New Model News

BMW announces 2020 X3 xDrive30e, a plug-in hybrid SUV

BMW has debuted a new model, the X3 xDrive30e, a PHEV.

Photo courtesy of BMW

It takes the utility of a BMW SUV and combines it with the electric power automakers believe customers are seeking. Meet the 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e.

The new X3 variant is a plug-in hybrid. This means that it has a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine under its hood that works in tandem with an electric motor and a 12 kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery to move the car from point A to point B and beyond. It has around 30 miles of all-electric range, which is pretty standard on PHEVs these days.

2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e driving electric plug-in side wheels mirrors The car retains all the of the outward aesthetics of the typical X3.Photo courtesy of BMW

The battery gets its power by being plugged into an outlet. BMW says that charging via a "traditional household socket" can bring the battery up to full in just six hours.

With their power combined, the X3 xDrive30e puts out 292 horsepower. BMW reports that it can get from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. It only comes in four-wheel drive.

2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e driving electric plug-in MAX eDrive The SUV's eDrive mode lets drivers run on just electricity.Photo courtesy of BMW

Drivers can run on just electric power by putting their X3 xDrive30e into MAX eDrive mode. It's activated by pushing a button on the center console near the shifter.

Moving the car into Battery Control mode is an energy saver and helps keep the battery at the level it is at when the mode is selected. This allows a driver to choose when they go emissions free.

On the outside, the 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e is nearly the same as other X3s, albeit for some unique badging and its power port on the front side of the vehicle.

2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e driving electric plug-in driver information display Much of the vehicle remains the same as the gasoline-only powered X3.Photo courtesy of BMW

The SUV's interior dimensions have remained much the same because its battery pack is located under the rear seat wheel the fuel tank is positioned over the rear axle. Its cargo space remains similar to what you'll find in other SUVs its size, even those without a battery pack.

BMW will sell the SUV in Advantage, xLine, Luxury and M Sport trims. Additional available equipment includes an adaptive Suspension, variable sports steering, the M Sport Brake System, the BMW head up display, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, Driving Assistant Plus with steering and lane guidance assistant, and Parking Assistant Plus.

A tow hitch is available. The model can tow up to 4,400 pounds.

2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e driving electric plug-in side mountain goats The new SUV can tow up to 4,400 pounds.Photo courtesy of BMW

Some functions, including climate control, can be operated via BMW's mobile app. The app also gives information on charging stations, the charging process, range, and charging status.

The new BMW X3 xDrive30e will be produced at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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