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Double delight at ATL Autobahn

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 28, 2019

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IT was double the pleasure for automotive lovers at ATL Automotive's state-of-the-art showroom in St Andrew last Friday. The dealership, under its ATL Autobahn banner, launched two iconic vehicles: the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i and the MINI 60 Years Limited Edition.

ATL Autobahn is the division of the ATL Automotive Group responsible for the BMW/MINI brands.

“For me, I love the lines, the aggressive stance of the car and again BMW is making a statement they're here to win. Certainly, BMW is the number one selling premium brand in Jamaica by far,” Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of Sandals/ATL Group, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

The new Z4 is the third generation of the company's sporty roadster, first brought to market in 2002. The current car sees several key upgrades and a more prominent role as a two-door sports convertible as there will be no coupé or retractable hard-top versions.

Underneath the attractive modern styling, the Z4 is pure bred to BMW's ethos of being the ultimate driving machine with a chassis and drivetrain package that allows it to lap the world famous Nurburgring quicker than the more hardcore BMW M2. It's able to do this through near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a lower weight than the outgoing model. Driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission is a turbocharged 3-litre straight six cylinder motor outputting 382bhp and 369lb/ft of torque. The end result is the 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and a 250km/h top speed. Yet it is able to return up to 39.8mpg in the combined fuel cycle. Adaptive dampers, multi-link rear suspension, and a host of electronic driving aids raise the fun factor.

The Z4 is filled with the technology and luxury befitting a BMW model such as BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Occupants now have the option to activate the system with the words: “Hey BMW”. From there, the Personal Assistant is able to operate certain vehicle functions via speech.

Of course, the big pull of the new car is its ability to provide an open-top driving experience. The Z4 can drop its soft-top roof in 10 seconds at a standstill or up to speeds of 50km/h.

A two-litre turbocharged version and a manual are scheduled to be released later in the vehicle's life cycle. The San Francisco Red Z4 M40i at the launch was listed at $21,300,000.

Stewart lauded ATL Autobahn and its team for their efforts in keeping Jamaica on top of the automotive curve, as both vehicles represent the first of their kind in the island and the region.

“ATL is operating with a particular standard in mind that whatever we do must materially change the status quo of Jamaica. If we're going to be in the car business, if we're going to build a BMW showroom, it has be materially different. Jamaica needs to feel it, and see it with their eyes. They need to feel that emotional connection with our staff, or team, and the brand BMW,” Stewart said.

For MINI, the brand has been growing and the 60 Years Limited Edition is part of that increase in market awareness.

“It's a collector's item, first of all and it's celebrating 60 years since MINI has launched itself as a brand. It started out in 1959 and has a great heritage, including the John Cooper Works heritage as giant slayer especially in the British Touring Car Championship,” said Sloane Jackson, head of business, ATL Autobahn.

Based on the 1.3-litre turbocharged model, it has several additions only available as a 60 Years Limited Edition, such as the roof colour options and 60 Years badging across the bonnet and sides scuttles. Even the normal MINI puddle lights now project the 60 Years logo onto the ground when the front doors are open. The wheel design and tyres are also model-specific. Inside, the 60 Years branding continues on the door entry strips. The seats are a throwback to those designed for the original mini and are branded as well.

“MINI is a very beloved brand in Jamaica. We're just coming off a record year for MINI in Jamaica, and I think that's why they made sure we had this 60 Years Limited Edition because they saw that MINI was reviving here. We could probably go back to the glory days when there were quite a few MINIs on the road, so we're expecting to go back to that and we're hoping that customers continue to come in and buy into what we're trying to do because we're not just selling them a car, we're selling them a whole lifestyle,” Jackson said.

The MINI 60 Years Limited Edition goes on sale with a limited pricing offer of $5,999,000.


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