Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

BMW 650i Gran Coupe sends luxury to new level

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Birchwood BMW sales rep Patrick Hasselmann describes the 2013 650i Gran Coupe as the most luxurious model that BMW has introduced in his more than 15 years in sales.

"This is the four-door version of the coupe," he said of the model that made its first appearance in the showroom just over a week ago. "With its new front end that accentuates its sleek design, this model is a little more elegant than its predecessors. Being lower to the ground, it has a more coupe-like silhouette."

The new model is also a little longer than the two-door coupe.

The 650i model currently in Birchwood BMW's showroom is powered by an eight-cylinder, twinpower turbo V8 engine that puts out 445 hp and 479 lb.-ft. of torque. Mileage-wise, you get 10.8L per 100 km. The eight-speed Sport Automatic transmission combines speed, flexibility, sportiness, and efficiency.

The model has xDrive AWD and actual adaptive LED headlights which are without parallel in its segment, Hasselmann noted.

One feature that sets the 650i apart from its other luxury competitors is that the model features a 4+1 seating configuration. That means you can fit three people in the back in case of emergency.

Other features that set the new car apart from its rivals are the BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services. The rear-view camera, Surround View, Parking Assistant, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, Lane Departure Warning System and Active Blind Spot Detection are among the available options.

The base price is $99,800 (plus freight and pdi). Readers who may be considering investing in a 650i Gran Coupe had better move quickly, though. They are being made in very limited quantities. There's just the one in the showroom and only one more is expected to arrive shortly.

However, there are plenty models to choose from in the new 2013 3-Series, which arrived at Birchwood BMW a couple of weeks earlier.

"The 3-Series, with AWD, is our top-selling model," Hasselmann said. "And the response thus far has been incredible."

Hasselmann said the new 3-Series has a more modern design than its predecessor and is longer, more fuel-efficient and more powerful. The biggest change, he notes, is the model's twin-power turbo four-cylinder engine which is more powerful than last year's six-cylinder model. The 2012 model put out 230 h.p. while the 2013 model produces 241 h.p. with a smaller engine.

"BMW has been going with four-cylinder engines in its 3-Series models in Europe for a number of years now," Hasselmann said. "They are cleaner and more fuel-efficient. BMW is an industry leader in reducing CO2 emissions.

The 3-Series is available in 328i and 335i versions. Standard features include a full-colour heads-up display, surround view to see around the vehicle, active cruise control with a stop-and-go function, lane change and departure warnings, blind-spot detection, and camera-based collision warning system.

Among the options are a Parking Assistant which scans available parking spaces when traveling at 22 m.p.h. or less. Once a spot is found, the car can steer itself into the space, with the driver managing the brakes and accelerator.

The base price for the 328 model is $46,200 (plus freight and pdi).

Gimli Ford dealer shows off expanded store

Gimli Auto, the resort town's 35-year-old Ford dealer, hosted a community barbecue on August 23 as part of the official unveiling of its newly-expanded facility.

Co-dealer principal Russell Einarson said a couple of hundred people came out for the evening, including Gimli mayor Lynn Greenberg and Gerald Wood, Ford of Canada's general manager for western Canada.

Gimli Auto's $1.5-million expansion was completed around the end of June. As well as complying with the new Ford Image standard, the expansion was done to combine the dealership's sales and service departments in the same building.

"We built here in 1977," Einarson said, "but our service centre remained at our original location across the road. Our customers tell us that they appreciate having everything under one roof now."

Work on the, 11,000-square-foot addition began last October. The addition was built behind and to the south of the current showroom.

Birchwood Kia West staff help clean up park

On Aug. 21, 11 Birchwood Kia West sales staff, family and friends devoted their day to removing debris and planting new trees in an area of Assiniboine Park damaged by flooding two years ago. The initiative was part of Kia Canada's 'Driving Change' program, a nation-wide campaign Kia Canada launched last year in communities across Canada.

"The Drive Change Day was important to the Kia West store employees largely because of the core values of the Birchwood Automotive Group", said Chad Storozuk, student intern at Birchwood Kia West, in an email. "We received an overwhelming voting response on our Facebook page, which shows that there are a great many people who are passionate about this issue in the local community."

The Birchwood Kia West volunteers were guided by City of Winnipeg's Naturalist Services Team staff who educated the volunteers on the importance of the city's ecological system.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2012 E8

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