The 2015 BMW Xpo, held in Bonifacio High Street, on September 25, up until the 27th, 2015, is all about Sheer Driving Pleasure and how easy it is to own a BMW.
In the event area, almost the entire BMW line-up is on display. From the BMW 1 Series, all the way up to the 6 Series GranCoupe, there surely is a fun to drive and sporty BMW for all types of people to enjoy. BMW, being centered around their motto, Sheer Driving Pleasure, you get to experience the BMW of your choice through test drives of your favorite BMWs.
Avail the attractive financing package promos in order to make it easier for you to own your dream BMW, all at the BMW Xpo. Most of these promos will only available at the event.
If you want to further make owning a BMW even a whole lot easier for you, the BMW Xpo is filled with BMW Premium Selection vehicles, which is BMW’s Certified Pre-Owned programme. To those who prefer buying brand-new, depreciation is their biggest enemy, but for the bargain hunters, such as me, my relationship with depreciation is much more favorable. Buying a Certified Pre-Owned BMW means that you get the similar peace of mind of owning a brand new car, but in a second hand vehicle. A thorough and extensive check-up and maintenance check is done before a BMW vehicle is certified under the Premium Selection Programme.
Two facelifted BMWs enjoyed there Philippine premiere at the BMW Xpo. The BMW 6 Series and the BMW 1 Series.
Firstly, the BMW 6 Series. In typical BMW fashion, the changes are very hard to spot unless you are a BMW fan. The LED daytime running lights have been redesigned, and the front bumper now has bigger air vents. Inside, changes are even more minimal, but thanks to the now standard 12-inch LCD virtual gauge display (for the Philippine market), you can easily tell this is the facelifted BMW 6 Series.
Next is the BMW 1 Series. Gone are the googly eyes of the pre-facelifted model, now replaced with a more handsome pair of headlamps. The LED rear lights have been enlarged, and the tail light graphic design has been revised. On display is the BMW M135i, which is the M Performance version of the BMW 135i.
The BMW 318d Anniversary Edition is also on display at the event. This is basically an entry-level BMW 318d with a few tasteful touches and options. These options and accessories include a BMW Dash Cam, which is an essential in the Philippines because of how uncivilized our roads are, M Performance Carbon Fiber Mirrors, M Performance Rear Spoiler, M Performance Wheels, Alpine Hi-Fi sound system, and Gloss Black Kidney Grilles. If you purchase a BMW 318d Anniversary Edition, you get the chance to win a action-packed trip to Morocco, and see the filming locations of the movie Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
Visit the 2015 BMW Xpo and experience BMW in a new perspective. Avail the promos and discounts and discover how easy it is to own that dream BMW of yours.
We here at Go Flat Out loves the diesel engines from the Volkswagen Group. These engines are torquey and compared to most diesel engines in the market, Volkswagen’s TDI engines offer the smoothest power delivery and the most refined driving experience. An experience which is almost no different from a petrol car. So in a huge turn of unfortunate events, what exactly happened to a supposedly reputable and huge company such as Volkswagen?
First and foremost, what exactly happened?
In the United States, there is only a maximum amount of NOx emission levels allowed for a vehicle, and unlike in the European Union (EU), the maximum level is the same to both petrol and diesel cars, so in the USA, the NOx emission laws for diesels are stricter. Under laboratory tests conducted the EPA, the Volkswagen 2.0 TDI engines pass the EPA’s emission standards. However, a team of West Virginia University students drove a Volkswagen Jetta and Volkswagen Passat, both equipped with a device they developed in order to test the emissions of vehicles in a real world driving scenario. They found out that the Volkswagen Jetta and Volkswagen Passat with a 2.0 TDI diesel engine emitted 15 to 35 times the limit and 5 to 20 times the limit, respectively.
A year ago, when the students are presenting their findings at a conference in San Diego, there were officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that were present. They eventually started an investigation, and made Volkswagen admit that it was using a software “defeat device” equipped in their 2.0 TDI engines that lets the engine know if it was being lab tested for emissions, letting the engine produce far less NOx than in normal driving situations.
In order to lower the NOx emissions of diesel engines, most of these cars usually come standard with a tank of Urea, marketed as AdBlue. Volkswagen uses AdBlue only in their diesel engines with a size of 3.0 liters and above, while BMW and Mercedes-Benz uses it on all their diesel cars. The second generation 2.0 TDI engines sold from the beginning of 2015, now comes fitted with a tank of AdBlue as standard.
What is NOx and what makes this different from CO2?
NOx are oxides of nitrogen. The empirical formula of NOx uses an x in the end instead of a number, as in CO2. This is because the oxygen atoms of the nitrogen oxides bind with other chemicals in the air, creating more harmful pollutants and fine particulates, which is a health hazard, especially to the asthmatics such as myself. NOx is also a huge contributor to smog.
Are only Volkswagens sold in America affected by this?
Apparently, not. 450,000 diesel cars sold from 2009 up to 2015 in the US were first suspected to have this “defeat device”, but Volkswagen has now admitted that a total of 11 million cars worldwide are equipped by this cheating device.
What does this mean to the Philippines?
As of now, nothing. Unless Volkswagen (including Audi) releases a an official recall, you have nothing to worry about. You may continue using your cars as you wish. Do take note that the 2.0 TDI from the Philippine market Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Touran, Volkswagen Tiguan, Audi A4, and Audi A3, and potentially even the Q3 and Q5, could be part of the recall once an announcement has been made. The concerned engine is the first generation EA 189 2.0 TDI diesel engine produced from 2009 until 2015, fitted in 11 million Volkswagen Group cars worldwide. The second generation EA 288 2.0 TDI diesel engines produced from the beginning of 2015, is not only more powerful, but also, it is fitted with a tank of AdBlue as standard.
Does it pass our own emission standards?
We have an emission standard? You’re kidding, right? Even if the DENR’s Clean Air Act of 1998 is truly enforced, Volkswagen’s diesel engines will pass the tests with flying colors. The DENR’s NOx emission standard for light vehicles is at 0.97 g/km, which, by comparison, the European Union’s requirement is at 0.25 g/km for diesel engines, and 0.08 g/km for petrol engines. The US is the same on both petrol and diesel engines, at one tenths the standard of the EU.
What penalties can Volkswagen face?
So far, the EPA has fined Volkswagen a total value of US$18 Billion. Around 480,000 cars are affected by this scandal in the USA, which amounts to US$37,500 per car.
Will there be any criminal charges against Volkswagen?
Yes. This is because the device is basically used as a way to cheat the United States’ stringent emission tests. Now that the United States Department Of Justice is now refocusing its prosecution of white-collar crimes on individual employees rather than the actual corporations that employ them, Volkswagen is really on a heated spot right now.
It also must be considered that, while most car enthusiasts bought Volkswagen’s diesels because of the engine’s punchy torque, the vast majority of buyers bought a Volkswagen diesel because of how fuel efficient, clean, and environmentally-friendly these engines are compared to petrol engines and even hybrids.
The situation now is so bad, Volkswagen’s present CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has now resigned.
What does a US$18 Billion fine mean to Volkswagen?
US$18 Billion is about 30% of Volkswagen’s profit last year. It wouldn’t kill the company, but combined with the US$7.2 Billion they set aside to fix the cars and their crashing stocks, this is certainly very painful to them.
I thought Volkswagen’s diesels were good?
Yes, they actually are. Many driving enthusiasts chose this car not because of its advertised cleanliness, but rather, the 2.0 TDI engine’s punchy torque and smooth power delivery is so addictive, it makes the cars very fun to drive. The problem is that, they weren’t as clean as they were initially thought.
Are other diesel powered cars from other manufacturers affected?
Yes, indirectly. While the BMW X5 that was tested passed with flying colours, a US and European investigation has been launched in order to verify if the cheat is also practiced by other manufacturers.
What does this mean to the car industry?
The impression of the public towards diesel cars will certainly change, maybe even for the worse. Even if all the car manufacturers have been cheating the emissions test, people would still need to drive, right?
Diesel cars in the USA aren’t fully welcomed because of the diesel cars General Motors produced in the ’70s. The mission of removing the American’s stigma towards diesels were left to Volkswagen, but now that Volkswagen themselves were the ones who tarnished the supposed cleanliness of their own diesel engines, I wouldn’t be surprised if diesels won’t be successful to the American market.
There’s a strong market for entry level ASEAN-designed MPVs here in the Philippines. You get a lot of space for 7 people for the price of a subcompact sedan or hatchback, making the entry price point of a 7-seater vehicle definitely low compared to most markets around the world. This is especially important since most Filipinos like to travel in groups with their friends or families. The Toyota Avanza has always led the pack in terms of sales, which led to Suzuki battling it with the Ertiga’s refinement, and Honda battling the Avanza with the Mobilio’s sportier demeanor. This has led to Toyota updating the Avanza in order to keep buyers away from Suzuki and Honda.
The Avanza’s mid-cycle refresh is very easy to spot. First off, the large, bold grille. Toyota has been trying to diverge away from its boring image by making their cars more aggressive, a move which people will either love or hate in terms of design. There’s one thing we can all agree on. The new blue paint looks awesome in person, suiting the Avanza really well. New, two tone aggressively designed rims round up the exterior changes.
Inside, a bolder choice of brown has been used for the G variant. It looks really good and is less prone to the beige interiors we are accostumed to with Toyotas. The Avanza was often criticized for its terrible interior materials, therefore they improved the materials, making the interior feel more premium than ever before. Glossy interior trim elevates the interior’s ambience, though these are prone to fingerprints and scratches, while exclusive to the G variant is an integrated navigation ready touch screen system.
In a move that will surprise us car enthusiasts, the Toyota Avanza is powered by an all-new engine, a far cry from Toyota’s habit of carrying over engines from one generation to another. The new Avanza is powered by a 1.5 liter petrol engine now with Dual VVT-i. The new engine is more powerful by an astounding 2 hp compared to the previous engine, now at 104 hp. The 1.3 liter engine, meanwhile, is still carried over. Apart from a power increase, Toyota promises better refinement and better fuel efficiency out of the powertrain. Both engines can be mated to either a 5-Speed Manual or a 4-Speed Automatic, regardless of variant. The Avanza remains to be the only RWD MPV in the segment.
Safety has now been improved across the line-up. Dual SRS airbags and even ISOFIX child seat anchors are now standard across the line-up. The consumers are now becoming critical with a car’s safety features and this move from Toyota we commend. The high trim G variant, meanwhile, benefits from ABS and EBD, a feature in our opinion, should be standard on all vehicles.
Just months after its world debut in Thailand, the 2016 Ford Ranger has quickly reached our shores, bringing extensive updates inside and out to the Philippines’ best selling pick-up truck for 2015. Now that our market is filled with new pick-up trucks from most of the major brands, your decision in buying a new truck has just gotten harder.
The exterior changes are noticeable, starting with the trapezoidal grille. It’s bolder and has a look that’s more in line with the Ford Everest, an SUV based on the Ranger. New, sleeker projector headlamps, and dark elements featuring liquid metallic grey finishes highlight the more aggressive elements of the Wildtrak variants. Chili Orange has now been replaced by a brighter shade called Pride Orange.
Inside, the changes are more pronounced, and again, in order to make it in line with the Ford Everest.The dashboard has a predominantly horizontal design, and for the Wildtrak variants, the dashboard is dominated by Ford’s SYNC 2, also known as MyFord Touch. Also unique to the Wildtrak variants are premium design elements such as the orange and grey interior highlights, and the leather stitched dashboard.
The Ford Ranger soldiers on with two powertrain choices, a 2.2 liter 4-cylinder and a 3.2 liter 5-cylinder Duratorq engine. For the 3.2 liter, power remains unchanged, at 200 hp and 470 Nm of torque. The 2.2 liter, however, receives substantial changes. It now produces 160 hp and 385 Nm of torque, and both engines can be mated either to a 6-Speed Manual or Automatic transmission, regardless of variant. The biggest mechanical change, however, is the move form a hydraulic assist to an electric power steering.
The Ford Ranger’s safety credentials are already class leading, and this facelift places the Ford Ranger even further ahead. Apart from the plethora of standard electronic aids such as Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, and Trailer Sway Control, from the XLT variants up, the 3.2 Wildtrak variants add more sophisticated active driver assist systems, namely radar guided Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid (in which the system adds steering inputs to keep the car in center), and Forward Collision Alert and Mitigation. These active convenience and safety features should make driving a pick-up truck more and more sophisticated and comfortable.
Since these updates are as extensive as they can get, the Ford Ranger’s pricing increases noticeably. The following are the prices for the new Ford Ranger.
The Lexus ES 350 is somehow overlooked by many people in the Lexus line-up. It’s a midsize sedan that has suffered from the stigma that it’s merely a glorified Camry. While that may be true in the past, the ES 350 isn’t anymore a glorified Camry. Rather, it is now based on Toyota’s full size American sedan called the Avalon, which is only sold in North America and the Middle East, which somehow still qualifies the ES 350 as uniquely a Lexus and not merely a glorified Toyota in our market. It isn’t helped by the fact that the compact RWD Lexus IS 350 sport sedan and the midsize RWD GS 350 sport sedan are favored over this midsize FWD luxury sedan. Perhaps the market positioning of the ES is to be an entry level midsize sedan, in which the ES doesn’t have any competition with. Lexus has constantly updated the Lexus ES, bringing excitement over this sedan over the years, and this facelift elevates the adrenaline of this car even more.
The German brands, when it comes to facelifts, are generally hard to notice, especially BMW. Lexus, however, does things differently. Their facelifts are instantly recognizable, starting with this newly redesigned grille. It’s big, brash, and aggressive. Wrapped in satin chrome finish, the spindle grille is more “in-your-face” than ever. Full-LED headlamps with the ever so striking L-shaped LED daytime running lights complete the new, aggressive fascia of the Lexus ES. New LED tail light graphics and rear chrome garnish round up the exterior updates for the ES.
Inside, the interior has received relatively minor changes when compared to the exterior. An updated steering wheel design, new color 4.2 inch TFT LCD in between the gauge, are some of the updates that were made to the interior. The most noticeable among the changes, however, are the new two-tone color and wood choices for the interior, Topaz Brown, Ivory, Moonstone and Black in embossed leather. New interior trim choices have also been added in addition to the Bird’s Eye Maple that is fitted as standard, which are matte-finished Bamboo and Shimamoku, which first premiered in the Lexus LS.
Powertrain remains unchanged, still powered by a 268 hp 3.5 liter V6, mated to a 6-Speed Automatic. However, the new, sportier face is not only for show, as Lexus has updated the structure of the vehicle. Chassis bracing derived from the sporty Lexus IS has been adapted onto the ES, and sound insulation has been added behind the dashboard to further isolate engine noise.
Perhaps one of my favorite features in the new Lexus ES are the new color choices, namely Amber, Deep Blue, Graphite Black, and Sonic Quartz. What makes these colors so special? Well, apart from the fact that the new colors simply look cool, they have a self-restoring coat, which means the clear coat has the ability to repair itself even from light scratches and those infamous swirl marks.
Consequently, these updates have lead to a P100,000 price increase, now at P3,658,000, but considering the size of this sedan and the amount of features you get, the ES 350 still remains a good value.
The Philippines is unique among its ASEAN peers when it comes to the cars on sale. We are the only ASEAN nation with a left hand drive configuration, so what does a configuration have to do with us being unique? Well, apart from being the only LHD country, we are lucky and fortunate enough to have a huge variety of cars, and the Chrysler 300C is one of them. While available in an RHD configuration, it wasn’t until the second generation when the 300C became available to RHD markets, and now, the facelifted, second generation Chrysler 300C is now here.
The Chrysler is one of my favorite large sedans. It’s big, brash, and bold, and somehow, this large American sedan got infused with a bit of European soul, which isn’t a surprise considering Fiat now owns the Chrysler group. New for 2015 is a redesigned front end, incorporating a larger grille, redesigned Bi-Xenon headlamps with C-shaped LED daytime running lights, and in the rear, revised LED tail light graphics.
Inside, the Chrysler 300C also receives a few notable changes. Chrysler’s excellent and user friendly UConnect system remains unchanged, but the materials and build quality have been improved all around. The climate control and radio buttons have been redesigned for a more user friendly experience, and a new large LCD screen now sits in between the analogue gauges. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the omission of a gear lever, in place of a space saving knob, a design trait that first premiered in the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan.
In terms of safety, the Chrysler 300C gains a new Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning. Basically, the system can bring the vehicle to slow down, or come to a complete stop, depending on the speed. Unlike most systems, the FCW is active at all speeds, hence its name. A nifty new feature is called the Anti-Tilt feature, in which the car blares once it senses it is being lifted or jacked up. Other active safety features, such as Blind Spot Warning, radar guided Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Keep Assist, now being able to make steering corrections, remain as standard features.
Power hungry people, however, won’t be happy to know that the Chrysler 300C’s 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine is down on power and torque. The engine now produces 286 hp vs 292 hp, and 340 Nm of torque vs 350 on the previous V6. However, don’t fret because thanks to a new ZF 8-Speed Automatic Transmission with Sport Mode, shifts can be done from 400 milliseconds in Normal to 250 milliseconds in Sport, so those who are betting themselves on a drag race won’t have to fret, as 0-100 km/h acceleration times remain unchanged. On the upside of these things, fuel economy is expected to be better than the previous models.
So if you happen to have P3,550,000 lying around your big-ass house, you know where to spend it.
Eurobrands Distributor Inc. has launched the facelifted 508, the brand’s Camry fighting midsize sedan. Ever since its arrival in the Philippines, the Peugeot 508 has proved to be a venerable competitor from the European side of mainstream cars. It has proven to be an excellent choice in a segment dominated by mainly Japanese midsize sedans.
2.0 HDI Allure
2.2 HDI GT
On the outside, the facelifted Peugeot 508 looks better than ever. The original 508 is already a looker. Though not as fluidic and as striking as the Mazda 6, its design uses cleaner, more straightforward lines and curves, which immediately makes it a distinctively European design. This facelifted model makes use of Bi-LED headlamps, revised LED tail lights now done in LED tubes, and a revised front fascia that is inspired from the Peugeot Exalt concept.
Inside, not much has changed over the previous model. The biggest change, however, is in the infotainment system. Whereas the original 508’s interface is controlled via a German-style central knob, the 508’s infotainment is now a touch screen interface. Other minor changes include the HUD (Head-Up Display) now displaying colored information.
The Peugeot 508’s powertrain remains unchanged. The 1.6 liter variants have been dropped, now only retaining the 2.0 HDI Allure and 2.2 HDI GT. Power remains unchanged, with 163 hp and 340 Nm of torque for the 2.0 HDI, and 204 hp and 450 Nm of torque for the 2.2 HDI GT, with both engines mated only to a 6-Speed Automatic.
The facelifted Peugeot 508 will continue to be an excellent contender in the midsize sedan category, and its French charms will keep the public interested in owning a Peugeot 508. It’s about time the Filipino buying public has looked into mainstream European brands, which will surely make our car market more interesting. Unfortunately, now that the 1.6 liter variants have been dropped, the entry price point for owning a Peugeot 508 has now increased substantially. Here are the prices for the new Peugeot 508.