Motoring for Women
BMW's and Jaguars - executive cars for working mothers!
Jackie Violet, motoring journalist, mother of two and qualified driving instructor reviews cars and outlines issues relevant to working mums and motoring such as safety, entertainment and most of all, comfort!
NEW BMW M5
Continuing with our executive cars this month, I was very fortunate to drive the new BMW M5 from the South of France (Jackie pictured left) back to Farnborough Airport which was a stunning serene experience in its own right and so befitting what can only be described as the most amazing car I have ever driven on road.
I know BMW drivers are predominantly men who also have a bad reputation in their driving behaviour, but BMW have to be in the top three for manufacturing executive cars. So, to all you executive ladies out there, this one is for you.
The BMW M5 is based on Formula One technology and gives the driver the combination of a practical comfortable saloon car with a high-powered engine for superb performance. The M5 is the first volume production salon car to offer a high revving V10 engine and a seven sequential gearbox allied to a chassis that delivers unprecedented response and precise handling.
I could write a book about the incredible engineering of this car but in a nutshell this V10, 4,995 cc engine has a top speed of 155mph (limited unfortunately), will take just 4.7 seconds to reach 0-62 and in BMW’s own words, high revs + power + torque + gearing = thrust.
The M Drive enables the driver to change the comfortable executive driving mode into a sports car at a touch of a button that activates the power button, SMG, Drivelogic, DSC, EDC, amongst other things and really shows off the performance of this incredible machine. But do not be phased, the M5 is so easy to drive.
The M Servotronic power steering is both road and engine speed related thus eliminating the need for lighter steering at manourver speed and firmer at higher speed. A new generation of Dynamic Stability Controls was developed exclusively for the M5 and can be programmed in three stages. Large drilled compound disc brakes with aluminium twin piston sliding callipers provide incredible braking in the M5 resulting in just 26 meters to stop from 62mph.
BMW is the first manufacture to offer seven speed gearbox on a saloon plus Drivelogic which is an11 gear change programme to suit every driver and all driving conditions. You can either use the gear lever or the paddles behind the steering wheel or simply leave it in automatic mode.
The exterior of the M5 is virtually the same as the 5 series with a few minor differences plus the M5 logo and this is because the M5 customers do not want to stand out in the crowd and blatantly flash off their sportier number but prefer to take the reserved road basking in the knowledge of what is under the bonnet.
Inside all the executive toys are there, well-placed and very driver friendly. The leather seats are fully adjustable with memory, heated and lumber support. A special M5 seat option is the M multifunction whereby in sport mode, the side and support and backrest move in to meet the body thus holding the driver in place when cornering. For the family getaways the luggage area is 500 litres of clear space, the rear seats have a 60/40 split and the ski bag is an optional extra.
The M5 has a unique head up display, which gives the driver information such as speed, gears in differing colours, directly in the driver’s line of sight, i.e. it appears to be at the end of the bonnet. This is an amazing feature in its own right and also a great safety feature, as the driver’s eyes effectively never leave the road.br>
Further safety is seen in 8 airbags, seat belt force limiters front and rear, intelligent safety electronics and automatic or manual call to the emergency services via BMW assist.
The BMW M5 comes with a cool price tag of £61,760 and a host of optional equipment. Customers can purchase one from 19th May 2005 but will have to wait two years for delivery. Is it worth the wait? Oh most definately yes.
TWO JAG JAC - well three if you include the estate!
JACKIE VIOLET attends the international launch of the new jaguar X-type 2.2 diesel salon and estate along with the new XJ-type 2.7 twin turbo diesel.
A diesel in a jag? Surely not!
An estate in a Jag? Who would have thought it?
Next Jaguar will be producing an MPV! “Steady on” says the polite PR lady.
In the continuing saga of Jaguar's long and variable history, the S-type was the first to see the introduction of a diesel engine and an estate variant last year. Bowing to competitive pressure, Jaguar realized they had to break into the ever-increasing diesel market, which sees a staggering increase of 70% in the premium sector.
With that in mind the X-type has followed in the footsteps of the S-type with the introduction of a new 2.2 diesel engine again for both the saloon and estate. Prices have just been announced at £22,995 for the former and £24,165 for the latter. When you think of Jaguar, an image of style, sophistication and ultimate luxury comes to mind. But, it has been a rocky road for Jaguar with the general public trying to quantify the cost of owning such a car when there is such fierce competition in this premium sector all with lower price tags.
Pushing that aside, the X-type 2.2 diesel is a luxury car in terms of interior comfort however, nothing to really make a fuss over. Technology wise it still does not jump out of the crowd although with this new engine brings high efficiently and precise fuel metering resulting in low fuel consumption, 47mpg combined, with CO2 emissions of 159/km making the Benefit in Kind tax category of 18% on the saloon. (45.6 mpg with 164 CO2 on the estate). On top of this is the 2.2 diesel torque, which is produced at low to medium engine speeds where emissions are the lowest and subsequently achieved the required EURO 1V compliance.
Inside the X-type 2.2 it is noticeably quite as the Noise Reduction Technology adjusts the engine setting, laminated glass and tuned glass fibre bonnet insulation reduces the engine noise. Both saloon and estate see a Bluetooth wireless system where a compatible telephone can be wirelessly operated via the cars controls without ever leaving the driver’s pocket for easy hands free use, and two new exterior colours. Both benefit from low maintenance and repair costs and a new six speed manual transmission that matches the performance of the 2.2 diesel engines.
The X-type will certainly put Jaguar on the performance diesel map and a perfect solution to customers slightly wary of the diesel market but want to trust in reliability and refinement Jaguar is renowned for.
However, for those who truly want the ultimate in luxury, a car with technology beyond belief, and engine worthy of a gold medal and driving pleasure where man and machine really do become one, then take a look at the new XJ –type with a new 2.7 litre twin turbo V6 diesel engine purring away under its long lush bonnet.
Within seconds of entering the XJ, you just know you are back with Jaguar of the old. The comfort of the car is luxurious, the instrument panel with all the toys is uncluttered, hence driver friendly and surrounded by quality walnut finish. The smell of leather tickles your nostrils as you snuggle into the electrically heated and fully adjustable seats with memory. Electrics adorn the car, including the electrically adjustable steering wheel and foot pedals so every driver will find the optimum driving position for comfort.
But when you turn on the engine and this beast purrs into action, you know Jaguar have achieved what they have not in years, the ultimate car in the premium sector. A couple of minutes are all it takes to bond with this car. The six-speed automatic transmission glides though the gears as the car eats up the tarmac. The steering is absolutely accurate as you take each bend and the braking is formidable. This car drives exactly where you point it and holds the road like wood glue holds a man and shelf on the wall.
And it’s all thanks to the innovative engineering. This new 2.7 V6 diesel engine produces 435Nm of torque, accelerates from 0-62 in 7.8 seconds and has a top speed of 141mpg. The kick down is amazing; it kind of waits a millisecond as if it’s saying to you “ are you sure? And then it goes. Wow!
The XJ already has the benefit of being constructed with a light weight aluminum monocoque structure making it a light car which in turn means faster acceleration, shorter stopping distance, frugal fuel consumption as well as improved stiffness and safety performance compared to traditional style body. So the customer will relish in the exceptional ride and handling gas well as being extremely quite and safe.
Now, by adding a 2.7 twin turbo diesel to the XJ the benefits quadruple. The driver enjoys precise handling and exceptional refinement. Fuel economy is a staggering 35mpg combine, while the CO2 is 214g/km making that 29% Benefit in Kind hence the lowest company car tax bill of any car in the luxury sector. Costing £43,995 on the road for the entry level Executive, it beats its nearest rival of £48,000. Never has there been a better time to invest in a Jaguar.
I was driving the Sovereign standing in at £49,995 but worth every penny with Cruise Control, air-damped suspension, Dynamic Stability control, and Jaguar’s advanced safety system: Adaptive Restraint Technology System keeping me safe. The running costs of the Jaguar have been reduced thanks to increased service intervals of 15,000 miles or one year resulting in a 7% saving in routine maintenance over 5 years, lower wear and tear costs than its nearest rivals and best in its class insurance group of 15E.
When a car manufacture introduces new engine to its range, it invariable brings new improvements in other areas and the XJ 2.7 diesel sees the introduction of acoustic laminated glass that reduces wind noise and engine noise by up to 5 decibels. Jaguar is also the first manufacturer to feature a bonnet liner with integrated side seals that further improve noise levels in the cabin.
New technology features now adorn the XJ 2.7: The optional Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, and Automatic Speed Limiter - just as well on the Portuguese “empty” roads we were testing this on, Adaptive Cruise Control, the Bluetooth as seen on the X- type, an uprated braking system with a digger disc, a Catalysed Diesel Particulate Filter to meet Euro IV Emissions, new alloy wheels and two new exterior colours, Winter Gold and Indigo. But the British Racing Green is still the best.