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Filed under: Green, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Tesla, Crossover, Sedan, Electric, Luxury

A report in Autobild claims that Mercedes-Benz is throwing more then $2 billion at an electric car family of vehicles with a program called “Ecoluxe.” It would challenge the Tesla Model S and Model X with four offerings, the top of the range being a pair of seven-seaters that could have as much as 610 horsepower.

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Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Budget, Hybrid, Performance, Wagon, Hatchback, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Renault, Citro├źn, UK, Luxury

fc0701 2015 bmw i8 fd 1 Top Gear names BMW i8 Car of the Year, Corvette, Ferrari, Mercedes also win big

The lads at Top Gear have released their listing of the finest cars of the past year, handing the ultimate honor to BMW’s revolutionary i8 plug-in-hybrid supercar.

“The i8 is a milestone in the annals of automotive history and a glorious statement for an exciting and positive future. The i8 delivers – and then some,” the British mag wrote. The i8, though, was far from the only hybridized car to take victories. James May and Richard Hammond both highlighted hybrids as their personal cars of the year, with May saluting the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Hamster, unsurprisingly, heaping praise on the Porsche 918 Spyder. Jeremy Clarkson, meanwhile, opted to shock many by selecting not only an American car as his best of 2014, but giving the honor to of all things, a Corvette.

Clarkson wasn’t the only person to honor the USA’s iconic sports car, with the new, 650-horsepower Z06 variant being named TG’s Muscle Car of the Year. Other big winners include Mercedes-Benz, which TG honored for S-Class Coupe (Luxury Car of the Year), the new AMG GT (Sports Car of the Year) and the not-for-US C-Class Estate (Family Car of the Year). The 458 Italia Speciale A snagged a second win for Ferrari.

The best of the rest include the Citroen C4 Cactus, Renault Twingo, Volkswagen Golf R, Lamborghini Huracan and Audi TT.

Take a look below for the celebratory press blast from BMW.

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Filed under: Motorsports, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz

e9e8459706692 Mercedes chief invites Audi, BMW to compete in F1

Mercedes-Benz didn’t just win the Formula One World Championship in 2014 – it positively dominated it. The team won all but three of the grands prix this season, scoring a one-two finish at more than half of them and landing at least one car on the podium at every race without exception. It goes without saying, then, that the German automaker thrives on competition, but now it’s welcoming even more.

Speaking with Germany’s Sport Bild at its homecoming celebration in Stuttgart, Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche welcomed Mercedes’ biggest rivals Audi and BMW to join it on the F1 grid. Noting that the three German brands share some 80 percent of the market for luxury automobiles, Zetsche said that F1 would make a natural arena of competition for Mercedes, Audi and BMW to fight for top bragging rights. The three currently compete against each other in front of home audiences in the DTM touring car series – effectively Germany’s equivalent to NASCAR – but of the ten races held this year, the majority were in Germany itself, and all of them took place in Europe.

BMW last competed in F1 when it bought the Sauber team in 2006, but withdrew from the series in 2009. Despite its progenitor Auto Union having fielded the famous Silver Arrows in pre-war grand prix racing, Audi has never been a player in modern F1 racing, though recent rumors have linked it to a potential foray – spurred by the arrival of sister-company Porsche on its home turf at Le Mans, the departure of several of its key endurance drivers and the hiring of former Scuderia Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali. Porsche had similarly considered an F1 program before getting the go-ahead to compete with Audi at Le Mans.

As for the prospect of Mercedes competing in other international racing series, Zetsche added that year-long preparations for 24 hours of racing at Le Mans didn’t present a good cost-benefit ratio in his estimation, but that Formula E (where Audi currently supports a quasi-works entry) would be worth a closer look.

Mercedes chief invites Audi, BMW to compete in F1 originally appeared on BMW Top News on Thu, 04 Dec 2014 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Filed under: Performance, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Luxury, Design/Style, Earnings/Financials

e128a4231a2847484704b6169dcb7fc0d08d.jpeg Car companies may need to start curbing model proliferation

Looking at the current automotive landscape, especially from German makers, you quickly get the impression that less definitely isn’t more. BMW alone offers its 3 Series platform in practically every segment possible, including the regular sedan and 4 Series Gran Coupe, which would seem to be direct competitors. Porsche might be the winner, though, with 20 different variants of the 911 listed for sale on its US website. However, some of this model madness might be reaching an end as companies begin cutting back spending or shifting money to other priorities.

According to Yahoo Finance, the offerings from the German automakers are up 25 percent over the past three years to over 200 models in Europe. The peak is expected to come around 2018 at 230 separate vehicles, according to consulting company PwC.

Amazingly, BMW, which is among the poster children for this model explosion, might be changing its tune. “I’m sure there will be points in the future where we look at certain cars and say, ‘Maybe we need to think differently now,'” said head of sales Ian Robertson in an interview, according to Yahoo Finance. The statement certainly sounds shocking coming from a company rumored to have 23 front-wheel-drive vehicles all using a single platform on the way.

The shift in thinking might not be a question of whether automakers can build all of these distinct models, but rather if it’s the best way to invest their money. The small footprint of European dealers makes it difficult to show all of these vehicles off. Also, even if platforms and drivetrains are shared, there’s still the extra expense in marketing each one. Finally, “every single variant increases development and logistics expenditure,” said Porsche spokesperson Achim Schneider to Yahoo Finance.

So what do the German automakers do with the extra funds from not exploiting every possible niche? Volkswagen is reportedly working on cutting costs, and BMW is too. Also, Porsche is trying to grow overall sales. If this actually happens, maybe picking the perfect 911 will be a bit less complicated in just a few years.

Car companies may need to start curbing model proliferation originally appeared on BMW Top News on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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