Fuel station forecourt

Supermarket fuel prices have risen EVERY DAY since March

Fuel station forecourtSupermarkets are currently on their longest unbroken run of fuel price rises in three and a half years, with the cost at the pumps going up by 8p per litre since the end of March.

RAC Fuel Watch claims this represents a price rise every single day since 26 March 2018.

It’s taken a litre of unleaded at the big four supermarkets up from 116.6p per litre to 124.7p per litre. Diesel has gone up from 119.3p per litre to 127.6p. UK average fuel prices are even higher; petrol has risen to 128.2p a litre and diesel to 131.1p.

“This is the worst series of consecutive daily supermarket price rises we have seen since we began monitoring this three and a half years ago,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.

“The supermarkets are being very quick to pass on increases in the wholesale price of fuel brought about by a 17 percent rise in the price of oil to above $80.” Sadly, he added, “they are far faster at passing on rises in the wholesale price than they are falls.”

Price rises are being influenced by a spike in the price of a barrel of oil, to over $80. The pound is currently week against the dollar.

British supermarkets only operate 18 percent of UK forecourts, but their scale means they actually sell 45 percent of fuel.

New UK high fuel price looming?

Further pain could be in store, warned Williams, because of the weakness of the pound. If oil were to rise to $90, and the pound remain weak at $1.33, then the price of unleaded would rise to 137p a litre.

“If it were to reach $100 a barrel with the current exchange rate, we would likely see a new UK petrol price high of 143p a litre – clearly something none of us want.

“In either scenario, the impact on private motorists and businesses in the UK would be substantial.” It shows just how influential the price of sterling is on UK fuel prices, said Williams.

The last time oil rose to $100 a barrel, the pound was 20 percent stronger, at $1.67. This helped cap forecourt prices to 129p a litre for petrol and 133p for diesel.

The outlook is already bleak for the next few weeks, with another penny expected to be added to petrol and diesel prices. “All we can do his hope the international forces which have caused the oil price to rise ease and take the heat out of prices on the forecourt.”   

BMW M3 CS

MR week in review: falling in love with the latest BMW M3 at last

BMW M3 CS

Cast your mind back to 2014 and you might recall that the first versions of the F80 BMW M3 were met with a degree of confusion and concern from those that drove it. Unlike previous iterations of the M3, some found the handling to be too unpredictable at the limit, whilst the new turbocharged engine couldn’t match the high-revving zing of the previous V8-powered car. 

So with the model set to serve as the final edition of the current M3, BMW has worked hard to make the CS version a fitting celebration of M car abilities. From harder looks, to more power, and revised suspension settings the M3 CS gets a comprehensive overhaul. Have the changes worked? Read our review to find out.

This week we’ve also delved into the latest news, got the lowdown on a special ‘One-Off’ Ferrari, chatted with Mike Brewer of Wheeler Dealers fame, and found some bargain Bentleys to buy.

Car News

Ferrari SP38 One Off 

This is the Ferrari SP38, the latest creation under the Maranello firm’s One-Off bespoke build programme. Based on the 488 GTB, styling inspiration comes from a number of past Ferrari models, including the 308 GTB, and even the legendary F40.

Reviews

BMW M3 CS

2018 BMW M3 CS – First, and final, drive
The F80 M3 might only be four years old, but fuel economy regulations are killing if off early. Does the special edition CS give the current M3 a fitting send-off though?

Features and opinion

Lister Historics at Brooklands

Big cats in the wild – three extreme Listers at auction
The latest F-Type based Thunder supercar is garnering considerable attention, but it was classic Lister models under the hammer last weekend. How did this three fare?

Mike Brewer Wheeler Dealers

Meeting Mike Brewer
With Discovery’s Wheeler Dealers now into a 15th series, we caught up with show star Mike Brewer to see what is in store. From tips on how best to buy a classic car, to working with Ant Anstead, it’s all here.

The UK’s cheapest cars to service

Cheapest cars to service – and the most expensive
Servicing a car might be easy to ignore, but it is vital to keeping things running smoothly. Research by Servicing Stop has identified the ten cheapest cars to service. And the most costly.

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

Bargain Bentley buys
Often the standard purchase of any new Premiership footballer, owning a Bentley might be more affordable than you think. From less than £7,000, there could be a used Bentley for all.

 

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McLaren 570S Spider

McLaren Automotive has now built 15,000 supercars

McLaren 570S SpiderMcLaren Automotive only started building its first supercar seven years ago, but today, the British firm is celebrating the production of its 15,000th.

A Curacao Blue 570S Spider is the landmark car, built less than 18 months since McLaren put the finishing touches its 10,000th car. That’s what happens when you add a second shift, which it did in 2016, doubling production from 10 cars a day to 20.

Nine in 10 new McLarens are exported overseas, and the firm sells in more than 30 markets.

Reaching 15,000 cars built is a significant milestone,” said McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt. It shows “how demand and production have increased”. The Sports Series has been pivotal to delivering this growth, with the 570S Spider now the most popular car of the range.

The rapid growth of McLaren Automotive saw the firm set yet another sales record in 2017: it made 3,340 supercars. Two-thirds of them were Sports Series, and the rest were Super Series.

For 2018, an Ultimate Series model will again be joining the sales charts: indeed, production of the very first of 500 McLaren Sennas will be completed within days.  

It’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone at McLaren Automotive, added Flewitt. They should all “feel justifiably proud and part of this great team effort”.

AutoTrac

New classic car tracker will text you if your battery runs low

AutoTracA decade after it “revolutionised” the motorcycle security scene, AutoTrac is now taking on the classic car enthusiast market, with prices for the firm’s tracking device starting from £299.

Boasting high-level Thatcham Category 6 and Category 7 ratings, the device utilises GPS, GPRS and RF functions: this means both the Police and the AutoTrac monitoring team (which never sleeps or has a day off, says the firm) can very precisely locate a vehicle that’s been stolen.

This, it claims, can prove invaluable in issuing search warrants, due to the detailed location information.

The firm’s Bill Taylor said it was an “old hand at tracking stolen vehicles” and has currently recovered more than 800 stolen motorcycles through working with UK police forces.

But AutoTrac offers more than just ‘fit and forget’ tracking security for owners. Taylor reckons it will “enhance their experience” and add connected car-like features to old motors.

“An owner can see their vehicle’s location real-time on desktop or app, monitor battery voltage, view recent journeys and even download and share routes. On top of this, AutoTrac can even notify a next of kin if the unit detects a severe impact.”

The live battery voltage function will be particularly interesting to classic car owners – as will functionality that can be set  to text you when the voltage runs low. So, no more surprise flat batteries, the bane of retro car owners for years.

AutoTrac has its own battery, which lasts for 30 days at a time, so won’t be drawing power from the car itself.

The unit is the smallest currently on sale, adds Taylor: it’s priced from £299 and subscriptions start from £9.99 a month – “with unlimited calls, texts and emails”.

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

Right now, there are around a thousand Bentleys for sale on Auto Trader, with prices ranging from £6,500 to £290,000. You can thank Premier League footballers for the number of Continental GTs available to buy, but what if you’re not a six-figure earner? We’ve created a list of bargain used Bentleys, some of which you can buy for less than £10,000.

Bentley Eight: £6,495

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

This is the cheapest Bentley for sale on Auto Trader, which is rather apt given that it was the company’s entry-level model. At first glance it might look like the more expensive Mulsanne, but the Eight is set apart by its slotted grille, steel wheels and cloth upholstery. Not that the original owner was prepared to sacrifice a few luxuries, adding alloy wheels and leather seats, presumably when new. This 1986 example has been off the road since 2015, but the vendor claims that it “purrs at speed”.

Bentley Brooklands: £9,450

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

For what it’s worth, this is the second cheapest Bentley on Auto Trader: a 1996 Brooklands, powered by the same 6.75-litre V8 Rolls-Royce engine. As a 1996 car, this example benefits from the light-pressure turbo, boosting the power output to 300hp, enabling it to sprint to 60mph in just 7.9 seconds. The MOT expired in February, and the ABS light is on, but this chunk of old Britannia could be yours for £9,450.

Bentley T2: £10,990

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

If the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is a bit ‘end of the pier’ for your liking, the Bentley T-Series is a more elegant affair. Bizarrely, the Bentley and Rolls-Royce were priced identically, meaning more buyers opted for the Spirit of Ecstacy rather than the Flying B. This T2 was registered in 1977, but the MOT history can only be traced as far back as 2016. If it’s good enough for James May…

Bentley Continental GT: £19,990

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

If the thought of a £10k Bentley is sending you off in search of the safety of a PCP deal on a new supermini, how about a £20k Continental GT? Launched in 2003, the GT was based on the Volkswagen Phaeton but built in Crewe, with Bentley charging a six-figure sum for its new model. This is an early example, but it has worn its 96,000 miles extremely well.

Bentley Arnage: £20,450

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

OK, so the Continental GT might be a bit ‘footballist’ for some people, but the Arnage retains a certain charm and elegance. As the sister ‘ship’ to the Rolls-Royce Seraph, the Arnage was initially powered by a BMW-sourced 4.4-litre V8, before the VW takeover saw it replaced by a 6.75-litre unit. This is an early car, but with 39,000 miles on the clock, the 4.4-litre engine has hardly broken sweat.

Bentley Azure: £64,950

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

No, this Bentley Azure isn’t what you’d call cheap, but it represents better value than the Mk2 version, which will set you back upwards of £90,000. We like it because, subjectively, it’s nicer looking than the second-generation Azure, while the previous custodian owned it for 10 years. There are just 52,000 miles on the clock, and the 64 images would suggest that it has led a very easy life.

Bentley Turbo R: £9,990

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

It’s not often you see a red Bentley, let alone one with a price tag below £10k. The Turbo R arrived in 1985 as a replacement for the Mulsanne Turbo, with the fitment of Bosch fuel-injection adding 30hp to the total output. This 1990 example has 62,000 miles on the clock and is said to have “an amazing history”.

Bentley Series I: £22,500

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

This Series I is the oldest Bentley for sale on Auto Trader. In reality, it’s little more than a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud with a Bentley badge, not that this is necessarily a negative point. Indeed, Bentley outsold Rolls-Royce, making the Series I easier to source. This 1956 example is up for £22,500 and has a mere 52,000 miles on the clock. Buy now and enjoy a summer of wafting along to classic car shows.

Bentley Mulsanne: £9,995

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

With 140,000 miles on the clock, somebody has spent an awful lot of money on fuel over the Mulsanne’s lifetime, but what a way to travel. The seller claims that the 1992 example “attracts a lot of attention”, which isn’t hard to believe when you consider the size of the thing and the gold paintwork. Yours for £9,995, which includes the private plate.

Bentley Mulsanne: £11,995

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

We had a second £10k Mulsanne lined up for this slot, but somebody snapped it up before we could complete the gallery, which suggests that bargain Bentleys don’t hang around for long. This one is a little more expensive, but the seller claims that it’s one of 17 right-hand drive Mulsanne S LWB models. The fact that the registration mark doesn’t reveal any MOT history would suggest that it might have returned to its original G-plate.

Bentley Arnage: £18,000

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

If you fancy a change of career, this Bentley Arnage Red Label has been used as a bridal car by the vendor and has around 60,000 miles on the clock. The last service was completed in 2017 at a cost of £2,000, while the spec includes electric rear seats, parking sensors, soft-close boot lid, satellite navigation and an original Bentley umbrella. All of which means you’ll have no trouble finding the church and you can even escort the bride under an umbrella when you get there.

Bentley Bentayga: £123,990

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

A bargain? Perhaps not, but it’s interesting to see the prices of used Bentaygas on Auto Trader. New, you’d spend upwards of £135,800 on a Bentley SUV, but few cars will leave Crewe as standard. Indeed, this Bentayga left the factory with a few tasty extras, including the brilliant W12 engine – a £30,000 option when new. All of a sudden, that £124,000 price tag looks a little more reasonable.

Bentley Turbo R: £18,000

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

If you can’t stand the thought, let alone the look, of the Bentayga, this 1989 Bentley Turbo R will be a tonic. It has just 37,000 miles on the clock, which will explain why it is one of the more expensive Turbo Rs for sale on Auto Trader. The MOT history is a bit patchy – there’s a mileage anomaly in 2007, followed by a gap of four years – but the seller says it has the certificates to substantiate the mileage.

Bentley Flying Spur: £18,999

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

This strikes us as an awful lot of car for the money, and the figures below the advert description make for interesting reading. A top speed of 199mph, a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds, CO2 emissions of 495/gkm, and average fuel economy of 19.2mpg, to name just four. Brave pills and deep pockets might be required.

Bentley T2: £14,995

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

Brewster Green: arguably one of the most quintessentially British paint colours ever created. It lends this T2 an air of sophistication, shifting it away from a wedding car or faded 70s entertainer vibe. The number plate says it all: ‘WOW’.

Bentley Arnage: £17,995

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

This Bentley Arnage screams wedding car, but look on the bright side: at least you’ll be able to generate some extra income to pay for the fuel bills.

Bentley Continental GT: £21,500

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

When new, somebody would have paid £110,000 plus options for this Bentley Continental GT, but 14 years on it’s available for the price of a Ford Mondeo ST-Line. Sure, the Mondeo would be the sensible option, but this 6.0-litre Bentley would be more fun.

Bentley Brooklands: £20,000

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

The advert for this Bentley Brooklands contains a number of cliches: “must be seen”, “one of the best examples out there” and “collector’s dream” are all present and correct. Sadly, the seller stopped short of saying “first to see will buy”. Yours for £20,000.

Bentley Continental GT: £19,999

Bargain used Bentleys you can buy now

“Please do not mistake this car for a standard model, the first owners paid over £150,000 for it as they chose almost every available extra,” says the seller. The list of options is very, very impressive. Combine this with the low mileage and the price tag, and we reckon it’s the most tempting proposition of all the Bentleys featured here. As always, inclusion doesn’t represent an endorsement, so please do your homework before parting with your cash.

Read more:

Upgraded 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford makes the new 2019 F-150 Raptor pick-up even better

Upgraded 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Whilst the Ford F-150 Raptor is already instantly recognisable for its impressive off-road performance ability, Ford is making it even better for the 2019 iteration.

Key to the changes are the addition of new electronically-controlled suspension shock absorbers supplied by Fox Racing. The all-new 3.0 dampers feature Live Valve technology, and an array of special sensors throughout the body and suspension.

It all sounds rather geeky for a performance pick-up, but the end result is shock absorbers able to react to the terrain conditions in real-time. This means it can perform better on the road, and also maximise ability off the beaten track. The sensors can even detect when the Raptor is in mid-air, and prime the shock absorbers for landing.

Also new is a Trail Control feature, which Ford describes as working like a low-speed version of cruise control. Operating from speeds of 1mph up to 20mph, the system juggles torque between individual wheels, and even applies the brakes. This keep the Raptor moving at the set speed, and lets the driver concentrate solely on steering through difficult terrain.

Unchanged is the 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine, producing the same 450hp and 510lb-ft of torque. Also staying the same is the ten-speed automatic gearbox.

Ford has also introduced three new colours for the 2019 model year Raptor. Ford Performance Blue, Agate Black, and Velocity Blue are the new additions – perfect as a background for the inevitable mud and dirt spatters a Raptor deserves.

Upgraded 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Upgraded Recaro sports seats are also new, claimed to feature ‘aggressive’ support with better bolstering. A design with blue Alcantara trim and stitching is said to have been inspired by the interior found in the GT supercar.

The revised Raptor is set to be built at Ford’s Dearborn plant in Michigan, with sales beginning later in 2018. Just not for the UK though…

Mercedes Me Adapter for older cars

New adapter brings connected services to older Mercedes models

Mercedes Me Adapter for older carsWith the pace of development of in-car technology accelerating exponentially, it is easy for drivers of older models to feel left out. 

Even those with relatively new cars can still miss out on the latest upgrades, but Mercedes-Benz is helping out those with models stretching all the way back to 2002.

Once fitted, the Mercedes me Adapter allows a connection with a specific app on the drivers smartphone. New Mercedes-Benz cars come with this connectivity as standard, but adding the adapter allows access to a range of functions for older vehicles, too.

Although not quite the full suite of functions available to the newest Mercedes models, the adapter still allows drivers to a range of information. This includes details on recent journeys, checking fuel levels and range, finding out when a service is next due, and even locating where you parked your Benz.

The smartphone app also allows drivers to book in their next service, and access relevant phone numbers and contact details in the event of a breakdown or accident.

Owners can use the Mercedes-Benz website to check if their vehicle is compatible with the adapter, and book a fitting with their local dealership. At present the cost of the adapter, and fitting by a dealership, is free-of-charge. 

Making older cars more connected is an emerging trend, with Volkswagen offering a free DataPlug to mimic the abilities of the expensive built-in Car-Net system. 

2018 Speedmachine Festival World Rallycross Championship

Why the Silverstone Speedmachine festival is the place to be this weekend

2018 Speedmachine Festival World Rallycross Championship

If your plans for the Bank Holiday weekend are presently limited to cleaning the decking or painting the fence, the inaugural Speedmachine festival might offer more excitement.

Designed to coincide with the British round of the 2018 World Rallycross Championship, Speedmachine will bring together motorsport, music, food, and more in a weekend-long event.

Why should I care about Rallycross?

2018 Speedmachine Festival World Rallycross Championship

Rallycross is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport at present, attracting big-name drivers and major manufacturers. This weekend’s event at Silverstone is the first time the FIA World Rallycross Championship has come to the ‘home of British motorsport’. It also marks the inaugural race in the newly formed Americas Rallycross Championship.

Much of the appeal for rallycross comes from the fact it is centred on maximising spectator excitement. Pitting groups of cars with over 500hp and 4WD against each other, on mixed surface circuits, guarantees close racing and spectacular driving. Contact between cars is frequent, and you can expect more overtakes than an entire season of Formula One. 

Will I know any of the drivers?

If you follow the World Rally Championship you’ll probably have heard of a certain Sebastien Loeb. Having won nine WRC titles, he’s now terrorising rallycross circuits with his factory-prepared Peugeot 208 supercar. Petter Solberg – the 2003 WRC winner – is another big name driver, whilst Andrew Jordan will be name familiar to fans of the British Touring Car Championship.

The inclusion of the Americas Rallycross Championship adds a Stateside flavour. Volkswagen Andretti Racing drivers Tanner Foust, who presented the USA version of Top Gear, and Scott Speed who raced for Toro Rosso in Formula One, will both be present.

Is there anything other than World Rallycross to see?

Prodrive

Indeed there is. Speedmachine will feature displays throughout the weekend of awe-inspiring Group B rally cars, like the Audi Quattro and Ford RS200. There will also be tyre-shredding demonstrations from the Monster Energy drift show, plus retro American muscle cars and modern supercars.

Prodrive, builder of legendary race and rally cars, will be bringing along more than ten cars. We recently had the chance to check out this amazing collection, including WRC cars used by Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

Can I get involved in the action?

Yes, actually you can. Although not in a 560hp rallycross machine, but behind the wheel of the latest Renault Megane R.S. Bring your driving licence, and you’ll have the opportunity to drive the new 280hp hot hatch on the legendary Silverstone F1 circuit.

Volkswagen will also be offering passenger rides in the 310hp Golf R, Jaguar will let you experience drifting action in an F-Type, and there’s also karting and radio-controlled buggies to take control of.

What about the music?

The organisers of Speedmachine have attracted several big names for their main stage. Dizzee Rascal, Basement Jaxx, Razorlight, Lethal Bizzle, and Killa Kela will all be offering up live sets throughout the weekend.

Do I need a picnic?2018 Speedmachine Festival World Rallycross Championship

Leave your tartan blanket in the car, as the festival is said to have attracted the ‘finest street food’ from around the world. The Speedmachine website lists 25 different vendors, with offerings ranging from burgers and hotdogs, through to luxury flapjacks and waffles.

When, where, and how much?

2018 Speedmachine Festival World Rallycross Championship

Gates open on Friday, and the action continues all the way through until Sunday night. All parts of the festival are taking place within the confines of the Silverstone racing circuit in Northamptonshire.

Tickets will be available on the gate, should you make a last-minute decision to attend. Prices range from £35 on Friday, to £70 on Saturday and Sunday. A weekend pass can be had for £125, and camping is also available should not feel like driving home afterwards.

Even if you can’t make the trip to Silverstone this weekend, highlights of the action from the World Rallycross Championship will be aired by Channel 4.

2018 Ford Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang is greener and noisier

2018 Ford MustangThe 2018 Ford Mustang is now available to order in the UK from £36,645, with upgrades including the addition of an Active Exhaust for 2.3-litre Ecoboost models, and a powerful 1,000-Watt, 12-speaker B&O Play audio option for all models. 

The model year updates for the world’s best-selling coupe also include homologating both 2.3-litre four-cylinder and 5.0-litre V8 engines to the latest WLTP fuel economy standards. This has resulted in a slight dip in power for the Ecoboost engine – it now produces 290hp – but it is more efficient as a result. 

That’s despite the on-paper figures not reflecting this: 31.4mpg and 199g/km CO2 are little changed over before. Ford Mustang UK product manager Chris Rushton told Motoring Research the car is more fuel-efficient in real-world use, despite the stricter fuel economy tests not reflecting this.

Not that fuel economy will be foremost in the minds of Ecoboost buyers, who can now get the Active Exhaust already offered on the V8 GT. This is louder and rumblier, giving the smaller engine some of the aural impact it previously lacked. 

The V8, meanwhile, gains quad exhaust tail pipes; all Mustangs feature revised daytime running light LEDs and two new colour choices, Velocity Blue and Need for Green. There are more ‘Custom Pack’ options as well, so Mustang buyers can better tailor their cars. 

A sophisticated 10-speed automatic gearbox is offered, as is MagneRide adaptive suspension, and Ford’s added an extra setting to the adjustable Drive Modes button, called ‘Drag Mode’. This holds onto the brake pedal for optimised standing starts: a partnership between Ford and the UK’s Santa Pod Raceway helped showcase this…

2018 Ford Mustang

Prices for the new Mustang start from £36,645 for the 2.3-litre Ecoboost, and £41,745 for the 5.0-litre V8 GT. And it’s not all about being loud and noisy, adds Ford: those worried about neighbourly relations can now make use of the ‘quiet mode’ for the Active Exhaust, which will keep noise levels down to a minimum for when you’re leaving early in the morning. The 2018 Mustang is thus greener and noisier, but quieter too. 

2019 BMW X5

New 2019 BMW X5 SUV teased during testing

2019 BMW X5The new BMW X5 will be revealed later this year and as part of the build-up, BMW has released images of a disguised model undergoing testing.

This is very much a first tease, rather than a detailed tech preview. All BMW’s saying is that it’s undergoing testing across the world, at locations including the Nürburgring, the polar circle, the USA, South Africa and various other locations.

With the fourth-generation model, says BMW, “the car’s all-round talents are brought to the fore as prominently as never before,” thanks to new suspension and chassis systems. These “are available for the first time in a BMW X model and are virtually unique within the competitive field”.

Details will follow, but BMW does say the new offroad package offers a combination of fine road comfort and optimum off-road configurability “at the press of a button”. The new X5 will also feature Adaptive M Suspension Professional and Integral Active Steering for the first time.

The heavily disguised images show a car that seems larger than the outgoing model, with a more squared-off rear end, presumably to liberate more space for rear passengers – particularly those in the third row. 

2019 BMW X5

An enlarged and hexagonal front grille – possibly similar to that on the striking new BMW X7 – is visible at the front, as is a contoured bonnet and the latest style of BMW daytime running light LEDs within the headlights.

What else do you see? Let us know – and if you can’t see much more than us, don’t worry. BMW’s now in preview mode so it won’t be long before more of the new X5 is slowly uncovered…