

Porsche is seen cruising into the future in three lanes: alongside exhilarating petrol engines and powerful plug-in hybrids, electric powertrains form the third pillar of the powertrain strategy.

This diversity was clearly seen on display at the LA Auto Show. In total, Porsche exhibits there five world premieres. In addition to the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS – the highlight of the motor show – the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, the Taycan GTS, the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo and the Panamera Platinum Edition are making their first appearances.

The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is the new flagship model in the 718 family. On the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it outpaced its sibling, the 718 Cayman GT4, by more than 23 seconds with a time of 7:04.511 minutes on the 20.6 km version of the circuit.

The heart of this sports car is the 368 kW (500 PS) naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine. The maximum torque is 450 Nm. The low-ratio Porsche dual clutch transmission (PDK) underpins the incredible acceleration. The 718 Cayman GT4 RS sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 315 km/h.

In Belgium, the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS can now be ordered at a base price of 153.065 euros (including 21 per cent VAT).

At the same time, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport racing version will celebrate its premiere in Los Angeles. From 2022, the customer sports car will be launched in multiple national and international racing series.

Truly electrifying: Taycan GTS and Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

With a range of up to 504 km, based on WLTP figures, the new Taycan GTS is the first of the model series to hit the 500-km mark. The new GTS is the sporty all-rounder of the model range. With up to 440 kW (598 PS) of overboost when using Launch Control, its power is impressive to say the least…

The third body variant of the first all-electric Porsche model series is the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. The newcomer shares its silhouette and rearward-sloping roof line with the Taycan Cross Turismo. It ps practical too: the luggage compartment offers more than 1,200 litres of load capacity under the tailgate.

Both model variants will roll out to dealers in spring 2022. Further engine options for the Sport Turismo will follow soon!

Elegance with the Panamera Platinum Edition

The new Panamera Platinum Edition combines elegant, sporty design and high-quality equipment at an attractive price.

The exterior is characterised by accents in Satin Gloss Platinum. These can be found on the air outlet trims, the PORSCHE logo, the model designation and the standard 21-inch exclusive Design Sport wheels. The side window trims and the sports tailpipes are finished in High-Gloss Black to match. The interior is up to the mark with 14-way electrically adjustable comfort seats, the Black décor made of brushed aluminium and the door sill guards with the Platinum Edition logo. This extensive list of standard equipment also includes LED main headlights with matrix beam including PDLS Plus, adaptive air suspension including PASM, a BOSE® Surround Sound System and much more.

Depending on the market, the Platinum Edition is available as the Panamera, Panamera 4 and Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The first models will be delivered to customers beginning 2022.

More news (and driving impressions) soon!

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