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Auto blogTue, 19 Feb 2013 17:59:00 EST
It turns out that Mercedes-Benz North America has legitimate claim to being the top selling luxury nameplate in the US in 2012.
While sources such as Autodata had put BMW in the top spot, registration data from R.L. Polk shows that Mercedes customers registering new vehicles topped the Bavarian automaker in the most recent calendar year. Polk says Benz posted 274,123 registrations, compared with BMW's 268,498.
In terms of sales posted, BMW had bested Benz 281,460 to 274,134. But sales are recorded somewhat inconsistently from automaker to automaker. Some book the sales as soon as they are shipped from factory to dealer. There is perennial gamesmanship between the two German rivals, and the sales numbers suggest that BMW pushed out some extra sheetmetal to dealers in the last four weeks of the year.
After spending four days practicing about a dozen drift stunt moves in a parking lot for an upcoming BMW "Drift Mob" internet mini-film, Rhys Millen, Sam Hübinette, Dai Yoshihara, Rich Rutherford, and Conrad Grunewald are finally ready for show time. We are brought to the huge urban traffic circle to see the stunts performed midway through the day to observe for a couple of hours.
The undertaking is massive, with multiple cameras set up, scores of crew members, a helicopter filming from above, a rigged pickup for car-to-car shots, sidewalks lined with security and plenty of curious onlookers, and oh, yeah, a major intersection of a top world city shut down for an entire weekend.
The five drifting legends are nestled in their identical red BMW M235i coupes, which have been modified with special handbrakes but essentially nothing else you can't get on a stock version, and are listening to direction from director Mic Rodgers and stunt coordinator Riley Harper. We're basically given free rein of the set, to shoot the cars, the drivers, and at one point, even hopping in with Yoshihara for one of the admittedly more tame stunts. Even then, the g-forces are so severe that they flip our cameraphone's video recording from landscape mode to portrait. Yes, this is a pretty cool day to be reporting on cars, and as we said during our first installment of our behind the scenes coverage of Drift Mob, we're honored to be the only US media outlet here to tell the tale.
BMW has unveiled the 2014 X5, and fans of the company's CUV will find plenty familiar in the machine. The biggest change to the recipe comes in the form of the X5 sDrive35i, which is the first rear-wheel drive version of the high-riding five-door to date. Buyers will, of course, continue to be able to opt for all-wheel drive, and both models will get their thrust from a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. That powerplant makes 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW says the combination is good enough to get the SUV to 60 miles per hour in around 6.2 seconds.
Those who require more thrust can step up to the more potent X5 xDrive50i with its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine. Drivers get to enjoy an extra 45 hp over the previous model, with final output up to 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic of its own, the engine can hustle the big X5 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
The 2014 BMW xDrive35d continues to offer diesel power, though output has dropped 10 horsepower to 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. Even so, BMW says the X5 diesel will be just as quick or quicker than the 2013 model. You can check out the full press release below for more information.