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2019 BMW Z4 M40i puts the fun back in the soft top

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All of the attention is going to the 2019 BMW Z4 M40i as it competes head-to-head with it’s sibling on the same platform, the all new 2020 Toyota Supra. There’s so much excitement around the return of the iconic car that BMW is having a hard time getting attention for the return of its less-iconic roadster, but we’re paying attention.

BMW is trying to make us all pay more attention as well by releasing updated 0-60 times. They started with a conservative 4.4 second estimate, but once the Supra clocked in at 4.1 seconds, BMW decided to do what other automakers do: get aggressive with their 0-60 times. It updated to 3.9 seconds, making it not only faster than the Supra but faster than any Z4 before it.

It accomplishes this with a 3.9L inline-6 that delivers 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This is the other reason they had to release new 0-60 numbers. They didn’t want to have to answer questions of how the Supra was faster with less horsepower and only a few dozen pounds lower curb weight.

Specs and new numbers aside, the real difference-maker for this ride is the new soft top. They made a big mistake with a retractable hard top on the previous generation, which may have contributed to its three year hiatus. Now that it’s back to a soft top that is retractable in under 10 seconds while driving, we can have our fun once again the old fashioned way.

And it looks fantastic.

“The BMW Z4 showcases BMW’s new design language from all perspectives from the dynamic looking front to the striking flanks to the clean tail end,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.

By combining true sport car speed with the sleek and enjoyable roadster feel, the open air is attainable. Starting at $84,900, it isn’t cheap, but it wouldn’t be a BMW if it was.


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Automotive

GM rebounds with $8.1B 2018 profit on strong pricing

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GM rebounds with 81B 2018 profit on strong pricing

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors posted an $8.1 billion net profit for 2018, fueled by better prices for vehicles sold in the U.S., its most lucrative market.

It’s a strong rebound from the previous year when the company lost $3.9 billion on a giant tax accounting charge.

GM made $10.8 billion before taxes in North America, down about 9 percent from 2017. But it still means big profit-sharing checks for about 46,500 union workers in the U.S. They’ll get $10,750 each, less than last year’s $11,500.

The company said Wednesday that it made $5.58 per share for the year. Without $2.5 billion worth of special items largely due to restructuring, the profit was $6.54, easily beating Wall Street expectations of $6.29, according to a survey by FactSet.

Full-year revenue rose 1 percent to $147.05 billion, also beating estimates of just over $145 billion.

GM made $2 billion, or $1.40 per share in the fourth quarter. Excluding restructuring charges, the company’s per-share earnings were $1.43, also breezing past Wall Street expectations of $1.24.

Shares of GM rose almost 3 percent at the opening bell.

Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara said GM said it made $2 billion on its joint venture in China last quarter, despite slowing auto sales in the country.

The Trump administration’s tariffs on imported aluminum and steel raised prices of those commodities, costing the company more than $1 billion last year. Suryadevara expects another $1 billion increase this year.

“It’s a volatile environment as you well know, and we’re going to have to see how that goes,” she said.

GM has managed to offset some costs with efficiencies, she told reporters Wednesday.

Even with the profit, GM’s U.S. sales last year fell 1.6 percent as big SUVs and the company’s top-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck faltered during the fourth quarter. But sales of many smaller SUVs rose and the average sale price of a GM vehicle hit a record of $36,974, the company said. GM’s U.S. market share 0.4 percentage points to 16.7 percent.

The profits are being announced as GM lays off about 4,300 white-collar workers, many of them at its giant technical center in a nearby suburb of Warren, Michigan. The company plans to close five U.S. and Canadian factories and eliminate a total of 14,000 salaried and blue-collar jobs as part of a giant restructuring to boost profit margins, prepare for a downturn and invest more in electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM wanted to cut 8,000 white-collar workers. About 2,200 took retirement offers, and the company let go of another 1,500. This week, GM started telling 4,300 other salaried workers that they were out of a job.

The company plans to eliminate about 6,000 factory worker jobs by closing three car assembly plants and two other factories. But it says there are 2,700 openings for U.S. workers at factories across the nation.

 


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2020 Kia Telluride can’t actually do what it did in its Super Bowl commercial

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2020 Kia Telluride cant actually do what it did in its Super Bowl commercial

Super Bowl ads have become a big part of the whole yearly ritual, and automakers are among those who spend big bucks to get in front of a huge television audience. Kia used their time to highlight the all-new 2020 Telluride by filming a very nice commercial about the community in which they are built.

That community happens to be less than a hundred miles from where the big game was played this year.

But there was a scene in the ad that paints the Telluride as able to do what few vehicle can – go through very deep water without stalling. The problem is, it can’t actually do that.

2020 Kia Telluride cant actually do what it did in its Super Bowl commercial

If you read the fine print that flashed on the screen for around 3 seconds, you’ll notice it says “DO NOT ATTEMPT. Water stunt performed with aftermarket snorkel. Professional driver on closed course.”

Don’t get me wrong. Stunts are done in commercials all the time that should never be attempted by average drivers, but they rarely demonstrate a feature of a vehicle that doesn’t exist. This shot, while extremely cool, may mislead people into believing they can drive their Telluride into water without fear.

They can’t, at least not without the aftermarket snorkel they mentioned.

It’s a shame because this was my favorite of the car commercials aired during the Super Bowl. Yes, it was a great shot. No, they shouldn’t have included it in the ad even with the quick disclaimer attached.

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Why the 2019 Silverado 1500 ad for The Lego Movie 2 is the future of entertainment tie ins

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Why the 2019 Silverado 1500 ad for The Lego Movie 2 is the future of entertainment tie ins

In 1992, Wayne’s World did a bit where they mock product placement and promotional materials in movies by claiming they would never do such a thing. While they were railing against the practice, promotional material was prominently placed throughout the scenes and even worn by the characters. It was an iconic moment in the classic comedy because in many ways, it was true.

For decades, companies have placed their products in television and movie sets to drop the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) message into the flow of the entertainment. Cars are especially prominent, especially when there’s a high speed chase scene to film. But what about kids’ movies? LEGO and Chevrolet teamed up to make the epic video above that proves you don’t have to be subtle when pitching your vehicles.

Cross-promotional advertisements aren’t new, either, but this one is one of our favorites. It’s literally an options-laden ad without the pretense of working in features into the entertainment. That alone would make it epic, but there’s one more thing to consider. The blatant marketing working against the backdrop of an upcoming movie gives it viral potential for fans of both brands. The whole can be made greater than the sum of the parts.

Rather than working products into movies, perhaps they should follow Lego’s and Chevy’s lead and start working the movie into the product advertisements. It’s more honest and likely more effective.

 


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