Back in 2008, I was able to review Volvo’s then-new XC70 T6 AWD. I found its 281 HP to provide plenty of power, while the crossover wagon cosseted occupants with plenty of comfort, space, and luxury features. In the time since that review, revisions to the powerplant’s tuning have bumped power of the standard T6 AWD to 300 HP. For 2012, Volvo has partnered with tuner Polestar Performance to offer ECU upgrades for some models. In the case of the XC70, the sportier ECU bumps power output to 325 HP.
For reasons I can’t understand, small luxury crossover vehicles are very popular in North America. European manufacturers have all but stopped importing wagons to our shores, instead choosing to send us crossover vehicles with higher centers of gravity, less efficient engines, and higher profit margins. Audi’s entry in this segment is the Q5.
I seldom read the press releases anymore that automakers and their media consultants dump into my inbox by the hundreds each week. Time is too scarce for me to spend absorbing all the minutae of sales figures, new trim levels, and strategic social media partnerships that fill my Autosavant inbox. That said, when I saw the subject line reading “2013 BMW ALPINA B7 super-high performance luxury sedan…” I had to open the message.
Way back in 2009, I was fortunate to spend a week in the then-new Jaguar XF sedan. The XF broke new stylistic ground for Jaguar, pulling the company out of a rut of quad-headlamp sedan sameness that they’d been in, literally, for decades. Back then, I thought the XF looked awesome and drove even better.
I’m long overdue for an update on the Long Term Flex Limited EcoBoost. Purchased in September 2011, the first update happened after 3 months and 3000 miles had elapsed. In the last update I talked about wanting to add better all-weather interior mats and a roof rack to facilitate carrying bikes and other loads. I addressed mats in the cargo area by purchasing a$70 Husky Liner for the well under/behind the third row seats. As we tend to travel with the third row seats deployed, that well is where our cargo ends up a majority of the time. When the third row is stowed for carrying larger loads that might be dirty or damage the carpeting, we use an auto blanket to protect the interior to avoid the nuisance of needing to remove a rigid cargo protector. The low-pile carpeting Ford specced for that cargo area grows fuzzy with vigorous vacuuming, so preventing it from getting dirty is important.