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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The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo will be the next member of the company's all-electric family.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

There's a new Porsche car coming and despite the way it looks, it's not a fresh all-electric Panamera. It's the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. The car was spied on the roads east of Weissach, Germany, doing its finally testing wearing very little camouflage.

We already know that the underpinnings of the new car are pretty much the same as what's in the Taycan sedan. Its outside isn't too dissimilar from the Taycan either, with much of the face holding the family looks and its back getting a sport wagon treatment that's similar to the Panamera - new fenders a longer roof, and a hatchback. The car also has an increased ride height.

And that's just what we can see from the photos. The car was darting along the countryside between frozen farmland and snow-covered forests. Porsche has confirmed many of these details and they were the ones that released the photos of the car testing - something usually left up to a spy photographer but in a COVID world, here we are.

They also released a video showcasing the car and its testing journey, featuring Stefan Weckbach, Vice President of the Taycan product line at Porsche. Take a watch.

The Camouflaged Taycan Cross Turismo Hits the Road www.youtube.com

Just a few days later, Porsche released video of the inside of the Taycan Cross Turismo, giving enthusiasts a peek behind the scenes on its development.

Taycan Cross Turismo - Inner Space www.youtube.com

The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is expected to be fully revealed later this year.

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The King Ranch trim level has been added to the Ford Explorer lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 2021 Ford Explorer is getting a King Ranch trim level. The midsize SUV's new grade combines rugged appearance and premium appointments for a look befitting the Texas ranch's name. Ford currently sells King Ranch versions of the Expedition, F-150, and Super Duty as well.

"In 1853, Captain Richard King bootstrapped the King Ranch in the harsh landscape of southern Texas until it became a shining example of agricultural and livestock innovation and success," said Lee Newcombe, Ford Explorer marketing manager. "Ford Explorer families can now enjoy a piece of the King Ranch's renowned craftsmanship and the multi-generation legacy that still thrives 168 years after its founding."

2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

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The Explorer King Ranch gets a Stone Gray-painted mesh grille insert, 20-inch aluminum wheels with Running W center cap, liftgate scuff plate, King Ranch badging, and quad chrome exhaust tips.

It is powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that delivers 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new version of the Explorer adds a standard Class III Trailer Tow Package, which makes the SUV capable of towing up to 5,600 pounds.

The interior of the new model gets mahogany-colored Mesa Del Rio perforated leather seats. The leather extends to the armrest. Both areas wear the King Ranch Running W logo. Leather door trim rollovers, a leather-wrapped and stitched instrument panel, Sapele wood appliqués, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with Norias stitching and a Salepe wood insert add sophistication.

"Introducing King Ranch's specialty leather, genuine wood, crafted details and signature colors to Ford Explorer elevates the SUV's brand," said Janet Seymour, Ford color and materials manager. "The warm, earthy Norias colorway, natural open pore wood appliqués and rope perforation design on the seats are just a couple ways we were able to bring the King Ranch lifestyle to a whole new group of customers."

Introducing the 2021 Explorer King Ranch® Edition | Explorer | Ford www.youtube.com

Buyers can add the Premium Technology Package to the model, which will give them multi-contour seats with massage functionality, a 10.1-inch informant touch screen, and a 14-speaker B&O Sound System.

Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ is standard on the model.

The Explorer King Ranch edition will start at $52,350 for rear-wheel-drive configuration and $54,350 MSRP for four-wheel drive models. It will be available in dealerships this spring.

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