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A Second Bentley Ute? Flood of New Luxury SUVs on the Way

Segment is growing faster than most.

by on May.05, 2015

Even though it hasn't hit dealer showrooms, Bentley is so enamored with its soon-to-be-released SUV, it's thinking of adding a second to its line-up.

Think the idea of a Bentley SUV is hard to fathom: How about two utes from the stately British marque? That’s one of the maker’s two top priorities, according to Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.

And Bentley is far from alone. Porsche already has two utes in its line-up with the launch of the 2015 Macan. Rolls-Royce has confirmed it has an all-wheel-drive model in development. And even Lamborghini and Aston Martin appear ready to join the fray.

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The rapid move into the utility-vehicle segment by some of the world’s most exclusive manufacturers probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. It reflects the overall shift in the automotive market. According to data from IHS Automotive, sport- and crossover-utility vehicles will outsell sedans in the U.S. this year for the first time. (more…)

BMW Reveals New X4 SAV

Downsized X6 to debut at NY Auto Show.

by on Mar.06, 2014

BMW adds another Sports Activity Vehicle to its line-up, the new X4 Sports Activity Coupe.

If you’re having a hard time keeping up with all the SAVs, GTs, Gran Coupes and Active Tourers, here’s a spoiler alert: the BMW line-up is about to get bigger still.

Barely had we finished writing about the maker’s Geneva Motor Show additions, including the new 2-Series Active Tourer, before we received an e-mail advising us of yet another debut, this one the Bavarian maker’s latest Sports Activity Coupe, the X4.

Product Insight!

Think of it as a downsized version of the X6 and, as BMW has changed the definition, this Coupe actually has four doors.  Make that five with the big rear hatch.

We’ll have to wait until next month’s New York Auto Show to see this one in the sheet metal – which may give us a chance to digest all the other recent BMW offerings.  But here’s what the maker is telling us ahead of time.

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Updated 2015 BMW X3 SAV Making Debut

Crossover gets new diesel option.

by on Feb.05, 2014

BMW brings the 2015 X3 to Chicago for its debut.

More than a decade after pushing into the midsize crossover segment with its X3 – a “Sport Activity Vehicle” in BMW speak – the German maker is revealing a significant refresh.

The maker’s original X5 was a breakthrough product and a hit with American consumers, but the smaller and lower-priced X3 expanded that appeal significantly.  Now BMW hopes to broaden that reach even further with a modest facelift and the addition of some compelling new features – notably including a new diesel engine option.

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We’ve been seeing spy shots and a few leaked images in recent weeks, but these are BMW’s first formal images – and we now learn more about what the new 2015 X3 will offer.

The new crossover picks up on the basics of the second-generation X3 which was introduced in 2010.  The design changes are modest though readily apparent, starting with the modified twin-circular headlamps – with LED lighting an option — an updated BMW kidney grille, new bumpers and revised side mirrors.

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First Drive: BMW X3 xDrive35i

The Ultimate Freeway Machine Isn’t as Happy in Town.

by on Sep.09, 2011

The styling of the BMW X3 is an evolution of the original baby Bimmer sport ute.

It’s not surprising that BMW’s X3 xDrive35i loves to stretch its legs on the freeways and highways. After all, it was bred on Germany’s silky smooth and – in some places – speed limit-free Autobahn.

In that arena, the twin-turbo inline six provides effortless acceleration, there’s plenty of room for everyone and the X3’s many luxury features coddle occupants.

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So why does its personality completely change around town where it feels like a pit bull straining its leash?

The first-generation X3 was roundly criticized for its punishing ride and, in retrospect, the automaker admitted that the interior wasn’t as good as it should have been, either.

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