Design

A connection between BMW, Sea Ray, and Harley Earl has lead to a new boat debut

The Sundancer 370 Outboard is the product of a partnerhsip between BMW and Sea Ray.

Photo courtesy of Sea Ray

BMW Group hasn't just teamed up with Sea Ray to develop new design language for the boat company, they've also played a part in creating a new model, the Sea Ray Sundancer 370 Outboard. Designworks, a BMW Group company, took the lead in working with Sea Ray.

The result of the partnership is the new Sundancer 370 Outboard with debuted this week in conjunction with the 45th anniversary of the Sundancer series. It was created to relaunch the Sundancer family and provide a compelling path forward for the historic brand name. HGTV personalities Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young helped launch the boat with a preview video.

"Sea Ray has a rich history as a leading boat manufacturer for more than 60 years," said Johannes Lampela, Director of Industrial Design at Designworks. "The Sea Ray look is very recognizable, and our goal working together was to further strengthen that design DNA by bringing forward the most iconic features through a modern design execution. What emerged is a modern yet classic aesthetic that is being used to inspire the next generation of Sea Ray boats."

Sea Ray Sundancer 370 Outboard Premiere www.youtube.com

According to Sea Ray, the design of the new boat combines the characteristics of a cruiser, bowrider, and coupe.

"Our goal was to define the foundation for bold and pure design expression," said Charlie Foss, Sea Ray Design Director. "Working together with Designworks, we were able to produce a fresh set of design principles that pay homage to our brand's past while indicating the future, resulting in a look that is undeniably Sea Ray. An output of the collaboration was the definition of four key design characteristics to inform Sea Ray models moving forward: sleek, confident, athletic, and distinctive."

The two companies imbued traditional automotive design elements into the the craft where it appropriately intersected with modern boat design. There is al long, lean s-sheer line that flows from bow to stern, much like a belt line on a car. The strong character jaw line (thankfully) does not incorporate oversized air or water intakes. The characteristic Sea Ray hull-side emblem and center line has been created to draw the eye in and create a feeling of speed.

"Automotive-inspired design is part of the Sea Ray history, dating back to collaboration with Harley Earl Associates in the early 1960s. It was important that we partnered with a group that has a comprehensive understanding of future mobility and the ability to develop concepts with a view to future contexts," said Foss.

Storage on the boat has been optimized to 66 cubic feet, a little more than the 2021 BMW X3 with the rear seats folded. There is custom transom Stow and Go Fender Storage and a port-side walkthrough. Buyers can upgrade their Sundancer to include an electrically actuated opening glass hardtop with black panoramic sunroof and extended sunshade.

There is a U-shaped cockpit in the craft that plays home to a wet bar, flameless Keyon grill, and optional refrigerator and teak tables. There is seating for up to five adults. The bow can be transformed from a table to a sun lounge with the available filler cushion.

The three-position convertible transom seat transitions from a hard-back surface when underway to an aft-facing seat or sunpad when at rest.

"We sought to create an interior cabin space in the Sundancer 370 Outboard that's a bright, warm and modern home away from home," said Paul Olvera, Sea Ray industrial designer. "We wanted people aboard to feel welcome to sit and relax with a sense of sophistication as they're surrounded by rich textures inspired by nature that aren't loud or overbearing. Calmness and confidence were key; nothing is cold or too bright and loud, and neither is anything too dark or moody. The tones are especially catered to their respective areas so that everything is 'just right.'"

Below deck, there is a cabin that welcomes light via Hull-side windows and skylight. The head is equipped with a shower with modern spa-like finishes and a forward V-berth lounge features an L-shaped couch and smart TV. The galley has space for an added-on microwave, refrigerator, solid surface countertops, trash receptacle, and cabinetry with lower storage.

The couch can be converted into the master bed with fill-in cushions to form a queen-sized sleeping area.

Power comes from the boat's triple Mercury Verado 300 outboard engines with Joystick Piloting for Outboards. Active Trim (automatic engine trim system) is standard while Dynamic Running Surface is available.

The helm features a dual digital dashboard. Buyers can add NSO evo3s 16-inch Simrad touchscreen displays that work with Mercury VesselView Mobile. Other highlights include CZone digital switching with the Simrad Command interface providing full lighting control, RGB-W accent lighting, and thru-hull underwater lighting. The options list also includes a Seakeeper 3 gyroscope and a Fusion audio system with Apollo RA770 touchscreen display, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Digital Signal Processing (DSP).

The Sundancer 370 Outboard is available for order in North America, with international availability timing to follow.

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Updated crossovers

BMW Announces Updates for 2022 X3 and X4

The X3 and X4 get meaningful updates for 2022.

BMW

European luxury brands have fully embraced the SUV and crossover craze. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW have all drastically increased their utility vehicle catalogs in recent years, but haven't forgotten fun and drivability along the way. BMW in particular offers several models, each of which can be had in high-performance variants or with performance options packages. Two, the X3 and X4, will receive meaningful updates for the 2022 model year, with new powertrain tech and upgraded standard features.

The standard vehicles will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. All X3 and X4 models will get an eight-speed automatic transmission, and most will get standard all-wheel drive. Only the base X3 sDrive model will miss out. Both the X3 and X4 will be available with a Dynamic Handling Package, along with various steering and suspension upgrades. A Performance Control feature will be available for X3 models equipped with the M Sport package and standard for all X4 models, which brings the ability to shift torque to the rear wheels for better traction.


2022 BMW X4 Because of its sloping roof, BMW calls the X4 a coupe.BMW


Both the X3 and X4 will also be available in performance-oriented forms. The M40i models will be powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine that produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. BMW says the engine is powerful enough to propel the crossovers to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.4 seconds and on to a stop speed of either 130 or 155 mph, depending on the tire.

BMW's Live Cockpit Plus system is standard for the X3, which includes a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 5.1-inch color display in the center of a traditional gauge cluster. X4 models and upgraded X3 models will get a digital gauge cluster that measures 12.3 inches, along with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Called Live Cockpit Professional, the system is based on BMW's latest iDrive 7.0 software and can display information such as maps and vehicle data directly in front of the driver. BMW says that iDrive 7.0 allows the vehicles to be updated over-the-air to add new digital services and keep vehicle systems running properly.


2022 BMW X4 Both the X3 and X4 will be available in high-peformance M models.BMW


If you're hoping to get ahold of the new X3 or X4, production will begin in August 2021 at BMW's Spartanburg, SC facility. Pricing will begin at $43,700 for the X3 and $51,800 for the X4. Both vehicles will be subject to a $995 destination charge and taxes.

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Rare V8 roadster

This BMW Z8 is worth its price tag

The BMW Z8 is a modern classic.

Bring a Trailer

We could spend all day bemoaning car auctions' impact on vehicle pricing. Sites like Bring a Trailer and Cars and Bids invite frenzied buyers to offer wild sums of money for cars that might otherwise be considered ordinary. Some vehicles on those sites, however, are worth the coin, and we think this 2001 BMW Z8 is one of them. The 22,000-mile car's auction is almost over at the time of this post, and its sky-high price tag is actually warranted. The BMW Z8 is exceedingly rare to begin with, but this car's color combination of black over tan leather makes it even more of a unicorn, as only 229 were made in that combination.


BMW Z8 The Z8 took inspiration from BMW's classic roadsters.Bring a Trailer


Even the car's designer is noteworthy. Though he may be focusing on his own electric vehicle brand now, Henrik Fisker's 12-year run at BMW was the stuff of legend. Fisker's work included the design for the Z8, as well as contributions of the original X5 SUV, which is now part of an expansive BMW SUV and crossover lineup.

The Z8 reached legend status when it shuttled Pierce Brosnan's James Bond in The World Is Not Enough, but the cars were (and are) worthy of standing on their own. Under the hood, BMW installed a 394-horsepower 4.9-liter V8, which gave the car a claimed 0-62 mph time of just 4.2 seconds. That power reached the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, and this car has had maintenance performed to keep the drivetrain purring for years to come.


2001 BMW Z8 This Z8's color combination makes it exceedingly rare.Bring a Trailer


If you're wondering where this Z8's current bid price of $162,500 lands on the car's overall value spectrum, there's some good news, depending on how you view spending six figures on a car. Hagerty estimates that a Z8 in good condition should draw around $155,000, while a car in excellent condition should get $199,000. This car's mileage and condition match up with its price, which falls on the lower end of that range, and should allow it to be an actual driver for the right person. After all, what's the fun of buying a car just for display?

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