We drove the Fiat 500 L: your perfect travel companion

The stylish 500 L in front of the Amphitheatre in Nîmes…

We were always quite charmed by the clever rounded shape and styling of the Fiat 500 L. Its curves and lines are drawn by Italian designers which have an uncanny genial talent to hit those ideal, timeless proportions. Indeed, this compact people carrier will still hit the tune of the times within say, fifteen or twenty years. It came to us this time with a restyled front end, clad in charming Donatello bronze metallic and a black gleaming roof which sported a large glass panorama ceiling. We took it on an extensive continental tour through France, and it filled our car loving hearts with joy, every meter we drove it…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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A feast for the senses: we visited BMW Artville in Knokke

BMW’s very first Art Car which also actually raced: the BMW 3.0 CSL created by Alexander Calder… 

Summer is the time to let the creative spirits flow, and enjoy nature and art. An ideal time to regenerate body and mind. Besides enjoying the outdoors, enriching experiences like a visit to exhibitions and art galleries are always firmly on the agenda of your servant. Therefore a visit to the BMW Artville in Knokke (see our previous report in these columns) was a must, and we let you enjoy it here…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Jan Fabre takes centre stage…

An “autoportrait”  sculpture of Jan Fabre himself adorns the BMW Artville beach…

As we announced already in our previous report, artist Jan Fabre showed a very intriguing “performance” film, displayed on five different screens simultaneously, titled “Schande übers ganze Erdenreich”. The performance of priestess Stella Höttler is very gripping indeed. For photos of this performance film we refer to our previous report in these columns. The two turtles she carries in both hands during her ecstatic performances are for Jan Fabre the “oracle stones” because their shields carry the weight and the memory of centuries. Especially the shield is an object of fascination that breathes life into dream images. The shield and its geometric patterns were already used in the Oracle of Delphi…

A landmark on the Knokke beach: BMW Artville 

In this performance, “Schande übers ganze Erdenreich”, the perforer implores the gods to teach mankind to treat the inheritance of the world more kindly.

Jan Fabre is fascinated by the relations man-animal and animal-man and by the analogy in their nomadic nature. As an artist, he wants to put into language the mystery of the cycle of death, decay, birth and renaissance. In this quest, he uses as his inner compass the synergy between his personal instinct, intelligence and intuition. He constantly searches the changing face of existence.

This is also seen in his series of fourteen new skulls, clad in ballpoint ink, which hold the skeletons of a bird or animal in their mouth. It evokes the “Blue Hour” of Jean-Henri Fabre, where at daybreak the blue night is chased away. Just as the night is eternally changed into day, life is also a constant stream of (re)birth and death.

‘BMW Artville – Jan Fabre curated by BOZAR’ announces two future projects of the artist in BOZAR. “Schande übers Ganze Erdenreich!” takes place in the framework of the Theodoor van Loon exhibition (December 2018-January 2019). The art works from the cycle “The Hour Blue” are the harbinger of Fabre’s solo exhibition “The years of the Hour Blue” (May-September 2021).

The BMW Art Car Collection

On BMW Artville, BMW Belux presents two cars from the BMW ART CAR Collection. We stood admiringly eye to eye with the BMW 3.0 CSL created by Alexander Calder (1975).

Alexander Calder’s design was executed by car painting specialist W. Maurer…

Using the creativity of an artist on a (racing) car was the brainchild of racing driver, art lover and auctioneer Hervé Poulain, who actually raced this car in Le Mans, together with the American Sam Posey and Jean Guichet. After 7 hours, the car had to give up due to a defective prop shaft. The car was never raced again and has been on diplay since then.

The unique collection of BMW Art Cars consists today of 19 cars, designed by the following artists: Alexander Calder (1975), Roy Lichtenstein (1976), Frank Stella (1977), Andy Warhol (1979), Ernst Fuchs (1982), Robert Rauschenberg (1986), Ken Done (1989), Michael Jagamara Nelson (1989), Matazo Kayama (1990), César Manrique (1990), A.R. Penck (1991), Esther Mahlangu (1991), Sandro Chia (1992), David Hockney (1995), Jenny Holzer (1999), Olafur Eliasson (2007), Jeff Koons (2010), John Baldessari (2016) en Cao Fei with her BMW M6 GT3.(2017). Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges.

According to Thomas Girst, who has been in charge of the BMW Art Cars project since 2004, the purpose of the project has changed over time: “In the beginning the cars were raced. There wasn’t much of a public relations effort around them… Since then, some of the Art Cars have been used in advertisements to show that BMW is a player in the arts.”

Besides the stunning i8 roadster, BMW Belux Corporate Communications Officer Saschia De Rudder kindly showed us two forthcoming BMW models in preview, which formed also a highlight of this artful experience on the sunny Knokke beach and stylish BMW Artville premises… We just let you enjoy the photos here!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

 

120 years of Renault is celebrated this summer at Brussels Autoworld.

If you visit Brussels this summer, know that Europe’s capital has something in store for car lovers. Indeed, the Brussels Museum Autoworld has opened its doors every day of the week until September 2 to show you the magnificent history of Renault.

Pre-war glory: A 1937 4,1 litre 6 cylinder Vivasport… just dream away behind this sporting version of the Renault Vivastella sedan

We were present at the opening reception, and show you here some photos of the formidable and iconic cars which are on display, and we lift a brief veil on their history…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Jeep Camp in Austria was a legendary feast for 1,200 enthusiasts

We got acquainted with the Jeep Camp in Austria at the presentation of the new Wrangler. It proved also to be the ideal setting for the key event for the Jeep® Owners Group (J.O.G.) held in Austria on the weekend of July 15, attracting massive participation from all across Europe. More than 1,200 Jeep enthusiasts and 600 vehicles came together to confirm the special bond that exists between the Jeep brand and its fans. We can understand them. The Jeep bug bit us too at the presentation behind the wheel of the Wrangler…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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A cutting-edge (art)experience in Knokke: BMW Artville

 

The city of Knokke-Heist, BOZAR and BMW strongly believe in the importance of beauty, the power of technology and the impact of art. Together they had the desire to create a place where all of this comes together. In an exceptional location and in a special setting, they invite thousands of people each year to be inspired by the work of a renowned artist, unique and much-discussed. It is the ambition to create an intriguing edition every year that warmly enchants and surprises the visitor and grows into a reference and fixed appointment in your summer agenda. In this unique and exclusive setting, visitors can also enjoy delicious tapas and a glass of wine or soft drink in addition to art.

This first edition BOZAR takes up its curatorship by putting none less than Jan Fabre at the heart of BMW ARTVILLE, the most versatile and surprising living artist in Belgium. BMW ARTVILLE immediately fulfills its central promise: ‘a cutting-edge experience’.

Just come and see it all, at BMW Artville, at the beach just in front of the casino of Knokke-Heist, from July 13 until August 26.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the new Jeep Wrangler: sheer authenticity on wheels

The Wrangler is available in two- and four door versions… 

The Jeep is the car which gave us back our freedom in WW2, and it does this ever since right to this day, with increasing authenticity.

Because it is a truly authentic and honest car, and this the Jeep was indeed from the day of its birth, what’s more, it brought the freedom to everyone behind the wheel, to choose any path and road (in life) he or she wanted.

Stroke of genius in uniting form and function…

Its original designers had a multiple stroke of genius in designing every element of this wonderful machine. Indeed, its components have been totally inspiring to many, striking a perfect balance between form and function.

Soon everything about this original “General Purpose” vehicle had become totally iconic, and it was only natural that very soon after the war, people developed a never-ending love affair with this “GP” or Jeep, an affection which has grown ever since.

The Jeep community has of course grown throughout the decades, and this inspired today’s designers to reach out for and dig ever more into the original DNA of this Jeep.

Chris Piscitelli, head of design center Jeep Brand, (see photo above) emphasized this again in his presentation at the Jeep Camp near Zeltweg.

Fourth Generation Wrangler is born for the modern day urban and adventurous purist…

With the Wrangler being the true successor of the original in its simplicity and ruggedness, it is for this model that the search for this authenticity has been much pursued. The fully redesigned Wrangler is the result of this, and as you can judge from the photos, it truly looks the part.

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The first ‘Collection By Vermant’ Rally proved a success…

I would have loved to participate with my pristine BMW Z3 youngtimer to this event, but the last sequels of my torn muscle prevented me, alas. Things are now rapidly improving healthwise, and I really can hardly wait to drive my Z3 roadster into the sunshine again, just another few weeks of patience…

In the meantime, this rally proved a success. The route went through the Flemish Limburg fruit region, and was indeed fully subscribed with 50 participants. Undoubtedly, next year the number of participants will be still larger…

The Collection by Vermant concept, which as faithful readers know was launched three months ago at the Antwerp Classic Salon, has literally a flying start.

The workshop under the direction of specialist and operational manager Ruben Bosch is humming along, and the enthusiast with a warm heart for classics can discover now in the brand new showroom at the Generaal De Wittelaan in Malines an exquisite collection of cars for sale.

Bringing together passionate classic car lovers and clients is wat the Collection by Vermant wants to do. Just have a drink at the bar in the showroom and discover what they can do and mean for you…

We show you here the photos of the event, with some interesting cars indeed…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the BMW i3s REx: E-joy, style and cleverness on wheels…

E-driving is not only cool, it can also give you lots of driving pleasure. BMW has proved this point now already over 100.000 times last year with its E-fleet, more specifically i, BMW iPerformance and MINI vehicles with fully electric or plug-in hybrid drive systems. Of course, the i3 being its most popular icon. Indeed, this cleverly designed and styled car has grown into just that: a symbol of clever and durable mobility.

We drove for you the nimble and lively “s” version, and we loved every meter we drove it.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Alfa Romeo wins historic Mille Miglia 2018

Here you see GIOLITO Roberto and GIUDICI David, Starting number 31, in their 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS… on the grounds of the Museo Storico, during the event.   

As we told your earlier, dear reader, Alfa was present in strength at the latest edition of this beautiful event. The course led even to the Museo Storico grounds, and the Alfa’s which participated were equally breathtaking. Indeed, the race caravan paid a celebratory visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese, where time trials were held on the internal circuit.

But besides meticulous cars, it also pays of to prepare yourself thoroughly for this regularity event. Know the course and the stages very well, and train yourself in driving to the (hundreds of a )second.

Here you see my drawing of the winners, receiving the chequered flag . For a better view, press ctrl + to or pinch enlarge it… 

This is what the winners did, TONCONOGY Juan and RUFFINI Barbara, in their 1933 ALFA ROMEO 6C 1500 GS “TESTA FISSA”, starting number 85. You see them here on my drawing here joyously receiving the finish flag, with the second official presenting already the coveted champagne bottle. Miss Barbara Ruffini is already holding her left hand on the door to jump out of the car and collect her winner’s prizes.

This was not the only success of the formidable Alfa’s.

In second place, just eight penalty points behind the victor, there was the stunning 6C 1500 Super Sport dating from 1928, with coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina. This was an official car from the FCA Heritage collection, which is normally on display at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, driven by Giovanni Moceri with co-driver Daniele Bonetti, with starting number 30. See here the photo above.

In third place, the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of Vesco-Guerini, starting number 39.

It is very touching to see that 50 years after their 1928 victory, an Alfa is again on the winner’s podium in this iconic Mille Miglia.

I couldn’t resist making a drawing of the glorious moment when the winners drove on the podium, and present you also some more photos of the other winners and Alfa’s in the Mille Miglia 2018…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The BMW M5 gets even sharper with the M5 Competition…

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BMW M GmbH has sharpened the race-inspired character of its BMW M5 high-performance sedan with an even more powerful model: the BMW M5 Competition, creating a new product category. In future, BMW M GmbH will offer the most powerful variants of its high-performance cars as standalone models. This new status reflects the individual character of the BMW M5 Competition.

It also embodies the latest chapter in a history of success which began with the M Competition package (including power boost) configured specifically for the predecessor to the current BMW M5 – and which the exclusive new BMW M5 Competition builds on convincingly.

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A 19 kW/25 hp hike in engine output over the standard version of the new BMW M5 (to 460 kW/625 hp), even more direct responses and bespoke chassis tuning combine to maximize dynamics, agility and precision.

Superb performance…

The 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology has been modified specifically for this new application and develops peak torque of 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) across an even broader rev range – from 1,800 rpm to 5,800 rpm.

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You can image that the performance is stellar: acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) goes in 3.3 seconds and 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 10.8 seconds.

Of course, there is also the sound. Indeed, the tune of the standard-fitted M Sport exhaust system can be adjusted at the touch of a button. The driver can also use the M Sound Control button to initiate an extremely discreet soundtrack.

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Sharp drivetrain, chassis and suspension

Model-specific engine mounts with a higher spring rate provide a much firmer connection between the drive unit and vehicle structure in the new BMW M5 Competition. This has a noticeable effect on the car’s responses, the sharpness of its turn-in and the experience of the engine’s soundtrack inside the car.

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The engine’s power is channeled to the road via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. Added to which, the new BMW M5 Competition is specified with the M xDrive M-specific all-wheel-drive system and the Active M Differential at the rear axle.

The centrally controlled interaction between the two systems optimizes traction, agility and directional stability.

The M xDrive system’s rear-wheel bias provides the ideal basis for a full blooded performance-driving experience. Added to which, the new BMW M5 Competition supplements M Dynamic Mode with three driving programs honed for use on the track: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD, which switches to pure rear-wheel drive and deactivates the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).

Features of the chassis include a seven-millimeter drop in ride height, special damper hydraulics and stiffer springs, an increased camber at the front axle and modified toe links and anti-roll bars at the rear.

Sportiness in style…

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Eye-catching design cues emphasize the exclusivity of the new BMW M5 Competition. BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim is complemented by the use of high-gloss black for the kidney grille surround, decorative grating of the signature BMW M gills, rear spoiler and exterior mirror caps. “Competition” lettering is added to the likewise black “M5” badge on the boot lid. Standard specification for the new BMW M5 Competition also comprises exclusive 20-inch forged M light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tyres.

An impressive BMW, needless to say that we would love to lay our hands on one in a not too distant future…

Hans Knol ten Bensel