Fleet News

Thinking CAP

Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.

Wednesday

Down to Toyota’s plant in Burniston, near Derby, to drive the all-new Land Cruiser V8 diesel, which replaces the Amazon.

This monster is huge, has seven seats and is powered by a 4.5-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel engine that produces 286bhp – 40% more than the Amazon.

The V8 has new suspension and ride height control, and a new chassis frame for increased strength and reduced noise and vibration.

The new Land Cruiser has lots more standard kit over the Amazon, including 20-inch alloys, adaptive suspension, traction control, four-zone-climate control and downhill assist control, but costs £56,000 – £7,000 more than the Amazon.

There will only be 500 in the UK this year and Toyota says that despite the price, they will all be sold before they get here.

While we were at the factory, Toyota showed us the Auris SR180 which replaces the T180, and looks as it should have done when it was launched.

It now has lowered suspension, privacy glass, everything is colour-coded, an imitation rear-diffuser and an exterior styling make-over – it is a whole lot better, and makes you wonder why it wasn’t done in the first place.

The SR180 is powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine which has loads of torque, is quiet and has more than enough power.

This Auris is now, at last, a real competitor to the Volkswagen Golf GT TDI, Megane RenaultSport dCi 175 and the Peugeot 308 GT HDi.

Friday

A few figures from the industry were invited to BMW’s headquarters in Bracknell to have a look at the new X6.

I had seen the official photographs and really thought it was either a publicity stunt or a concept car that would never see the light of day.

But when we saw it in the flesh, my first reaction was “What on Earth?”.

It is slightly larger than the X5, so a big thing – 4,877mm long, and costs around £2,000 more.

BMW describes it as a Sports Activity Coupé as it has a sloping rear roof-line, which has a dramatic effect on the styling, but reduces luggage space. It is a strict four-seater, as the centre rear does not have a seatbelt, but all four seats are very comfortable and luxurious.

The X6 has a more technically advanced 4x4 system over the X5 called Dynamic Performance Control – which was explained to us but I was lost halfway through.

Apparently, it “ensures unsurpassed levels of agility and stability, while the driver can keep an eye on proceedings via a schematic readout, allowing you to visualise just how your X6 delivers such a satisfying drive”.

So there you go, although I’m sure it will work perfectly.

After the initial shock, some could see the potential and the reason why BMW has created the X6, but others were not so sure.

It is different and will attract loads of attention.

If you want to be bold, stand out from the crowd and make a motoring statement, then form an orderly queue, as there will only be 2,500 coming to the UK per year.

The X6 goes on sale on May 31, with prices from £41,955.

It did grow on me as the day went on and I can now see the attraction.

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