Monday, March 03, 2014

The co-drivers view: Maasvlakte 1 & 2

Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world. In order to cope with the increasing size of the ships, the Dutch government decided to expand the existing port facilities at the Maasvlakte 1. This extension was located directly on deep water, into the North Sea. The Maasvlakte 2 covers 1000 hectares of industrial sites and in order to accommodate larger ships the Maasgeul has been widened to over 800 meters.

In the first video the Maasvlakte 2 can be seen, just as it went operational in 2013. Industrial activity still has to develop in this area, so a surreal "empty" landscape can be seen, where only (rail)roads have been built yet. 

The second video continues the journey on the Maasvlakte 2 back towards the previous area, Maasvlakte 1. This area has been developed since the 1970s and has reached its maximum potential. Driving along the highway A15 we can see Europoort, which is a section of the Rotterdam port that existed even before the Maasvlakte 1 area was built.

More episodes of "the co-drivers view":

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Video update: BMW 318d Gran Turismo

Since June 2013 BMW offers the 3-series Gran Turismo (F34) as part of the 3-series offering, that already consisted of the saloon (F30) and touring (F31). Intented as a mix between the saloon and touring, the Gran Turismo also feated characteristics of a coupé.
Compared to the other models of the 3-series line, the Gran Turismo is considerably larger and can be compared to the 5-series Touring, but is a smaller and sportier version of the 5-series Gran Turismo. However it features the same interior design and platform as that of the regular 3-series.

This specific car is a BMW 318d with the (optional) Luxury Line package. The car itself has Black Sapphire Metallic paint and Black Dakota leather. 

Model (Code / Model Year): BMW 318d Gran Turismo (2013 / F34)
Line: Luxury Line
Engine: straight four-cylinder turbocharged common rail diesel engine (1995cm³)  
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission
Performance: 143hp / 320nm
0 to 100km/h: 9,6 sec
Top speed: 210km/h (131mp/h)

BMW 318d Gran Turismo  Walkaround - Exterior and interior shots of the car

BMW 318d Gran Turismo Fuel Consumption Test - testing the fuel consumption under real life conditions

BMW 318d Gran Turismo Acceleration - Acceleration test from 0km/h

BMW 318d Gran Turismo Flatout - Putting the pedal to the metal on the German Autobahn

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Picture update: BMW X5 xDrive30d LCI (2012 / E70)

In 2006 BMW introduced its second generation X5 (in the US, in Europe in 2007), known by its BMW code "E70", and has been in production from 08/2006 till 08/2013. It was preceded by the E53 (1999 - 2006) and has succeeded by the new X5 F15 (since 2013). Production of the E70 took place in Spartanburg, United States, but kits have also been assembled in Toluca, Mexico and by Avtovor in Kaliningrad, Russia.

The BMW X5 E70 underwent a "Life Cycle Impulse" (LCI) update in 2010, which debuted at the New York Auto show in April 2010. Changes included revised styling, primarily of the front and rear bumpers, air intakes and headlights, but also included new exterior and interior colours and BMW's latest infotainment system. Apart from these changes a new range of engines was also introduced, while other engines received updates and the new 8-speed automatic gearbox was available for the X5.

In this post we take a closer look at a 2012 BMW X5 xDrive30d LCI and compare it to a pre-LCI BMW X5 3.0d, but equipped with the (optional) M-package. 

On the left a pre-LCI X5 and on the right an X5 that already has the LCI specifications, which include revised spoilers and different angel eyes (instead of beige they are white). 

Model (Code / Model Year): BMW X5 xDrive30d LCI (2012 / E70)
Engine: straight-six diesel engine (2993cm³) with variable geometry turbochargers  / engine code: N57D30OL
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission
Performance: 245hp (180kW) / 540nm
0 to 100km/h: 7,6 sec
Top speed: 222km/h (139mp/h)
Weight: 2125–2380 kg
Fuel tank (US gallons): 85 liter (22,5 US gallons)
Production date: August 2008, Spartanburg USA
2012 BMW X5 xDrive30d:

Exterior colour: Alpine white (300)
Upholstery: Tobacco Nevada leather (LUF1)
Interior trim: Fine-wood trim bamboo grain dark
Wheels: 19-inch styling 223M alloy wheels (part of the M-package)

Most notable changes compared to the pre-LCI (left) are the different exhaust pipes and the introduction of the L-shaped LED-taillights.

Most notable changes in the interior is the new software and the new iDrive controller that features more buttons that take you to the respective menu. 

Optional equipment:

The optional M-package includes the following equipment:
  • Interior trim fine-wood bamboo grain dark, Exterior aluminium, roof rails high-gloss aluminium, 19-inch alloys styling 223M, comfort seats with memory, anthracite headliner, M sport steering wheel (with paddle shifters), M sport bumpers, special exhaust pipes, Adaptive Drive suspension
  • Alpine white exterior colour
  • Tobacco Nevada leather

Tobacco Nevada leather with fine-wood trim bamboo grain dark
M-sport steering wheel with paddle shifters
19-inch styling 223M alloy wheels
Oval exhaust pipes are part of the M-package, otherwise they are only fitted to the X5 4.8i or xDrive50i (V8 petrol engines)
Sport seats come standard with the M-package, but for a small price it is possible to upgrade to comfort seats
Separate optional equipment:
  • Active steering
  • Adaptive Drive*
  • Automatic tailgate operation
  • Comfort access
  • Soft-close automatic doors
  • Backup camera and Top view
  • Panoramic glass sunroof
  • Extended storage package
  • Sunblinds for side windows
  • Floor mats, velours
  • Exterior and interior mirrors - folding, auto-
  • Rear-view mirror, auto dimming
  • Smokers package
  • Comfort seats with memory*
  • Ski bag
  • Lumbar support, driver and passenger
  • Storage package
  • Seat heating driver / passenger
  • Seat heating, rear
  • Headlight wash
  • Xenon headlights
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Auxiliary heating
  • Cruise control with brake function
  • Light package
  • Supplementary 12v sockets
  • High-beam assistant
Park Distance Control and backup camera
Park Distance Control and top view camera
  • Navigation system Professional - with bluetooth preperation
  • BMW Assist
  • Internet, preparations
  • Expanded BMW Online Information
  • BMW Online
  • BMW TeleServices
  • USB / Audio interface
  • Speed Limit Info
Navigation system Professional - satellite view
Navigation system Professional - showing traffic information, including police speed traps
  • Head-up display
  • Voice control
  • Preparation, mobile phone, business
  • HiFi System Professional DSP
  • Headlining anthracite*
  • Innovation package
  • Comfort package
Head-up display including the speed limit info

Some pro's and con's on the BMW X5 xDrive30d LCI:

  • Refined and powerful (diesel) with an acceptable fuel consumption
  • Smooth 8-speed gearbox
  • Park Distance Control combined with top view camera make parking a vehicle of this size easy
  • Up-to-date navigation and entertainment system
  • Three passengers have enough room in the back
  • Large booth
  • Previous generation interior layout
  • Previous generation HUD
  • Smaller navigation screen compared to current generation BMWs
  • Build quality is ok, but of a lesser standard then "German" BMWs
Despite its age and being of the previous generation BMWs, the X5 E70 in the later years still is a relatively modern vehicle. Continuous updates to the vehicle, for example the new soft- and hardware for the navigation system, the use of high quality backup and topview cameras and the introduction of BMW Online / Teleservices, have resulted in a product that still feels up-to-date.

However, when compared to the newer generation BMWs (7-series F01, 5-series F10) there is a notable difference, making the X5 E70 feeling somewhat outdated. The cockpit layout is still of the previous generation BMWs, the screen size is smaller then that of the current generation BMWs, the HUD only has two colors and has a lower resolution, and there is no digital speedometer. But overall the X5 E70 is still a very enjoyable car.

More pictures of this particular BMW X5 xDrive30d can be found by clicking here.

Other BMW X5 E70 media:

Monday, December 09, 2013

Video update: Volkswagen high up! (2012)

In 2011 Volkswagen unveiled its new NSF series of models (New Small Family) at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). Production commenced in December 2011 and the car is produced at the Volkswagen plant in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is planned that the Volkswagen up! for the Russian market will be produced at the Volkswagen Group Rus plant in Kaluga, Russia. Rebadged versions of the up! are produced by Seat (Mii) and Skoda (Citigo).

The car has a choice of three 1.0 litre petrol engines with 60, 68 (1.0 EcoFuel) or 75hp. A e-up! plug-in hybrid is also planned to be introduced in 2013 / 2014. Available are three versions of the up!, called the "take up!", "move up!", and "high up!". Apart from these trims, there are also "black up!" and "white up!" design packages available.

Volkswagen high up! Walkaround - Exterior and interior shots of the car

Friday, December 06, 2013

The co-drivers view: Amsterdam

The videos have been made during the summer of 2013 on a friday afternoon and the first part starts in the northern part of Amsterdam. It is north of the "IJ" lake that divides Amsterdam north from the city centre, but is connected through the IJ-tunnel that we cross. After exiting the tunnel we take a left away from the city centre and drive onto the Kattenburgerstraat alongside the naval barracks on the left. After that we turn left again onto the Piet Heinkade driving next to the IJ lake we just crossed below.

In the second video we continue driving on the Piet Heinkade towards the central station of Amsterdam, where the street is called the De Ruijterkade. Next to the central station a new bus station is build so that it is possible to switch from bus to trains inside the same structure. After having passed the central station we turn left towards the city centre and finally into the city centre through the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.

The last video is shot while driving through the busy city centre of Amsterdam and leaving the centre driving east.

Car used: BMW 530d xDrive Touring (F11 / MY2012)

More episodes of "the co-drivers view":

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