BMW reveals the new 3-Series
new 3-Series GT.
European rumor has BMW launching the new mid-size 3 hatch
looking very much like a smaller 5-Series Gran Turismo.
The new model may be called the 3 GT, but no matter what it is called, the
photos are all over the net before its official release. Two undisguised
versions were seen in the US during a recent photo shoot for the car, and they
will be making their official world debut probably at the Detroit Auto show in
January, most likely as 2013 models.
From the spy shots, we can see that the 3-Series GT has the more pronounced
grille, headlights that blend into the grille, accented intake surrounds and new
mudguard vents, being design cues from the 3-Series.
It is believed that many of these elements will also be appearing on the
forthcoming 4-Series Coupe and 4-Series Convertible. These were first previewed
on BMW’s Active Tourer Concept at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.
Previous interior spy shots revealed that the cabin’s design will stick close to
the 3-Series sedan’s interior. There should also be an updated navigation
system, a revised menu for the iDrive interface and more voice-activated
controls as part of BMW’s expanding ConnectedDrive technology portfolio.
The platform that the new 3-Series uses is slightly longer version of the
platform underpinning the latest BMW 3-Series, which means it should be powered
by the same choice of engines as well. This would mean the 180 kW/350 Nm 2.0
liter turbo four in a base 328i GT and a 225 kW/400 Nm 3.0 liter turbo
straight-six in the 335i GT. It is postulated that an xDrive all-wheel-drive
system will likely be an option.
Ford’s Australian SUV looks to be a hit in Thailand
We are used to the fact that many of the Ford’s built here in
Thailand are exported to Australia, but the reverse direction is not as
Even though there is a Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and Australia, cars
do not come into Thailand with no taxes/duties, as one might think. There are
still tariffs and they are quite significant.
However, Ford Australia took a gamble and sent 100 of the Australian built Ford
Territory SUV’s to Thailand last August after receiving much interest in the car
at the Bangkok International Motor Show in March of this year.
The Territory is being marketed as a premium SUV in Thailand and will be sold in
the range-topping ‘Titanium’ model with a 2.7 liter turbo-diesel V6 engine
producing 142 kW of power, mated to a six speed automatic transmission.
This brings the SUV line-up for Ford Thailand to three, with the Escape and
Everest and now the Territory, and of the initial batch of 100, Ford claims that
50 have been sold already.
A ‘cheap” Jaguar
Whilst the original concepts of Jaguar cars included Grace,
Space and Pace, of late the marque has strayed from Sir William Lyons ideas.
The latest is the 2.0 liter four cylinder Jaguar XF which is considerably
cheaper than the previous most affordable petrol Jaguar, and cheaper in most
markets than the BMW 520i, Audi A6 2.0 TFSI and Mercedes-Benz E200.
The 177 kW engine is the same turbocharged direct-injected unit employed in Ford
Australia’s EcoBoost Falcon, and is also used in various states of tune in the
Ford Mondeo, Range Rover Evoque and some Volvo models. So much for exclusivity.
The petrol XF drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed ZF automatic
transmission. This eight-speed box has now been applied across the XF range as
part of a 2013 model update that also includes a new 250 kW/450 Nm 3.0 liter
supercharged V6 variant.
The two turbo-diesel models have been retained - in 2.2-liter four cylinder and
3.0 liter V6 guises, plus the supercharged 5.0 liter V8 for the performance
The four-cylinder engine in the cheapest XF develops 177 kW at 5500 rpm and 340
Nm of torque giving a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 7.9 seconds. This is
hardly the “pace” envisaged so many years ago. Mind you, Indian ownership of
Jaguar by Tata was also not envisaged.
The new XF range gets some interior tweaks such as new infotainment features,
including a 30 gb hard drive, a more capable sat-nav system that zooms in when
the car approaches an intersection, and a browsing function for iPod tunes. New
high-end Meridian sound systems are also available. Jaguar also says suspension
tweaks deliver a better ride without upsetting handling.
Standard features on the cheap 2.0 Luxury include Alcantara seats with four-way
front-seat electric adjustment, keyless entry and start, automatic transmission
with sports shift and steering wheel paddles, leather-bound steering wheel and
18-inch wheels. But does it have Grace, Space and Pace? You are the judge.
The price of being a pioneer
In the past, I fell victim to the attraction of being a
pioneer, in that eternal quest for the top step of the podium. Let me tell you
about my pioneering blunders.
The first was when I was a works driver for British Leyland in Australia. It was
1970 and my MGB was consistently coming second to a three liter Austin Healey
3000. Rumored to be larger than four liters, he just had too much power. The B
was 1.8 liters, but the additional horsepower we would get from bringing it to
two liters was not enough.
It was then I got my master plan. The engine regulations of the day said you had
to maintain the manufacturer’s block and crank - everything else was free. My
pioneering concept was to graft a twin overhead cam head on the MGB block.
We sourced an MGA head, thinking it would bolt on. It doesn’t - an MGB has an 11
stud block, and the MGA is a 10 stud head. Answer, re-stud the block.
The next issue was the chain drive to the overhead cams. To lubricate the chain
we had to drill into the oil ways at the front of the block, and then extend the
crankshaft nose to take the gear for the chain. That hurdle cleared. What was
Next was the fact that the side camshaft in the B is driven by a chain from the
crankshaft, so same direction of rotation. In the T/C A (known as the jackshaft)
it is driven by gears from the crank, so opposite direction of rotation. And you
can’t just throw it away, because the gear-drive for the oil pump is on it, so
you are driving the oil pump backwards! That took us two days to work out and
overcome, remembering that the oil pump lives in the sump, not externally, so
you have to pull the engine out every time. Fun.
Now, after we got it running, the next problem came from the generous increase
in horsepower. I was correct in that it did give us the horses needed, but what
it then did, was to systematically break everything from the flywheel bolts
backwards, all the way to the half shafts! In that season (1971), we set lap
records at every circuit we raced on - and had a finishing record of 50 percent.
It destroyed seven engine blocks as it dropped valves with monotonous
regularity. The pioneering spirit brought my season undone.
Of course, once a pioneer, always a pioneer. In 1980 I was racing a Ford Escort
Mk1, in the Australian sports sedan class. A few glass panels and some engine
work and that was it. The Pinto engine was bullet-proof and I had a good season,
but there were too many Mk1 Ford Escorts. I had to do something to elevate
myself above the others.
My plan was to build a totally space-framed Escort, with the engine back as far
as would be allowed and to run a wing. Not only did the pioneer decide to do
this rather radical step for 1980, but to make it even more radical, it was
decided to build two of them, one for my friend John English, and one for
myself. These we ran as a team for the largest Ford Dealership in Australia.
Now you have to understand nobody had done this before, and then to compound or
problems we decided to run Mazda 12A rotary engines, throwing the unreliable
Ford T/C engines away.
This was not an easy engine transplant as the extremely hot exhausts run on the
driver’s side of the car, and we were getting fried all the time. In desperation
we had quilted asbestos made for the tunnel, but we did not know in those days,
that the asbestos was probably more dangerous than the racing.
However, the pioneering spirit continues, and our SR 20 Turbo engine that was
shoe-horned into the racing Securitas Escort Mk 1 has given us a substantial
power boost, but also a substantially greater number of problems! But we will
No, the road for the auto pioneer is not an easy one.
Want to see Myanmar - join the rally
The “ASEAN Friendship Caravan 2013 Gate Way to Myanmar” event
is the first overland rally approved and permitted by both the Myanmar and
Thailand Authorities concerned.
Participants from ASEAN countries Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore
and Indonesia will join the event.
Due to the limit of the number of convoy vehicles, the organizer proposes to
each country that a limit of 4 - 5 vehicles can register, and the organizers
estimate around 30 - 35 vehicles will join the event including Media and TV
The dates for the “ASEAN Friendship Caravan 2013 Gate Way to Myanmar” rally are
from 16 December to 28 February 2013.
Please confirm by scanning your passport for each participant, your vehicle
registration book and your international driving license and send via e-mail:
[email protected] / [email protected] as soon as possible, or you may already
have missed out.
For other further information, please fill free to contact the organizer: Somsak
Burapapipath Mobile: 081 513 3913 / 084 940 4746 or e-mail: [email protected]