A quick round-up of news from the auto world.

The new BMW 7 Series is futuristic 

BMW’s new flagship luxury sedan is set to be the most technologically advanced production car in the world when it hits the road in October. While externally, the new car’s styling is subtle, what is quite possibly a technological masterpiece is on the inside. This will be the first production car with remote controlled parking. Simply press the button on the touchscreen key fob and the car will do the rest, with no one at the wheel. Active safety features have also been revised, such as the semi-autonomous traffic jam assist system. The intelligent cruise control can also autonomously adjust the speed of travel based on a change in legal speed limit as well as the distance from the car ahead and behind.

The world's first production car that can be parked via remote control. Photo: BMW

The world’s first production car that can be parked via remote control. Photo: BMW

Other technological progress includes how the car can learn the owner’s preferred driving style and evolves to suit. It even uses GPS data to inform the automatic gear changes. Thanks to a 3D camera mounted in the headliner, the car is the first that can respond to gestures. A wave of the hand or a clenched fist or holding up one or two fingers can result in dropping or taking a call, or turning off or turning up the music for example.

Audi and BMW take on Tesla Model X

After years of delays, pioneering electric car company, Tesla is finally ready to officially launch its first battery-powered SUV. However, it could find that it won’t have the market to itself for very long as premium German automotive brands Audi and BMW are believed to be developing their own fully electric off-roaders in a bid to compete with the Model X, according to recent reports.

With its upward opening ‘falcon wing’ rear doors, seating for seven and sharp lines, the Model X wowed the crowds when it was unveiled in concept form in 2012. The production version was initially expected to come to market in 2013.

Unfortunately development issues, plus the challenge of promoting its existing Model S sedan meant that the launch date kept being pushed back. The wait is over. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk confirms that the all-electric off-roader would be out before the end of the year. “We’re expecting to begin our first deliveries in three or four months. I’m looking at the latest iteration of the Model X every week. The Model X may arguably be a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan,” he says.

If there are no further holdups, the car will be hitting the streets as soon as September, which will be when Audi is expected to unveil its own take on the fully electric SUV. Although the company stresses that the car will be in concept form, the Q6 will be debuting at the Frankfurt motor show. Audi’s head of Research and Development, Ulrich Hackenberg, has said that the Q6 would have a range of up to 500km on a single charge; in other words, equal to that of the Tesla Model S executive sedan. Although Audi has given a tentative production model launch date of 2018, it could come much sooner.

Recently, German publication Wirschaftswoche says that BMW is also planning to build an electric SUV, which could be launched before the end of 2018. The off-roader would become the third in BMW’s ‘i’ range of environmentally focused cars and would be built in the US at the same plant where its current range of SUVs are already produced.

Jaguar refreshes flagship XJ for 2016

British luxury and sportscar marque Jaguar has announced new exterior and interior touches for its biggest executive sedan. Plus, for the first time, an ultra exclusive Autobiography long wheel base model. With more legroom, the new flagship will offer owners individual reclining, quilted-leather rear seats and equally individual infotainment systems. Other interior features unique to the new model will include dashboard and door inlays finished in oak veneer while outside the car will sit on special 20-inch alloy wheels and boast a chrome air intake integrated into the front bumper.

The new Jaguar XJ Autobiography. Photo: Jaguar

The new Jaguar XJ Autobiography. Photo: Jaguar

The new XJ range become available to order from October 2015.

Volkswagen launches BlueMotion Passat

A new ultra-efficient diesel version of the latest generation Passat in sedan and estate form promises 3.7l/100km and CO2 emissions of only 95g/km. Both new models use a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine with a 120PS output, tuned to deliver most of that power at just 3,600rpm.

The Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion. Photo: Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion. Photo: Volkswagen

Capable of hitting 100km/h from standstill in 10.8 seconds, the sedan and estate both have a 209km/h top speed and will come with Post-Collision Braking, lowered sports suspension, 17-inch alloys with low resistance tires and a six-speed manual gearbox as standard in August when deliveries commence.

Audi drives speeds into record books

Motoring journalist Andrew Frankel and racing driver Rebecca Jackson were officially awarded a Guinness World Record for successfully driving a completely stock diesel Audi A6 to 14 different European countries on a single tank of fuel. The journey, which began in Maastricht, the Netherlands took 28 hours of almost continuous driving to complete and had covered a total of 1,864km when the car’s fuel tank was finally devoid of fuel in Hungary.

The car managed to travel through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. It’s quite possible the list could have been longer but, despite the best possible route planning, the car and its drivers still ran into unexpected delays.

The Audi A6 TDI ultra is now officially a Guinness World Record holder, having covered 14 countries on a single tank of diesel. Photo: Audi

The Audi A6 TDI ultra is now officially a Guinness World Record holder, having covered 14 countries on a single tank of diesel. Photo: Audi

“From an endurance point of view the challenge actually proved to be far harder than both Rebecca and I imagined it would be. Despite sharing the driving we were on the road almost continuously for 28 hours, focused on maintaining an average speed of around 80kmh. In order to do this you have to be fully aware of what’s going on around you and anticipate what could happen with the traffic ahead. While it was normal driving in one sense, it was also a very different type of driving, but nevertheless demanding,” says Frankel.

“By covering so much of Europe on a single fill-up, we have proven that real-world economy of almost 76 mpg (3.7l/100km) or more can be had from the latest engine technology,” said Audi spokesperson Jon Zammett. – AFP Relaxnews