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Motoring 33


All of BMW’s latest safety efforts are included or optional, including airbags galore, blind-spot warnings, lane-departure warnings, night vision, side vision, and a rear-view camera. The list of available entertainment options is twice as long, and includes a heads-up display and DVD entertainment systems. So we’re left with the question of what exactly the 550i GT is and where it fits with BMW’s current offerings? For size and amenities, the GT lines up well with a 7 Series, but power options mimic a 5 Series –especially with a new 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine coming on line soon enough. The GT sits between the new 550i sedan ($73,300) and 750i ($108,600) and starts at $79,600 (or $79,900 with xDrive all- wheel drive). In most aspects, it’s a 7 Series wagon in all aspects but the name, so that would make it a bargain...


Despite the unfortunate name, BMW has created a useful, rapid and flexible vehicle that we should applaud, mainly because it will appeal to those who might have otherwise stepped up – literally – into an X5 or X6 to gain those qualities. But that still doesn’t make it a Gran Turismo.


Mark Atkinson has nearly 10 years experience as an automobile journalist working for publications like Inside


Track Motorsport News, Carguide, World of Wheels, Canadian Auto World, the Hamilton Spectator Wheels section, Metro Carguide, Suburban Life and West of the City. Besides writing for Muchmor Magazine, Mark also has his own blog, www.drivingguy.com, and appears in a number of other print and online publications.


Changes for the motoring industry in Manitoba


Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has announced that any administrative sanctions against vehicle dealers, driver-training schools, vehicle and parts recyclers, inspection-station operators and qualified inspection mechanics will be made public on the Manitoba Public Insurance website.


“It allows for customers to educate themselves and make informed consumer choices,” MPI spokesman Brian Smiley said,“Hopefully it will inspire some companies to do a better job.” Companies or individuals who provide the services


listed require permits. When permits are suspended or cancelled through lack of due diligence, the names of the offending company or individual will be posted on the MPI website.


The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) welcomes the move saying it will allow consumers to make more informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle or having work done on them. “A car is a big purchase for a lot of people,” said Liz Peters the public and government affairs manager for CAA Manitoba, “and we constantly get asked


questions about how they decide to choose a company.” With this process in place companies who do not make the grade will be named and shamed and their details on public view. Any member of the public can visit the website and see exactly which companies or individuals to avoid. Smiley said that several steps will be taken before any company is placed on the website. “We check out the history of


each business, we check out the work they have done,” he said. About the MPI:


Manitoba Public Insurance is a non-profit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. Our services are available throughout Manitoba in claim centres and Customer Service centres.!Driver and vehicle licensing services are available at more than!300 Autopac brokers around the province.


The link to the “named and shamed” can be found


here: http://www.mpi.mb.ca/AdminDecisions/ Sanctions.aspx


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