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    2017 MINI Countryman Grows and Brings A Plug-In Hybrid

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      MINI's largest model grows once again (Yes, we know it's an oxymoron)


    We can't help but wonder if MINI is kind of missing the point of their name. This thought came up as we were looking at the details of the second-generation Countryman that will be debuting next month at the LA Auto Show.

    Compared to the outgoing Countryman, the 2017 model is 8.1-inches longer, 1.3-inches wider, and rides on a wheelbase that 2.9-inches longer. MINI, you're supposed to keep your vehicles small, not making them bigger. But we have to admit this growth spurt does make the Countryman look more SUV than raised-hatchback.

    The increase in size also allows for a larger interior. Shoulder room increases by 2-inches for both rows and rear legroom jumps by 3.8-inches. Cargo space measures 17.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 47.6 cubic feet with the seats down - up 5.6 cubic feet in both measurements. Otherwise, the interior matches up with current MINI models with such details as an improved layout for the dash and the option of a 8.8-inch screen for the infotainment system.

    There are three powertrains on offer. The base Cooper features a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Cooper S models get a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Both gas engines feature the choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic, along with the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. New for this generation is Cooper S E Countryman All4 - MINI's first plug-in hybrid. This pairs the 1.5L three-cylinder with an 87-horsepower electric motor and a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Total output stands at 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. This makes the Cooper S E Countryman All4 the most powerful Countryman on sale (until the JCW version comes out). Electric-only range stands at 24 Miles. MINI hasn't released any details on how it takes to recharge.

    MINI says the 2017 Countryman will arrive in the U.S. next March. The plug-in hybrid will arrive in June.

    Source: MINI
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Introducing the Biggest, Most Adventurous MINI Yet: The New MINI Countryman

    - First ever plug-in hybrid available on Countryman as Cooper S E ALL4 variant 
    - World Premiere of all three variants at Los Angeles International Auto Show 
    - Cooper and Cooper S go on sale in March 2017, while Cooper S E ALL4 plug-in hybrid goes on sale in June 2017

    Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 25, 2016 – MINI USA introduced today the biggest, most adventurous MINI ever, the all-new 2017 MINI Countryman. That’s not all. For the first time ever, a MINI model will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, combining the best of both worlds. The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 will be powered by both a three- cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology gasoline engine and an electric hybrid synchronous motor. All three of the new MINI Countryman variants will make their World Premiere at the Los Angeles International Auto Show at a press conference on Wednesday, November 16th, at 11:50 am PDT.

    The all-new MINI Countryman has been completely redesigned and reengineered from the ground up, yet still is instantly identifiable as a MINI. Now incorporating BMW Group engine technology and vehicle architecture, the all-new MINI Countryman offers an all-turbocharged engine lineup with outstanding acceleration and the go-kart driving dynamics that MINI owners have come to know and love – especially when experienced with the added traction that comes from the latest generation of ALL4 all- wheel drive. At the same time, this new architecture delivers excellent ride quality and enables the most spacious MINI interior ever.

    “The new MINI Countryman is not only the largest MINI we’ve ever built, but it’s also the most technologically advanced and most versatile MINI of our product line up,” said Thomas Felbermair, Vice President MINI of the Americas. “The addition of the plug-in hybrid option is a major milestone for the brand and we look forward to bringing this exciting new vehicle into one of the top performing market segments.”

    Fun to drive

    The benefits from the BMW Group engine technology are evident across both the Cooper and Cooper S variants, with the new three-cylinder MINI TwinPower turbocharged engine on the MINI Cooper Countryman delivering 42 percent more torque than its predecessor, just shy of the outgoing Cooper S variant. The MINI Cooper Countryman can also hit 0 – 60 mph 1.6 seconds more quickly than did its predecessor, and for the first time, can be matched with ALL4 all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, with 207 ft-lbs on tap, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the MINI Cooper S Countryman nearly matches the torque output of the outgoing MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.

    As the most adventurous MINI ever built, traction and performance in all kinds of conditions, wet or dry, rugged or smooth, straight or curvy, the new MINI Countryman benefits from the all-new ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The fully automatic system seamlessly delivers power to the wheels that grip and reacts to road conditions in as little as .25 seconds, with no action required by the driver or passenger.

    Spacious interior

    The biggest MINI ever means more space for cargo, people and anything else needed for your next big adventure. Not only does the all-new MINI Countryman offer cavernous cargo space – an increase of 30 percent compared to the outgoing generation – but with sliding, folding rear seats, a high roofline, and an adjustable trunk floor, it offers an incredibly flexible, versatile one too. The new MINI Countryman now has more front and rear legroom, front and rear headroom and rear seat shoulderroom than many of the major competitors in its class.

    Pre-Outfitted with Premium Features

    Although the new MINI Countryman continues the MINI tradition of offering an incredible array of possibilities for custom configuration, some customers may find that the car is already loaded before they’ve added any options. Every MINI Countryman will come standard with:

    - an expansive Panorama Sunroof - Sensatec Leatherette Upholstery - Comfort Access keyless entry - MINI Connected infotainment system with 6.5-inch high-resolution display - Rear View Camera with guidelines - Rear Park Distance Control (parking sensors) - Bluetooth supporting Telephone, Audio Streaming, and Siri Eyes Free - Automatic Headlights and Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers - Fore-and-Aft Sliding Rear Seats with Reclining and 40:20:40 Split-Folding Backrests - 17-inch light alloy wheels (Cooper) or 18-inch light alloy wheels (Cooper S)

    Models with ALL4 all-wheel drive also come standard with heated seats. Cooper S models (with and without ALL4) come with standard LED headlights and daytime running lights, bolstered sport seats, and 18-inch light alloy wheels.

    In addition to the standard features highlighted above, the new MINI Countryman features a number of options to improve the overall experience for the driver and passenger using a completely new generation of technology. A Technology Package includes a new 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation system, driven by MINI Connected 5.0, a redesigned and new-generation user interface and operating system, as well as Qi wireless device charging capability and MINI Find Mate Bluetooth tags.

    The option to plug-in

    The biggest, most adventurous MINI ever built will also be the most technologically advanced MINI when the brand launches its first ever plug-in hybrid model, the new MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, in June 2017. Behind the scenes, a 3-cylinder gasoline engine works in tandem with a powerful electric motor to produce a combined peak output of 221 hp, with the e-rear axle enabling all-season ALL4 traction – but for drivers, Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 simply means high-tech Motoring fun.

    It’s the perfect vehicle for city dwellers who wish to enjoy the benefits of purely electric mobility when commuting between home and work every day, for example, while at the same time benefiting from unlimited long-distance suitability on the weekend.

    #FromWhereIMINI

    Later this week, drone photographer Dirk Dallas (@dirka) will be taking the new MINI Countryman on a cross country adventure to its World Premiere in Los Angeles. Fellow MINI fans and adventurers can follow the action @MINIUSA as Dirk shares some of his favorite adventure spots across the country. Additionally, fans will have a chance at winning limited edition MINI Adventure Series patches by guessing Dirk’s #FromWhereIMINI location.

    The new MINI Countryman will go on sale in March 2017 at MINI dealers across the U.S. with the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid following in June 2017. Pricing for the U.S. market will be announced at a later date.

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    it's just weird that a company historically built on efficient, fun vehicles couldn't be assed to make a proper EV in the year 2016...

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    2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Just goes to show that in 2016, electrification is still seen as a far-out fringe novelty that no one wants.

    On the contrary, I work on a university campus and the majority of students that I talk to want to actually own an electric or hybrid car.  Just because your close friends in the bingo and shuffleboard crowd really liked the six volt systems in their Studebakers, Packards and DeSotos does not mean that modern electric vehicles are unwanted.

    Edited by A Horse With No Name
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    4 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Just goes to show that in 2016, electrification is still seen as a far-out fringe novelty that no one wants.

    Sept. Mini Sales: 2,988

    Sept. Tesla Sales: 4,864

    lol

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    Bravo for going bigger so us big folks might actually fit and consider one. Boo for the piss poor Hybrid. They should have at least a 50 to 60 mile range in that battery pack. Pathetic.

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    So it is going to be ~170 inches in length (going by current model being ~162 inches, still shorter than a Mazda 3 or Impreza hatchback by a few inches.

     

     

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    7 minutes ago, frogger said:

    So it is going to be ~170 inches in length (going by current model being ~162 inches, still shorter than a Mazda 3 or Impreza hatchback by a few inches.

     

     

    They have lost their way from a marketing standpoint and will probably never re find it.  Imprezza much more closely matches what the market wants.  Subaru met its 2020 sales goal 4 years early....

    MINI is trying to re catch its sales goals from a decade ago.

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    1 hour ago, bigpoolog said:

    Sept. Mini Sales: 2,988

    Sept. Tesla Sales: 4,864

    lol

    Sept. Chevrolet Volt sales - 2,031  

    And that's a single model against an entire model lineup.

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    47 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Sept. Chevrolet Volt sales - 2,031  

    And that's a single model against an entire model lineup.

    Volt sales should go up with time.  Most owners are fanatical about how much they love their car, and as more are resold used to people the customer base rises. 

    Mini on the other hand has had their day.

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    Please help me out by posting the commanding percentage of the overall market that hybrids and full electrics represent in 2016.

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    http://redbullglobalrallycross.com/news/latestnews/red-bull-global-rallycross-add-electric-series-2018-season/

    This should show some of the interest with the younger generation in electric cars, Red Bull is adding an electric division for Rallycross.  given that the people into this are ninety eight percent under thirty...would they be doing this if it was not going to appeal to their target demographic?

    13 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    No I'm just a realist.  And you should keep your Jetta.

    Would love to keep the Jetta but it is pretty much a one year only engine and emissions system, and will be hard to get parts for in a couple of years. Plus they are going to pay me twenty five grand for a car that is worth maybe 11 grand with the scandal.

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    Look for example at a car like the 2004 Lincoln LS with the V8. Jaguar is no longer producing parts or tooling for the 3.9, and there is not enough enthusiast interest to support the car long term. Thus it pretty much is a unicorn.  same thing will happen with the 2015 Jetta I own.

    Shame because the car knocks down 50 plus MPG on the highway without much of an effort.  Will be a big shock if I actually buy the WRX I am thinking seriously of.

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    3 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    http://redbullglobalrallycross.com/news/latestnews/red-bull-global-rallycross-add-electric-series-2018-season/

    This should show some of the interest with the younger generation in electric cars, Red Bull is adding an electric division for Rallycross.  given that the people into this are ninety eight percent under thirty...would they be doing this if it was not going to appeal to their target demographic?

    Would love to keep the Jetta but it is pretty much a one year only engine and emissions system, and will be hard to get parts for in a couple of years. Plus they are going to pay me twenty five grand for a car that is worth maybe 11 grand with the scandal.

    Red Bull rally is gonna be a hit with Millennials. It is amazing the interest in EV auto's by that segment.

    I agree with you take the money and run, VW had their day and the Diesel scandal has set them back in the public view about 25-30 years.

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    58 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Red Bull rally is gonna be a hit with Millennials. It is amazing the interest in EV auto's by that segment.

    I agree with you take the money and run, VW had their day and the Diesel scandal has set them back in the public view about 25-30 years.

    Not sure why they are trying to bring in an under powered under engineered US market only SUV for the masses either.  They seem to have the opposite of the Midas touch. '

    Really, it is hard to match US car makers at their own game. Anyone who would buy this MINI SUV over a GMC Terrain needs to have their head examined!

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    12 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Please help me out by posting the commanding percentage of the overall market that hybrids and full electrics represent in 2016.

    The more expensive electric car sells within 900 units of an entire "youth and sporty" brand that base prices about $10k less 

    Toyota sells more Prii in 2 months than Mini sells cars in an entire year. 

    Even a 20% take rate on the Fusion Hybrid would outnumber the number of Minis sold in a year.

    And that's just three models...

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    The more expensive electric car sells within 900 units of an entire "youth and sporty" brand that base prices about $10k less 

    Toyota sells more Prii in 2 months than Mini sells cars in an entire year. 

    Even a 20% take rate on the Fusion Hybrid would outnumber the number of Minis sold in a year.

    And that's just three models...

    Does not answer the question there, skeeter.  And Horsey, that would certainly be a babe magnet!  Except it still basically depends on good ol' gasoline for motive power.  ;)

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    1 minute ago, ocnblu said:

    Does not answer the question there, skeeter.  And Horsey, that would certainly be a babe magnet!  Except it still basically depends on good ol' gasoline for motive power.  ;)

    Electric motive power is growing whether you like it or not.

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    We just fixed a '14 Jetta TDi this week.  I was talking to the guy about the so-called "scandal".  He says he is in love with his Jetta and he is keeping it.  So he gets a check from VW for his imaginary troubles and gets to keep his beloved car... "50 MPG!" he says.

    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Electric motive power is growing whether you like it or not.

    I ASKED FOR THE TRUTH, MONSIGNOR!  NOT SOME DANCE AROUND IT!  ;)

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    MINI, as a brand, is junk.  Just like BMW.  I just think it's funny that so many hybrids have been introduced to great fanfare, then soon after, they are dead and no one misses them.  I could list them.  Wanna hear it?  :smilewide:

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    Just now, ocnblu said:

    MINI, as a brand, is junk.  Just like BMW.  I just think it's funny that so many hybrids have been introduced to great fanfare, then soon after, they are dead and no one misses them.  I could list them.  Wanna hear it?  :smilewide:

    About the same number of people who still miss Pontiac or Oldsmobile?

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    • By Drew Dowdell
      Back in January, during the Detroit Auto Show, we found a sign that Ford was preparing a plug-in hybrid Ford Explorer even though it hadn't been officially announced.   A few days ago, Ford did officially unveil it as a Europe only model.
      The Ford Explorer Plug-in looks to be using the same running gear as the Lincoln Aviator GT, a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 plus electric motor that produces around 444 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque running through its specialized 10-speed transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.  It is able to run for about 25 miles in EV-only mode.
      Under the cargo floor is a 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, slightly smaller than the battery in the now canceled Chevrolet Volt. 
      The plug-in version will only be available on the S-Line and Platinum trim lines. 
      Read more about the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator below.
       
      Ford of Europe Press Release on Page 2
      FORD UNVEILS ALL-NEW EXPLORER PLUG-IN HYBRID SUV WITH 40 KM (25 MILES) ZERO-EMISSION CITY DRIVING RANGE
      All-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid seven-seat sports utility vehicle to go on sale in Europe later this year Electrified powertrain combines 3.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine, electric motor and battery for 450 PS, 840 Nm of torque, and 40 km (25 miles) pure-electric city driving range Vehicle is all-new to Europe and features as standard new Reverse Brake Assist as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring Luxurious interior offers 10.1-inch touchscreen for SYNC 3 connectivity and features as standard FordPass Connect modem, B&O Sound System, easy-to-operate flexible seating Versatility, capability and refinement optimised with 10-speed automatic transmission, Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, and Terrain Management System with selectable Drive Modes AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April. 2, 2019 – The all-new Ford Explorer SUV today made its European debut at a special “Go Further” event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as Ford announced a unique plug-in hybrid version of America’s all-time best selling SUV will go on sale in Europe later this year.
      The all-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will be offered in two distinctive, high-specification, left-hand drive variants – the sporty, Ford Performance-inspired Explorer ST-Line and the luxurious Explorer Platinum. Both are powered by a combination of Ford’s 3.0‑litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine, electric motor and generator to deliver 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque, alongside pure-electric driving capability.
      Standard Ford Intelligent All-Wheel drive technology supported by seven Drive Modes and Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission optimises performance in scenarios from urban driving to off-road. A refined and confidence-inspiring driving experience is enhanced with sophisticated driver assistance technologies as standard, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring functionalities.
      The exceptionally spacious, luxurious, comfort-focussed interior offers advanced features including a 10.1‑inch central portrait-mounted touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display. Families can get the most from road trips with versatile load and seating configurations and family-friendly innovations such as easy entrance and exit to the third row seats using just one hand.
      “I am very excited about the iconic Ford Explorer coming to Europe. The all-new Explorer comes with unstoppable design and phenomenal specification. The most versatile SUV we have ever offered for customers in the region is able to carry seven adults in comfort, tow a 2,500 kg trailer with ease, and still deliver 40 km (25 miles) zero-emissions city driving range,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Technologies like our 10.1-inch touchscreen and Reverse Brake Assist debut in Europe to make the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid supremely rewarding and easy to drive.”
      New from the ground-up the all-new sixth generation Ford Explorer was unveiled for customers in the U.S. earlier this year. First introduced in 1991, Explorer kick-started in the U.S. the rapid growth of the SUV segment that has now become immensely successful worldwide.
      Zero-emission driving
      The all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the energy-efficiency, refinement and performance benefits of an electrified powertrain in many driving scenarios, while maintaining the driving range of a traditional combustion engine. An electric-only urban cycle driving range of 40 km (25 miles) qualifies for tax breaks in some markets.
      Ford’s 350 PS 3.0-litre EcoBoost engine is supported by a 100 PS electric motor. The 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged using a charging port located on the front left-hand side fender between the door and wheel arch. In addition, the battery is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.
      The electric motor enables the Explorer to deliver zero-emission, pure-electric driving capability, and drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the Explorer automatically reverts to EV Auto mode – supplementing petrol engine power with electric motor assistance using recaptured energy for optimised fuel-efficiency. The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will deliver anticipated 78 g/km CO2 emissions and 3.4 l/100 km fuel efficiency.*
      The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid’s parallel hybrid architecture also enables the full combined power and torque of both petrol engine and electric motor to be deployed simultaneously for enhanced performance on- and off-road, and 2,500 kg towing capability. Ford’s sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission further optimises fuel-efficiency and refinement.
      “The Explorer is a true SUV – designed for families with a real sense of adventure – so it was essential that the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid featured a powertrain that could haul anything from boats to horseboxes,” said Matthias Tonn, Explorer chief programme engineer for Europe. “We specifically chose a parallel hybrid architecture that lets drivers use all 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque. We’ve even added a more advanced version of our Blind Spot Information System, that covers a 10 metre trailer.”
      Advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology every 10 milliseconds analyses inputs from dozens of sensors, including vehicle speed and yaw, ambient air temperature, wheel slip and towing status to determine whether additional traction is needed. An all-new single speed transfer case featuring an electro-mechanical torque clutch can seamlessly adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels within 100 milliseconds for a more secure footing on the road. Like the 10-speed automatic transmission, the system uses adaptive learning algorithms to continually adjust responses for optimised refinement.
      The Terrain Management System uses selectable Drive Modes to enable customers to tailor their drive experience to road, weather and terrain conditions on demand, including Normal, Sport, Trail, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Eco, and Deep Snow and Sand modes – with each Drive Mode featuring a unique graphical display in the 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Hill Descent Control also helps make light work of off-road terrain.
      Stress-free journeys in town and country
      Sophisticated driver assistance technologies contribute to a refined and intuitive driving experience for Explorer Plug-In Hybrid customers, including features designed to make it easier to drive a large vehicle in urban environments.
      Available Active Park Assist 2 enables fully-automated manoeuvres into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces at the push of a button. The system identifies suitable parking spaces and the driver can control vehicle motion by simply selecting neutral and holding down a single centre console-mounted button. The vehicle then fully controls forward and reverse gear selection, throttle and braking, as well as steering to manoeuvre into spaces before engaging park. The technology can also help drivers exit parallel parking spaces using fully automated Park-out Assist.
      Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them, and can apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the effects of collisions if drivers do not respond to warnings. In addition, Reverse Brake Assist uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in the vehicle’s path, and can apply the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision when the vehicle is backing up at a low speed – such as when exiting a driveway. Also helping drivers negotiate awkward scenarios, rear-view and front-view cameras with built-in lens cleaners combine with additional cameras mounted beneath the door mirrors to provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle projected on to the central display.
      Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology can detect people and cyclists in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path, and automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision and the driver does not respond to warnings.
      Stop-start traffic, highway driving and long distance road trips are made less stressful using Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring. The technology helps the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and can help keep the vehicle centred in its lane. In addition, the technology can adjust the vehicle speed to within legal limits by monitoring the roadside and overhead gantries for speed signs in addition to using information from the on-board navigation system.
      Stop & Go enables the ACC system to bring the vehicle to a complete halt in stop-start traffic, and automatically pull away if the stopping duration is less than 3 seconds. For stopping durations greater than 3 seconds, the driver can push a steering wheel button or gently apply the accelerator pull away.
      Lane-Centring technology monitors road markings and can apply gentle but discernible torque to the steering system to help drivers stay centred in their lane whenever the ACC system is activated. Designed to support drivers at speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph), the technology will deliver visual and audible warnings if it detects a lack of steering wheel input from the driver.
      Further technologies to help drivers avoid or mitigate the effects of accidents include Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, and Evasive Steering Assist that provides steering support to help avoid a collision. Post-Impact Braking provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event.
      “It’s not about filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake,” said Torsten Wey, manager, Driver Assistance and Safety Technology, Ford of Europe. “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful, and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”
      Capable and comfortable
      Standing more than 5 metres long, 2 metres wide and almost 2 metres high, the all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the luxury of space for up to seven occupants in three rows of seats.
      First and second row passengers benefit from more than 1 metre of headroom and legroom, and more than 1.5 metres of shoulder room. Offering 96 centimetres headroom, more than 1 metre of shoulder room and more than 83 centimetres legroom, the third row of seats can also easily accommodate adults in comfort.
      Standard Easy Fold Seats with Power Raise for the third row and Easy Fold Seats for the second row fold flat to create a cargo area that offers 2,274 litres of load space. The interior offers 123 litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stow personal items – alongside no less than 12 cupholders.
      A rotary gear shift dial for the 10-speed automatic transmission; heated and cooled 10-way power adjustable front seats; heated second row seats; wireless charging pad for compatible devices; heated steering wheel; retractable second row sunshades; and second and third row privacy glass are among the comfort enhancing features delivered as standard. Platinum models also feature a 14-speaker, 1000-watt premium B&O Sound System as standard, with a 12-speaker, 800-watt premium B&O Sound System for ST-Line variants.
      FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. In addition to helping drivers plan faster, less stressful journeys with Live Traffic updates for the navigation system and enabling occupants to stream entertainment on the move, FordPass Connect allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including:
      Vehicle Locator, helping owners find their SUV in sprawling shopping mall car parks Vehicle Status, for checking fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more Door Lock Unlock, to remotely allow access to your vehicle Remote Start** The 10.1-inch portrait mounted touchscreen – standard for the Platinum variant – enables navigation maps to fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to that used in smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, which also allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands.
      The touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, configured to support drivers in getting the most from their Explorer Plug-In Hybrid powertrain with dedicated screens including power flow, charging and energy-efficiency coaching. An 8‑inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are standard for the ST-Line variant.
      Stylish, modern design
      A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer during 29 years of success in the U.S., and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage when designing the all-new generation. Longtime traits include Explorer’s blacked-out front and rear window pillars. A sporty, stylish appearance is achieved using a sloping roofline and short front overhang.
      The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with bold 20-inch alloy wheels with black machined finish for ST-Line models and tarnished dark machined finish for Platinum models.
      ST-Line models feature a gloss black finish one-piece grille, and high gloss black for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also features red accent stitching for seats, floor mats and sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, as well as carbon fibre-effect appliques for the instrument panel.
      Platinum models feature a satin finish one-piece grille, and satin finish for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also adds real wood appliques for the instrument panel.
      “Massive charisma and unprecedented road presence come as standard with our all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid,” Matthias Tonn said. “With distinctive ST-Line and Platinum variants available, customers can find the right option to suit their personality.”
      # # #
    • By Drew Dowdell
      BMW of North America Reports February 2019 U.S. Sales.
       
      First Deliveries of the All-New BMW 3 Series Just Starting; BMW X7 Sports Activity Vehicle, BMW Z4 Roadster, and BMW 8 Series Convertible Arrive this Month. BMW X Sports Activity Vehicles Accounted for over 55% of BMW Brand Sales in February. Woodcliff Lake, NJ – March 1, 2019… Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 0.2 percent in February 2019 for a total of 23,558 compared to 23,508 vehicles sold in February 2018.

      “We’re pleased to end February with a slight increase in sales given our current model changeovers,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO, BMW of North America. “As we approach spring, we do so with the all-new 3 series on showroom floors and the X7, Z4, and 8 Series Convertible all starting to arrive in March. We are confident that with these new models added to our already exciting product lineup, we are well positioned for success.”

      The Spartanburg, SC-built BMW X3 and BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicles continue to drive sales growth for BMW in the U.S. Taken together, the full range of BMW X models – from the X1 to the X6 – accounted for 55.5% of BMW brand sales in the U.S. in February

      Table 1: New Vehicle Sales BMW of North America, LLC, February 2019   Feb Feb % YTD YTD % 2019 2018 2019 2018 BMW passenger cars 13,180 14,983 -12% 24,054 26,893 -10.60% BMW light trucks 10,378 8,525 21.70% 17,606 15,631 12.60% TOTAL BMW 23,558 23,508 0.20% 41,660 42,524 -2.00%
      BMW Group Electrified Vehicle Sales
      BMW Group sales of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles totaled 1,110 in February 2019, a decrease of 42.7 percent over the 1,936 sold in the same month a year ago. Model changeover has limited the current BMW Group electrified lineup to five models including the BMW i3, BMW i8 and i8 Roadster, BMW 530e, and MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Plug-in hybrid variants of the BMW X5, the all-new BMW 3 Series and updated BMW 7 Series will debut at the Geneva International Motor Show next week. These models and a plug-in-hybrid variant of the BMW X3 will begin sales in the U.S. at a future date.

      MINI Brand Sales
      For February, MINI USA reported 2,679 vehicles sold, a decrease of 12.6 percent from the 3,065 sold in the same month a year ago.

      BMW Pre-Owned Vehicles BMW Certified Pre-Owned sold 8,698 vehicles, a decrease of 9.1 percent from February 2018. Total BMW Pre-Owned sold 18,647 vehicles, an increase of 4 percent from February 2018.
      MINI Pre-Owned Vehicles MINI Certified Pre-Owned sold 914 vehicles, an increase 6.3 percent from February 2018. Total MINI Pre-Owned sold 2,181 vehicles, a decrease of 2.8 percent from February 2018.   Feb-19 Feb-18 % YTD YTD % 2019 2018 BMW CPO 8,736 9,568 -8.70% 16,720 18,681 -10.50% BMW Total Pre-Owned 18, 643 17,930 4.00% 35,816 34,900 2.60%   MINI CPO 918 860 6.70% 1,777 1,578 12.60% MINI Total Pre-Owned 2,181 2,244 -2.80% 4,216 4,283 -1.60%  
      190301_February_2019_BMW_Group_US_Sales_Chart.pdf
    • By William Maley
      In Europe, Volkswagen offers a couple of plug-in hybrid models such as the Golf GTE. But don't expect any those plug-in hybrids to come to the U.S.
      "It's a bridging technology," between internal-combustion and full-electric cars, said Matthew Renna, Volkswagen North America Region's vice president of e-mobility yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show.
      "It's very cost-prohibitive to have two different powertrains on one platform."
      Volkswagen has made no secret about their electric car ambitions, with plans to launch a full lineup within the next few years. While Europe will get a small hatchback based on I.D. Concept, the U.S. will get a production version of the Crozz concept. Volkswagen is also planning on selling their upcoming EVs in all 50 states, not only in those that require automakers to sell certain number of EVs.
      "The plan is to sell nationwide. The goal is a nationwide roll-out ASAP," said Renna.
      Source: Roadshow

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      In Europe, Volkswagen offers a couple of plug-in hybrid models such as the Golf GTE. But don't expect any those plug-in hybrids to come to the U.S.
      "It's a bridging technology," between internal-combustion and full-electric cars, said Matthew Renna, Volkswagen North America Region's vice president of e-mobility yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show.
      "It's very cost-prohibitive to have two different powertrains on one platform."
      Volkswagen has made no secret about their electric car ambitions, with plans to launch a full lineup within the next few years. While Europe will get a small hatchback based on I.D. Concept, the U.S. will get a production version of the Crozz concept. Volkswagen is also planning on selling their upcoming EVs in all 50 states, not only in those that require automakers to sell certain number of EVs.
      "The plan is to sell nationwide. The goal is a nationwide roll-out ASAP," said Renna.
      Source: Roadshow
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