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  • lululemon 2011 BMW 750iSupercars are

    2011 BMW 750i

    Supercars are supposed to be more, well, breathy. Like Marilyn Monroe in How To Marry A Millionaire. More temperamental, maybe, like dear old Vivian Leigh in Gone With The Wind; or just plain old difficult, which pretty much describes Naomi Campbell any time, anywhere.

    They certainly not supposed to be civil. Not quiet or soft either. And what super sports car would dare be easy to get along with? It would be like finding out that lululemon Angelina Jolie is a devoted mom and homemaker as well as an ambassador for world peace.

    Oh, wait a minute guess I shouldn be that surprised that the latest super sedan (quasi) available from BMW is more comfortable than the basic, gardenvariety 750i on which it based and yet mondo rapid as well. I say because the B7 tested here is actually a 750i modified by Alpina, a tuning house that is to BMW what AMG used to b lululemon e to Mercedes (before it was bought by the German giant), only with a lot more independence.

    Why, then, are we seeing Alpinas in BMW dealerships? Sold by BMW salespeople? With the same warranty as any other produced by BMW sedan?

    Well, putting aside whatever marketing and public relations foofaraw the company might spew, a cynic like me postulates that it because the parent company has yet to produce an M version of its biggest sedan. With the arrival of the new 135i M Coupe, pretty much everything else in BMW lineup has been given the motorsports massage, yet it sees an empty hole in the lineup for a sportier version of its most luxurious sedan. Think of the B7, then, as the M7 BMW has so far refused to build.

    It certainly has the moxie. Thanks to bigger turbochargers and intercoolers as well as some EFI remapping and sturdier pistons, the B7 pumps out a formidable 500 horsepower and 516 pound feet of torque; coincidentally, the exact same figures as the previous supercharged version of the B7 previous V8.

    Coincidental power outputs or not, the B7 is mondo rapid. Acceleration to 100 kilometres an hour takes but 4.7 seconds and even that spectacular number doesn capture the relentless way the twin turbochargers shun the laws of aerodynamics. The big 4.4 litre V8 has no discernible powerband; if the engine is spinning, there a rocketship just a foot tap away.

    If one wanted to complain about the powertrain, it would probably revolve around the B7 whisper quiet exhaust. Barely more aggressive than the limousine like stock 750i, I suspect that a few potential customers will ante up a little more growl with their then, that all part of Alpina motif, which seems to be softer than the company own M division. For instance, though the Alpina rides on extremely low profile 21 inch tires (P245/35R21 fronts and massive P285/30R21s in the rear) and has stiffer spring rates, the ride is actually more comfortable than the stock BMW, absorbing the crevasses, creaks and callouses of Toronto roadways with remarkable aplomb. That because Alpina has actually set the damping rates in the Dynamic Drive system Comfort setting to be softer yes, softer than the base 750 As well, in its lowest setting, the steering effort is less than in any BMW 7 Series of recent vintage lululemon . Despite this softness, the B7 still attacks corners like a BMW, just not with the bloodshot eyes of a youthful delinquent.

    For such puerile pursuits, one simply needs to bump the system into the Sport or Sport plus chassis mode. Then the car attitude changes dramatically. No longer quite so coddling, the B7 rides as if on rails, though still with the air cushioning ride of a modern ultra high speed TGV train. It a magnificent chassis with incredible adaptability and, though most of the B7 potential customers will be attracted to the 500 hp in the brochure, the real high point is its seamless combination of handling and comfort.

    Indeed, showcasing the impressively delicate balance is Alpina implementation of BMW trademark xDrive all wheel drive system. But, while in comfort mode, both the standard 750i xDrive and the B7 split the torque 40/60 front to rear, in Sportplus mode, the Alpina sends 95% of those 516 lb ft of torque to the rear wheels compared with just 80% for the stock BMW (Sport mode numbers are 40/60 for the Bimmer, 20/80 for the B7). For all intents and purposes, then, the B7 offers the safety advantage of the stock BMW all wheeldrive system but also lets the driver choose an essentially rear drive option that the stock BMW doesn offer.

    The rest of the B7 showcases the same have your cake and eat it too attitude, with the Alpina coming standard with a number of luxury items optional on the stock 750i, such as self closing doors, an automatic trunk, ventilated front seats, six disc DVD changer and rear entertainment centre as well as some optional safety devices such as a tire pressure monitor, lane departure warning and active blind spot detection. There also a bespoke leather interior, B7 badging and a neat, illuminated B7 logo built into the doorsill.

    Nonetheless, the luxury items are not why you want the B7 most can be had on your cooking variety Bimmer. Ditto that monster engine, though 500 hp does make a powerful statement. Nope, the real reason you want a B7 Alpina is because it all wrapped up in one gr lululemon eat package that especially in the suspension department exacts absolutely zero (besides price tag) penalty for its performance. Whether it be badged M or Alpina matters not; it what BMW is all about.

    Transport Canada fuel economy L/100 km: 15.6 city, 9.7 hwy.

    Standard features: Power door locks, windows and mirrors, front and rear air conditioning with activated carbon air filter, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with 16 speakers and 600 watt, Sirius satellite radio, rear entertainment system, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control, power glass sunroof, information display, tilt steering wheel, leather seats, 16 way power front seats, heated front seats, ventilated front seats, auto headlights, dual front air bags, side curtain air bags, side thorax air bags, front knee air bags, tire pressure monitor, active blind spot detection, active cruise control

  • lululemon 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI deliv

    2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI delivers potent one

    It’s time for American consumers to stop being scared of small diesel cars. Currently, we can’t think of a single automaker that isn’t shelling out bags of money to research and develop new hybrid powertrains cars that are efficient first and fun to drive second (or third, or fourth). Diesel vehicles, on the other hand, offer a different sort of solution. Gobs of torque delivered at low revs and impressive fuel economy work together without sacrificing too much in the way of driving pleasure. Besides, does anyone really want to live in “One Nation Under Prius?”

    Volkswagen introduced us to its new Jetta TDI a little over a year ago, proving that clean diesel technology offers a way forward for anyone who gives a hoot about driver involvement. Now, the automaker has fitted its well received 2.0 liter diesel engine in the all new sixth generation Golf. Can this hatch prove to America that it’s possible to fuse efficiency and enthusiasm together in a high quality package? Can you really have your cake and eat it, too? Hit the jump to find out.

    Visually, the 2010 Golf is simple yet stylish. Gone is the chrome heavy nose of the last generation car, and while the overall shape hasn’t changed a whole lot, it’s important to note that the MkVI Golf doesn’t share a single piece of bodywork with the MkV Rabbit (yes, we’re glad the name has been changed back, too). What Volkswagen has done is something that’s really underappreciated make a car that’s visually appealing while not being over the top. These days, it seems that some automakers put too much effort into creating bold design for little more than shock value, and it’s refreshing to see that Volkswagen stands by its core goal of attractive simplicity.

    TDI models come standard with a more robust kit of appearance extras, including foglamps and ten spoke wheels wrapped in 225/45 17 inch Continental ContiProContact tires. The larger alloys are very sharp, and having the wheel wells pushed out to all four corners lends the hatch a more aggressive stance. What’s more, the MkVI Golf is one inch wider than the outgoing Rabbit, but 0.4 inches shorter in length, and while these minor dimension adjustments aren’t immediately noticeable when walking up to it, they indeed improve the platform’s overall dynamics once you’re plowing down the road. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

    To reiterate on a phrase we used earlier, a theme of attractive simplicity is indeed carried over into the VW’s interior styling, with an added dollop of refinement, to boot. If there’s one thing we’ll never complain about regarding Volkswagen products, it’s the high quality feel that’s put into every interior across the automaker’s lineup. Every touchable surface in the Golf’s cabin feels class above great, and if you take time to really study every part of the cockpit, Volkswagen’s attention to detail is easily recognized. Even the most untouched bits of plastic have been carefully fitted and fastened to create a cabin that feels really, really solid.

    The TDI is the most expensive model to carry the Golf moniker, but with it comes a host of standard equipment only available as options on lesser trim levels. Steering wheel mounted audio controls, a touchscreen audio interface with six disc CD changer, multimedia device interface, Bluetooth connectivity and Sirius satellite radio round off some of the infotainment staples, and things like carpeted floor mats, leather wrapped shift knob and handbrake, and rear HVAC vents add to the already sizable raft of interior refinements. In keeping with the aura of simplicity surrounding the Golf, all of the cabin switchgear is easy to locate, with dials and buttons falling right to hand. Our test car was equipped with VW’s newer optional navigation system, which is incredibly simple and intuitive to use. We like the integration of the auxiliary media input into the interface, and while the graphics and controls aren’t as high tech as what you might find in Ford’s much loved SYNC system, they’re better than the systems found in competitors like the Honda Civic or Nissan Sentra (though, to be fair, those vehicles retail at substantially lower price points similarly equipped), as well as newer competitors like the Mazda3.

    Overall levels of comfort are quite good, and we’re big fans of the highly supportive seats that Volkswagen has fitted in the Golf. Bolstering for both the seat backs and bottom cushions are excellent, and if you find yourself doing any spirited driving (which you should trust us), your body won’t slide around at all. What’s more, the vast levels of support also provide generous levels of comfort. We never felt fatigued or sore after long stints of driving. Rear seat passengers are forced to deal with a flat, though relatively comfortable bench, but if you’re going to be a passenger in a Golf, call shotgun. Seriously.

    The shining star of the Golf TDI, however, is its engine. in late 2008 with the launch of the Jetta TDI, and we’ve always been quite fond of this powerplant. Offering 140 horsepower and 236 pound feet of torque, the diesel hatch has more than enough power for any sort of driving scenario, while still providing excellent efficiency. Volkswagen claims 30 miles per gallon in the city and 42 on the highway for our DSG equipped test car, and without even trying to drive efficiently, we easily pulled off 37 mpg during our week long test. This is clearly the most attractive part of the TDI package to consumers, but for enthusiasts, there’s another hidden treat. Superb fuel economy is one thing, but being able to achieve it under spirited driving is another thing, and when we find ourselves discussing the Golf TDI with friends and colleagues, the first thing we talk about is how good to drive the little hatch is, not what sort of mileage numbers we achieved.

    Off the line, all 236 pound feet are fully delivered between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm, and there’s really never a need to rev higher in any gear. The 140 available horses come on fully at 4,000 rpm, but we’re quite fond of diesel power delivery and were happy to leave the tachometer needle sitting below 3,000 in all six gears. Volkswagen claims lululemon that runs to 60 miles per hour can happen in 8.6 seconds, and while that figure certainly won’t blow you away, keep in mind this car was built for efficiency, not speed. The six speed dual clutch gearbox is a good fit for the 2.0 liter TDI mill, though the addition of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters is a little nonsensical with all that torque. With the shifter left in ‘D,’ the transmission keeps the revs right where y lululemon ou want them, and we never felt the urge to move through the gears ourselves. Plenty of power is available down low for passing situations, and we love being able to leave the transmission in sixth gear when overtaking slow moving trucks on the highway.

    As we’ve come to expect from German bred cars, the TDI’s handling dynamics are up to par for the segment if not over. Interestingly, diesel models benefit from sportier suspension geometry over normal gas Golfs, making it a real champ for enthusiastic jaunts down our local back roads. The Golf’s suspension is nicely composed through the bends, with little body roll to speak of even during aggressive handling maneuvers. What’s more, the sportier suspension setup was never a hassle on the cracked, pothole ridden streets of metropolitan Detroit lululemon the ride is disciplined and well snubbed, but not harsh. It’s a real winner, and when matched with the power delivery characteristics of the TDI mill, we find the Golf to be exceptionally poised for all types of driving, both calm and spirited. No, it’s not going to lululemon run toe to toe with big brother GTI, but it’s surprisingly good when pushed.

    Overall steering feedback is quite good, though we take slight issue with the rather dead on center feeling. Still, a lack of torque steer and quick response by the driven wheels inspire confidence. The brakes themselves work perfectly well, but there’s quite a bit of travel in the actual pedal and a general feeling of mushiness when stopping. That gripe aside, we’re very impressed with the Golf TDI’s dynamics. It isn’t a performance car, but if you’re listening, it’s game for being driven like one.

    So while the Golf TDI may earn a gold star in our road test, we’re still a little weary of Volkswagen’s overall reliability and propensity for electronic glitches, though the automaker has stated on many occasions that it is working hard to resolve these issues. Then there’s the issue of price. Golf TDI models start at a relatively modest $22,354, but adding on features like the navigation package, sunroof and fancy gearbox will easily add thousands to that price. It’s a great car, this TDI, but we can’t help raising our eyebrows at the $28,260 as tested figure of our four door test car. Still, tread lightly on the options list, maybe stick with the a okay six speed manual transmission, and you’ve got a tidy little package for a reasonable amount of coin especially in view of how much you’ll save on fuel.

    We think people who look beyond the Golf TDI’s price tag will be extremely impressed. It’s worlds better to drive than your run of the mill Prius or Civic Hybrid, and there isn’t too much of a fuel economy sacrifice in the long run. Plus, the car’s robust interior packaging and high levels of refinement make it feel much more upscale than its price tag would suggest. We’d gladly drive one every day of the week. I didn’t get all the bells and whistles. I liked the car the way it was in the base pkg. The only thing I needed was the HID lighting. I put 18K down so it wasn’t a money issue. I love this little car. Mileage is great and more importantly my TDI is fun to drive. Should hit 2K in miles in 8 weeks because I’m out on disability right now from work. Looking forward to the daily commute again. Looking forward to less money at the pump more!

    October 06 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Report abuse PermalinkI’ve got a 2009 VW Jetta TDI. 55,565 miles as of today. Love the 10,000 miles between oil changes. Love the diesel and dual clutch transmission. This is the way to go. No problems in almost three years. Why does, Honda, Toyota, Subaru, VW, Audi, M B, BMW, all offer Diesel engines in Europe? Because it is the better choice. They’ll be here soon and that will spell the death of the Leaf, Prius, etc. Like a fork lift.

    Report abuse PermalinkI purchased a 2011 Golf TDI a few months ago and I am nearing the 3,000 mile mark. So far so good, I have been nothing but impressed with this vehicle. Great fuel economy, tons of torque, really solid construction and a lot of fun to drive. I do understand people having concerns about VW products and I share some of these concerns myself. I have started a blog to capture my experiences with the TDI (for better or worse) and I hope that it will help someone else to make an educated decision when looking at the TDI.

  • lululemon 2010 Toyota Avalon Limited

    2010 Toyota Avalon Limited

    When Toyota first launched its luxury brand Lexus, the roles of each nameplate were clearly defined: Toyota offered vehicles for the average consumer, and Lexus catered to the more upscale buyer. Now, almost 20 years later, the lines between Toyota and Lexus have become less clear. Toyota’s Avalon, a near luxury, full size sedan is a perfect example of that blur.

    Base priced at $27,945 for the entry level Avalon XL and $35,285 for the top end Avalon Limited tested here, Toyota’s flagship sedan is so competent, it’s more than qualified to cannibalize sales of the ES 350 in the company’s upscale Lexus division. The Avalon features a 111 inch wheelbase (1.7 inches longer than cousin Camry), a potent 268 horsepower 3.5 liter dual VVT i 24 valve V6, and enough electronic advancements to satisfy premium buyers. The only place it misses true bliss is in interior quietness, which is compromised by wind noise at higher cruising speeds and by tire noise over rough surfaces.

    The Avalon is impressive design wise, especially in profile where its arched roofline and high beltline, and w lululemon heels pushed toward the corners, suggest Lexus and even Mercedes Benz sedans. However the interior is distinctly muted in contrast to the rich appearing finishing touches of luxury cars. Doubtlessly this is to keep the Toyota’s price in check, and to keep it from challenging Lexus too strongly.

    A primary benefit of the Avalon’s stretched wheelbase is expanded rear legroom: At 40.9 inches, it’s 2.6 inches more than the Camry and within millimeters of the $80,300 BMW 750i. The front seats are quite comfortable and feature eight way power adjustments lululemon with power adjustable lumbar support, a driver’s seat cushion extensi lululemon on, and front seat ventilation and heating. A couple of minor ergonomic complaints: The driver’s knee airbag panel and the corner of the navigation system door contacted our (admittedly lanky) knees in normal driving.

    We put our bags into the Avalon’s enormous 15 cubic foot trunk and headed from Los Angeles to Monterey, Calif. for the annual summer Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and collector car auctions. Running a bit behind schedule at first, Toyota’s navigation system (a $2,000 option that also includes a JBL sound system) worked reassuringly behind the scenes to guide us along with the quickest route while providing estimated travel time. At 70 mph the Avalon’s engine turns a relaxed 2100 rpm, its VVT i system adjusting the valve timing for maximum torque and efficiency. And when booting it to squirt around a lumbering truck, the power build was so seamless as to be undetectable, unlike on some other competitors’ variable valve timing systems. In fact, the Avalon’s robust performance, low engine NVH, and passable fuel economy (we observed 25.3 mpg) make its powertrain a genuine standout.

    Quietly efficient was the Avalon’s six speed automatic transmission. Operating just about as smoothly as a CVT, the transmission truly has a gear for every need, and its shift algo lululemon rithms are right on target. As well, a Sequential Shift feature allows manual shifting for added control on winding roads, hills or just for fun.

    Additional premium features include a Smart Key system that replaces the traditional ignition key with a transponder that doubles as a remote door lock/unlock fob. As a result, one never needs to physically operate the fob to unlock the car or start the engine the driver’s door unlocks when you approach it, and simply pressing the Start button on the instrument panel (while applying the brakes) gets you going. Additional useful safety and convenience functions include crisp HID headlights with auto leveling, rain sensing wipers, and a power rear sunshade.

    While these features have been in the industry for some time, the Avalon Limited boasts one newer technology in its dynamic laser cruise control (a $600 option), which uses a laser and special computer programming to keep pace with the vehicle ahead. Say you’re booking along at 75 in the fast lane on dynamic laser cruise. As you gradually close on a slower vehicle, the system automatically reduces engine output to keep a safe following distance (a very long one at that) then resumes your previous pace when the other vehicle changes lanes or speeds up. So what if someone suddenly cuts in front of you? The system goes into save your bacon mode, reducing engine power, applying the brakes, and sounding an attention grabbing beeper.

    Fifty years ago, American cars almost promised us interstellar adventure with their space age tailfins, V8 power and flashy interiors. They research and write original auto reviews and road tests to provide accurate and entertaining information to car shoppers, enthusiasts and do it yourselfers. View more of their popular reviews and obtain additional information on the 2010 Toyota Avalon Limited, as well pricing, interior and exterior photo’s, rebates and incentives on all Toyota Models.