New Model News

2021 BMW M5 gets expected upgrades, all for the better

BMW has refreshed the X5 and X5 Competition for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has refreshed the M5 sedan for the 2021 model year. The updates all fall into the "expected" category with fresh front and rear styling, more infotainment options, improved performance options, and changes to the paint job lineup.

The German automaker will continue to offer the car in M5 and M5 Competition variants.

The front of the sedans now features an enlarged version of the company's signature kidney grille. BMW has surrounded the grille with a single piece of chrome, which is horizontally flanked by larger air intakes. The headlights are slimmer.

2021 BMW X5 Competition The grille on the model is new, as are the headlights.Photo courtesy of BMW

At the rear, M-specific quad exhaust pipes sit under a restyled rear bumper and diffuser. Like the headlights, the taillights now feature an L-shapes design.

The M5 Competition comes with a black finish for the BMW kidney grille surround, the front fender side-gill mesh inserts, the exterior mirror caps, the rear trunk spoiler, name badges and rear bumper inserts. The tips of the Competition model's M Sport exhaust system are finished in black chrome.

BMW will offer new Brands Hatch Grey and Motegi Red Metallic paint jobs. BMW Individual paint colors now include Tanzanite Blue II metallic, Aventurine Red II metallic, and the matte finish Frozen Bluestone metallic.

The 2021 M5 continues to be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It can get to 62 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds.

2021 BMW X5 Competition The rear of the car includes a new taillight design.Photo courtesy of BMW

The 2021 M5 Competition has the same engine, but tuned to 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It is a tenth of a second faster to 62 mph. This model also gets a new Track drive mode.

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. A single M mode button replaces the previous individual buttons for the engine, chassis, suspension, steering and xDrive system.

The M5 Competition has also gotten new equipment to aid in its daily driver duties like speeding down the highway and going over speed bumps. It has new shock absorbers and a fully recalibrated damper control system. The standard compound brake calipers will now be available in a black or red finish.

That model also gets the option of full Marino leather in black and Midrand beige with Alcantara inserts for upholstery.

2021 BMW X5 Competition The car now has a 12.3-inch infotainment screen.Photo courtesy of BMW

The cars both have a 12.3-inch driver information display and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen now. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and navigation are standard.

BMW has priced the M5 to start at $103,500 and the M5 Competition to start at $111,100. Pricing does not include the $995 destination charge.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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