Auto News for June 11

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BMW has introduced its 2016 7-Series that has lost weight, gained a wide variety of tech items, but generally looks the same to the casual observer. Thanks to the use of carbon fiber and other light weight materials the 7 lost about 190 pounds over the previous model with the advantageous 50-50 weight distribution retained. Only a long wheelbase version will be offered in the U.S. in the form of a 740i and a 750i. Tech wise there are touch screens fore and aft, and even one on the key fob that will tell owners how much gas is in the tank, if the windows are open and their ride is locked. And then there is Gesture Control. (No, it doesn’t recognize that one!!!) Various hand motions will be caught by a camera and wave off an incoming phone call, raise or lower audio volume, set the navi for home base or jump to the next item on the audio preset. For those who hate being beeped to death by safety systems, a single button will turn them all off. It is also said to carry the largest head’s up display in the industry. Two power plants will be initially offered, a twin- turbo six rated at 320 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, or a twin-turbo V8 at 445 horsepower and 1,800-4,500 lb-ft of torque. Both are tied to eight speed automatics. BMW cited a 0-60 run of 5.4 seconds for the six, and 4.3 seconds for the eight. Top speed for both is 130 mph. A plug-in hybrid model will join the lineup next year that can run up to 75 mph in pure electric mode with a maximum range of 23 miles. Luxury? You bet. How about a seat massage option that offers a choice of eight programs each with three different levels of intensity? And, as you can see from the accompanying pictures, rear seat passengers will have lots of stretch out room thanks to the fold down front seat. Prices will start at $81,300 for the 740i and $97,400 for the upscale 750i xDrive model. This is BMW’s top of the line model after all.

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Meanwhile, VW revealed the 2016 Jetta GTI with additional safety features, a revised front fascia and rear bumper with chrome tipped exhaust. The 2.0-liter turbo 4 carries over its 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque with either a six speed manual or dual clutch automatic. This fun to drive sedan will hit U.S. showrooms in September.

Hyundai said 70 Southern California residents have, collectively, run up more than 475,000 miles in their Tucson Fuel Cell CUV’s in the first year of ownership. Hyundai maintains this is the “next generation of zero-emissions transportation.”

Ahead of important contract talks with the United Auto Workers, General Motor’s lead negotiator, Rex Blackwell, has retired. Fiat Chrysler has also announced that its top labor negotiator has entered retirement. The UAW has announced it will seek changes in the “two tier” labor agreement that offers lower pay and benefits to recently hired workers.

 

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