All posts by Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington writes all over the internet about cars. He was (probably accidentally) interviewed to be the host of the next Top Gear USA.

Interactive BMW Vision iNext Concept to Grace CES in 2019

The Consumer Electronic’s Show, or CES, happens in Las Vegas every year, and it’s the place to be for anyone interested in the new year’s electronics, cars and everything in between.

This coming year, BMW is planning to premiere a new concept that everyone is excited about. Let’s take a closer look at the new Vision iNext Concept that will grace the stage at 2019’s CES.

Introducing the Vision iNext Concept

Image via BMW Group Press

BMW has always been a brand that is synonymous with innovation and technological advances. They’re taking this label to the next level in the coming year with their iNext concept. The idea is to turn this BMW SUV into a ‘living space on wheels’ — creating a vehicle that gives you all the comforts of home so that you enjoy getting behind the wheel.

This concept will have a fully electric drivetrain and advanced autonomous driving programming. The driver has two options for their seat and the surrounding area. Boost mode gives the driver full control, with the steering wheel and other controls in easy reach.

When the autonomous driving program is engaged, the driver can switch to Ease mode, which retracts the steering wheel slightly, giving them more room to get comfortable. It’s easy to switch seamlessly between the two modes, depending on the needs of the driver.

Bells and Whistles

Image via BMW Group Press

The Vision iNext will have all the bells and whistles, but you might not see them at first glance. All the smart technology will be integrated into the car, only appearing when needed by the driver or passengers.

This setup creates a much cleaner interior, and you’ll never have to worry about accidentally smacking a smart screen or catching your sleeve on something when you’re shifting position.

The driver will also have access to two digital screens that convey everything from speed and RPMs to the proximity of other cars. This interactive glass technology will help to keep the driver aware of everything going on outside of their vehicle.

This technology has started appearing in modern cars in the form of a Heads Up Display, or HUD, which moves information like speed and fuel levels from the dash, where it’s below eye level, to the windshield — without obscuring the driver’s view of the road.

Take It for a Test Drive

While you won’t be able to get behind the wheel of the Vision iNext at 2019’s CES, that doesn’t mean you can’t take it for a test drive. Putting on a set of VR glasses, you’ll be able to test out the vehicle’s capabilities.

Starting with driving the car, then utilizing BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, you can put the car in Ease mode and let the AI plan your trip for you.

The Vision iNext won’t be the only fantastic piece of automotive technology on the floor at CES 2019, but it’s one that we’re excited to see. This concept likely won’t premiere at BMW dealerships until 2020 at the earliest, but the first look has us ready to line up for a chance to get behind the wheel.

What Will 2019 Look Like for BMW?

If you’re looking for innovation in the automotive industry for the coming model year, you usually don’t have to look any further than BMW’s new lineup. This automotive giant is always looking for ways to improve their existing models or create something the world has never seen before. Let’s take a closer look at what the future is looking like for BMW in 2019.

Already Released

A few models are already on the market, which is just the tip of the iceberg since BMW is planning on launching an astonishing 20 new models in the next two years alone. The already-released vehicles include:

  • 8-Series Coupe: First on the block is the new 8-Series Coupe. This sleek beauty will have all the bells and whistles, from a comfortable interior and full entertainment center to a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine under the hood that generates 523 horsepower. This is the first time we’ve seen an 8-series car in nearly 20 years, and it will burn a $112,000 hole in your pocket.
  • X5 SUV: The first entirely new model BMW has released is the X5 SUV. This is the 4th generation of the X5 and will have two engine options: a turbo V6 or a V8, depending on your needs. It’s also been changed to use BMW’s CLAR (Cluster Architecture) system, which incorporates carbon fiber, steel and aluminum in the body of the vehicle and works with an electric drivetrain and plug-in hybrid engine styles.

Upcoming

While you can find the Coupe and SUV models on the showroom floor of your local BMW dealership, we’re most excited about the new ones, which include:

  • The Z4: The first new model that should be coming out soon is a two-seater sports car that has been dubbed the Z4. It shares a chassis with the Toyota Supra but will be equipped with a 3.0L twin-turbo straight six engine. While we don’t have any specifics on the exact output of this straight six engine, it’s estimated that it will generate somewhere between 360 and 380 horsepower.
  • The Upgraded X1: The now three-year-old X1 is also getting a makeover in the upcoming year, both inside and out. The exterior is being reworked slightly with changes to the front and rear fascia. The interior will now come equipped with BMW’s infotainment system. The engine options will also be somewhat different to help improve gas mileage and emissions.
  • The X2: The M35i is also getting an upgrade with the new X2 model. With a turbo 4-cylinder engine, it’s expected to be able to do zero to 60 in less than five seconds with a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

This is just a small sample of the dozen or more new and upgraded models that are expected to hit the showroom floor in the next two years.

Industry Trends

As usual, BMW is also at the leading edge of exciting industry trends like electric cars. The automotive giant is planning to mass-produce electric vehicles by 2020, a full two years ahead of Mercedes.

Advances in window tint and film are making BMWs even more comfortable than they already are. Some newer styles can block up to 92 percent of UV light and come completely clear, making it possible to apply them to the front windshield and the windows.

The next two years are looking bright for BMW — we can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

So You Want to Start an Auto Repair Business: Six Things to Know First

If you’ve spent endless summers or weekends turning wrenches in your garage, it might seem like the next logical step to turn your hobby into a business where you can earn money. While this can be a worthwhile endeavor, here are six things you should be aware of before you sign the lease on your shop and turn on the lights.

1. Licensing and Regulations

Anytime you open a business, you will need to obtain a business license and a tax identification number (TIN). You also have to familiarize yourself with some regulations, from employee safety to the disposable of hazardous materials, before you can open your doors. Not dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s can lead to costly fines that may even shut down your business before you get it off the ground.

2. Certifications

While Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications aren’t a requirement to open a shop or even work in one, customers feel a lot better about leaving their car in your hands if they see that blue gear logo on your wall or the lapel of your shop clothes. You can take a few different tests depending on your shop’s specialization, from general automobile repair to heavy engine repair on trucks or busses.

3. Start-Up Costs

In 2013, the start-up cost for an automotive repair shop was roughly $48,000. This includes things like renting a shop, purchasing equipment and paying for insurance, to name a few. It’s hard to repair cars with no tools and nowhere to do it, after all. Keep those start-up costs in mind, especially if you’re planning to secure a business loan to cover them.

4. Specializations

Are you planning to open your doors to all makes and models, or are you planning on specializing in a single brand of car, such as BMWs? You might lose out on some business opportunities if you choose the latter, but it can be lucrative depending on the types of vehicles people in your area own.

If you do want a specific brand to work on, make sure you look into any specializations you will need to acquire to become a certified specialist.

5. Contractors

They say that no man is an island — and no auto repair shop is either. You will need some help from outside contractors that might include but aren’t limited to:

· Lawyer: To help you dot all those I’s and cross all those T’s that we mentioned earlier

· Accountant: To help you keep track of the books

· Certified Garage Door Repair Technician: Because there’s no point in having a garage if the door won’t open — choose a certified technician to make sure that the job is done right the first time

· Equipment Repair Technician: Since you probably won’t have a hydraulic lift or compressor specialist on staff

The services these individuals provide will cost money, so make sure you include that in your initial calculations, so you’re not caught flat-footed.

6. Marketing

No one likes thinking about marketing, but word-of-mouth will only carry you so far when you’re opening a new business. If you don’t have any marketing skills, invest in the assistance of a professional to help customers can find you. Providing excellent service can encourage word of mouth, but you only get the chance to repair cars if drivers can find you in the first place.

Opening an auto repair shop isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it does take some preparation to make sure everything is done right. Taking that time to prepare will mean the difference between a shop that is successful and one that closes it’s door before its first year is over.