BMW – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Mon, 25 Sep 2017 20:30:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 By Design: BMW Z4 Concept and BMW Concept 8 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/by-design-bmw-z4-concept-and-bmw-concept-8/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/by-design-bmw-z4-concept-and-bmw-concept-8/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 10:12:08 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1189590 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has existed since 1916, initially as a builder of aircraft engines. It moved to earthbound vehicles when in 1923 it offered a motorcycle to keep its employees occupied—the WWI armistice prohibited German aircraft manufacture—and only moved to cars in 1928 when it acquired a railroad-car maker, Fahrzeugwerke Eisenach, which was license-building...

The post By Design: BMW Z4 Concept and BMW Concept 8 appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has existed since 1916, initially as a builder of aircraft engines. It moved to earthbound vehicles when in 1923 it offered a motorcycle to keep its employees occupied—the WWI armistice prohibited German aircraft manufacture—and only moved to cars in 1928 when it acquired a railroad-car maker, Fahrzeugwerke Eisenach, which was license-building British Austin Sevens under the Dixi name. The first BMW-badged, Austin-derived 3/15 models came in 1929.

Since those first cars, the firm has had a truly complex and erratic design history. BMW was one of the first European carmakers to have an internal styling (as opposed to body engineering) department. Set up by Wilhelm Meyerhuber, who went to Bavaria from Opel, where there was awareness of General Motors’ pioneering in-house Art and Colour staff, the BMW studio enjoyed all the accoutrements of American design methods: sketches in perspective, clay models, styling bridges, and 3D measuring systems. Meyerhuber kept making proposals into the middle ’50s with no results. Since then, a diverse cast of characters has contributed to the sharp rise, fall, and rise again of the now wildly successful automaker, which produced no automobiles for the full decade of the 1940s save a few “EMWs” produced in the eastern zone at the Eisenach plant. BMW itself only got back into car making in 1951. Even then, the 1952-’63 “Baroque Angel” 501 and 502 sedans were prewar designs, depressingly old-fashioned and clumsy.

Max Hoffman, the Austrian exile who was enormously influential in introducing numerous marques to the U.S., commissioned a sports roadster on that prewar chassis, selecting Manhattan-based fellow exile, Albrecht Graf Goertz, to shape it. The 507 masterpiece that resulted first embodied a flattened, horizontal double grille instead of a vertical pair. But it cost three times what Hoffman desired and was a total failure commercially, with only a couple hundred ever made. Goertz also did the 503, a coupe on the longer sedan chassis. He was one of many stylists involved in the development of BMW’s modern look. Wilhelm Hofmeister, chief in-house designer from 1955 to 1970, is credited with the eponymous “kink” in the rear side windows, though it was first seen on the Giugiaro-designed 3200 CS.

In fact, Italian designers contributed much to BMW design through the years, most importantly Giovanni Michelotti, who restyled the incredibly ugly Iso Isetta-based BMW 600 four seat “bubble car” into a lovely coupe that sold well despite having just a flat-twin motorcycle engine in its stylish tail. Michelotti’s subsequent Neue Klasse sedans saved BMW from being dismantled in the ’60s and so are the most important designs in the firm’s history. The house of Bertone contributed designs and hundreds of coachbuilt bodies. The first 5 Series sedan, for which newly hired Frenchman Paul Bracq claimed credit, was actually the work of Marcello Gandini, although Bracq did do what to me is the most beautiful series-produced BMW ever—the long-lived 6 Series coupes.

Concept cars, even terrible-looking examples, can and often do have positive downstream effects.

Succeeding Bracq was a fine German design leader, Claus Luthe, who left because of a personal tragedy. For most of this century BMW design has been led by an American, Chris Bangle, and a Dutchman, Adrian van Hooydonk, who have both presided over an astonishingly diverse multinational collection of designers both excellent and imaginative.

Luthe introduced advanced design methodology making use of digital systems, which has had, I fear, the perverse effect of allowing BMW to dilute its much-envied reputation with a plethora of models and caused its engineers to lose a bit of focus on the “Ultimate Driving Machine” aspect of its products. But as Van Hooydonk said when I questioned the necessity of a particularly peculiar and ungainly off-mainstream model, “We sell all we can make.” That has always been the ultimate goal of everyone in the automobile business—even for cars whose list prices start in seven figures.

It’s easy enough to see these concept cars are close siblings, but like human brothers and sisters they’re destined by genetic heritage for different roles. And although they’re quite similar in some aspects, one might have some visual characteristics of one grandparent while the other exhibits traits of the opposite side of their forebear families. We see traces of Albrecht Goertz’s 507 in the horizontally oriented “kidneys,” an identity element persisting since the early 1930s. The rear treatment dates from the Bangle days, as does the side treatment derived from the 2001 X Coupe concept. In this column 16 years ago (May 2001), I said that concept was “an ugly—even grotesque—vehicle.” And it was, but it’s hard to fault the flanks of this pair, positively influenced by that dismal exercise. We can expect parts of this pair to pop up in the near and far future. Concept cars, even terrible-looking examples, can and often do have positive downstream effects. I think these quite elegant and fluidly shaped concepts are likely to have additional series-production descendants that will greatly impress us when they appear.

BMW Z4 Concept

1. This represents a surprising reversion to the “motorboat” front end Michelotti created for the 1500-1800 Neue Klasse cars in the early ’60s. Management was convinced it was dangerous to change that look, and despite desperate pleas from Bracq for more aerodynamic shapes, it held for decades. To see it return is a nod to Mercedes chief designer Gorden Wagener, who reverted to it on the last S-Class to lengthen the hood.

2. There are still four headlamps, but they’re not round anymore. It’s about time.

3. In pure profile, this fender line is of surpassing elegance. Surfaces outboard are a bit of a puzzle, though.

4. The painted part of the outer air inlet is broken into five straight elements, open toward the center of the Z4 nose, with the central scoop edges filling the open end.

5. A slight crease, seemingly the origin of the base line growing out of the fender below the side slash and curving up the side.

6. The central scoop tends to evoke cow catchers on steam locomotives in the Old West. In black it looks agricultural, more like a grain scoop than a car part.

BMW Concept 8

1. Shades of Buick’s 1950 bumper-grille front end. And the vertical bar texture also looks more Buick than BMW. Sic transit gloria mundi.

2. Pedestrian safety requires a fairly full profile to clear internals, but this is a puffy centerline profile. It’s hard to grasp why it’s so high so far forward.

3. As with the Z4, the four headlamps remain, but they are no longer round.

4. A vestigial indication of a separate rear fender form, refreshingly subtle and modeled well.

5. A hard horizontal bar bisects the outer-corner air-scoop box form.

6. Here the center scoop diagonal edges are inclined in opposition to those of the Z4.

7. Having the model identification at the bottom of the front end is a bit odd but original, for what it’s worth.

1. Both cars share a bad idea from the past. Comprehensive Air Force studies have shown that having gauge needles operating in opposing directions within the same narrow field of view reduces operator comprehension and slows reaction time. This reversion to old ideas in order to seem new may be an endemic corporate philosophical weakness. Remember how silly the central-dial instrument panel—like a 1948 VW—was in the Z8?

2. The layout and formats of the central data screens seem to have no particular commonality, other than—like most such devices—they both provide too much information.

3. The transmission selector lever appears to be the same part on both cars, and why not? It’s something that must fit comfortably in small hands and large ones. This one is a handsome sculpture.

4. Ventilation outlets are horizontal on the 4, vertical on the 8, but they seem to be of about equal cross-sectional area, a little smaller than industry average in both cases.

5. The idea of using color to set apart the driver’s realm is hardly new. Lamborghini did it in the days when Chrysler controlled its styling. It’s a handsome solution, though as a Z4 driver I’d rather not have the orange reflection in the windshield.

6. Despite their very different roles, both concepts use complex textures on the seating surfaces: lightly bas-relief in the 8 Series, just a surface treatment in the Z4.

7. The seat-belt sockets appear to be built in to both sets of seats but without a clear release mechanism for either.

8. Writing on the center bottom of the steering wheel is just an identity badge on the 8 series, but on the Z4 it seems to be an active digital readout.

9. Steering wheels are flattened top and bottom, with the “central” BMW badge well below the center of the nominal circle. Colors, number of spoke branches, and apparent thumb rests may all be different, but the gestalt of both directional devices is clearly similar.

10. Like the transmission controls, the pedals look to be identical, which is sensible in that there are no small economies, even in hand-built concept cars. And they’re really good-looking if potentially slippery in the wintertime.

1. This bump, as seen from the back, is the upper corner of the big-box front corner openings on both cars …

2. … and this angle is the same on both, but for the Z4 a surface break gives a protruding lower lip of painted material.

3. At the top of the slash, there is a sharp corner where two straight lines intersect, and on the 8 a radius leads into a curved line that softens and disappears in the door skin.

4. Below this soft line on the 8 Series, the entire body side is essentially concave down to the bottom of the door. On the Z4, the hard line from the slash runs all the way back to the taillight, with a narrow concave section interrupted by a muscular bulge coming out of the outlet in the front fender that fades in the door skin below the beginning of another bulge in the door itself. The changes from concave to convex are numerous, complex, and interesting—if a bit lumpy.

5. Twin asymmetric headrests on the Z4 have no counterpart on the 8 Series coupe but do reference the Z9 roadster concept from 17 years ago.

6. Taillights on both concepts cover about a third of the rear width but have no formal resemblance. Nicely integrated into the overall form in both cases.

7. The ancestor of both concepts is the Z9 coupe from the 1999 Frankfurt auto show, executed by Van Hooydonk under Bangle’s direction.

8. Two hard, crisp horizontals on the Z4 are separated by a single surface concavity below the license plate mounting area, while the horizontal references are softer and more subtle on the 8 Series. Sharp-edge blades on both define the top of the corner boxes.

9. Both concepts have handsomely modeled exhaust tips, the sort of thing common to show cars and usually found too expensive for production.

10. Rear corner boxes on both concepts have the same angle as seen in pure profile, but what happens on the rear fascia is quite different. You wonder whether the apparent outlets really evacuate air from the rear wheelhouses. And if so, how do you clean the ducts?

11. The similar twin-spoke wheels on both cars seem to have been made with protrusions almost guaranteed to get expensively curbed at some point in daily use. Good styling, bad design then?

12. The “pregnant cow” line from the X-Coupe is parallel to the ground plane where it appears in the fender skin, then turns up along the door cut. In the 8 Series it is the entire bottom door cut, turning upward just at the back of the door.

13. The straight-line slash in the front fender outer skin on both is at the same angle relative to the ground plane, but they end quite differently.

14. On the Z4, the slash ends in a little curve disappearing onto the flank, while on the 8 Series it generates the leading edge of a concave body side defined by a sharp surface break.

The post By Design: BMW Z4 Concept and BMW Concept 8 appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/by-design-bmw-z4-concept-and-bmw-concept-8/feed/ 0
BMW M Doesn’t Need a Halo Car, Says Brand Boss http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m-doesnt-need-halo-car-says-ceo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m-doesnt-need-halo-car-says-ceo/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 21:30:44 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1191439 BMW isn’t intimidated by the Mercedes-AMG Project One and its $2.7 million price tag. Frank van Meel, boss of BMW M, says his brand won’t introduce an ultra-expensive halo car, or even a bespoke car rivaling the Mercedes-AMG GT. M will stick to offering a fleet of high-performance vehicles based on mainstream BMWs. According to...

The post BMW M Doesn’t Need a Halo Car, Says Brand Boss appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
BMW isn’t intimidated by the Mercedes-AMG Project One and its $2.7 million price tag. Frank van Meel, boss of BMW M, says his brand won’t introduce an ultra-expensive halo car, or even a bespoke car rivaling the Mercedes-AMG GT.

M will stick to offering a fleet of high-performance vehicles based on mainstream BMWs. According to van Meel, it’s all about reaching more customers. “Instead of having one flagship very small, but let’s say very highlighted flagship, we would rather have an armada of very fast vessels to attack a broader range of possible customer groups,” he told Motoring.

BMW is expected to produce M versions of the X3 and X4. The automaker also previewed the upcoming M8 with a GTE World Endurance Championship race car.

Van Meel added, “I don’t see the need for M to make such a very niche product, because I think also M is the ultimate driving machine and I don’t need something to make clear that we really are the ultimate driving machine…I don’t need a halo car to bring out the message.”

Mercedes will deliver just 275 copies of the Project One hypercar to customers. Power comes from an electrically turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 with a set of 120-kilowatt electric motors to produce more than 1,000 hp.

The post BMW M Doesn’t Need a Halo Car, Says Brand Boss appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m-doesnt-need-halo-car-says-ceo/feed/ 0
Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Car Keys? http://www.automobilemag.com/news/time-say-goodbye-car-keys/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/time-say-goodbye-car-keys/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:28:36 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1190813 Car keys may be heading down the same road as the combustion engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive—off to that big junkyard in the sky, at least if you believe the latest news coming out of Frankfurt. Reuters is reporting that BMW is currently reviewing the necessity of car keys since most customers now carry...

The post Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Car Keys? appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Car keys may be heading down the same road as the combustion engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive—off to that big junkyard in the sky, at least if you believe the latest news coming out of Frankfurt.

Reuters is reporting that BMW is currently reviewing the necessity of car keys since most customers now carry a smartphone and use an app to unlock their vehicles.

It has made has made old-fashioned keys obsolete—or has it?

“Honestly, how many people really need it,” Ian Robertson, BMW sales board member, told Reuters at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Robertson says customers no longer had to put the key in the ignition to make their car start.

“They never take it out of their pocket, so why do I need to carry it around?” Robertson said, adding that the company was looking at getting rid of keys altogether.

Yes, this may be true, but what about a hacker gaining access to your Tesla or Jeep by computer? Or what if there is no cell service or your phone’s battery dies? What about the valet? Would you give a valet  your phone—hell no!

“We are looking at whether it is feasible, and whether we can do it. Whether we do it right now or at some point in the future, remains to be seen,” Robertson said to the news service.

BMW is not alone in this dilemma, most car companies have been doing away with keys for years—most have fobs and it is rare to get a real key in a new car today.

Tesla is foregoing the key fob and is using a key card and mobile app instead to unlock and start its new Model 3.

While this may be the future for most car companies, customers better stay connected and pray they have a strong wireless connection.

Just don’t lose that keycard with its NFC chip; otherwise you just may get locked out of your shiny new car.

Do you prefer a key, no key, fob, or keycard? Let us know.

The post Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Car Keys? appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/time-say-goodbye-car-keys/feed/ 0
One Week With: 2017 BMW 540i M Sport http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-bmw-540i-m-sport-review-one-week/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-bmw-540i-m-sport-review-one-week/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:01:03 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1190483 BMW’s identity in the United States is inextricably linked to the now ubiquitous 3 Series, itself rooted in the heritage of the 2002. The larger 5 Series, however, is the lifeblood of Munich’s the global sedan story. And though it’s been somewhat forgotten about here in the U.S. amidst the massive shift toward the X3...

The post One Week With: 2017 BMW 540i M Sport appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
BMW’s identity in the United States is inextricably linked to the now ubiquitous 3 Series, itself rooted in the heritage of the 2002. The larger 5 Series, however, is the lifeblood of Munich’s the global sedan story. And though it’s been somewhat forgotten about here in the U.S. amidst the massive shift toward the X3 and X5, BMW loyalists still prick up their ears when the 540i moniker is in the air. Particularly for fans of the much-adored E39 generation (1996-2003), that name represents the pinnacle of what an executive sport sedan could (and should) be.

Absent since 2010, the 540i is back for the 7th-generation 5 Series. The world has changed during its hiatus, as the pendulum has swung away from V-8 engines and toward forced-induction six-cylinders. That means you’ll find a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six under the hood. As much as we’ll miss the 4.4-liter V-8 in the E60 540i, the new G30 brings a magnificent mill to the table. Not only is the boosted inline-six more powerful, more torque-rich, and more efficient than the V-8 it replaces, it maintains that beautiful smoothness that still makes BMW the last word in engine building.

Its output of 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque (up 35 hp and 32 lb-ft) should have Audi and Mercedes on notice. It pulls hard from launch and remains balanced all the way to redline, with more poise than either the supercharged V-6 in the A6 or the twin-turbo V-6 in the Mercedes-AMG E43. Fantastic, too, is the way the engine pairs with the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, which delivers consistently crisp and timely shifts. If I have one complaint it’s the lack of a more emotional engine note, but having heard the bat-out-of-hell roar of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the G30 M550i, it’s probably better that the straight-six leave the power ballads to the professionals.

Beyond the excellence of its powertrain, though, the 540i is a long way from the engaging sport sedan that diehards remember. Yes, the G30 5 Series is up to 137 pounds lighter than the outgoing car, thanks in part to the use of aluminum for the trunk, trunk lid, doors, and roof. But even with the $2,600 M Sport package, $3,200 Dynamic Handling Package, and $650 M Sport brakes, the 540i left me feeling a little cold and uninspired.

The M Sport package adds 19-inch wheels with performance run-flats, a lowered suspension, a fat M Sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and a 155-mph top speed. Also included is an aero kit with meaner-looking front air intakes, side skirts, a rear diffuser, trapezoidal exhaust tips, and Shadowline exterior trim.

Dynamic damper control and active roll stabilization are they key ingredients for the Dynamic Handling Package and are intended to improve ride quality and reduce cornering lean. The dynamic dampers are constantly adjusting themselves in accordance with the chosen driving mode. Active roll stabilization, meanwhile, works by twisting the anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles, which is itself not new, but now works using faster-responding electric motors replacing the old hydraulic system. On all-wheel-drive models, BMW also offers rear-wheel steering.

While the 540i is indeed very comfortable and controlled on pockmarked roads, even on smooth pavement it lacks the steering feel and chassis feedback that made the E39 such a treat. There’s seemingly too much of the 7 Series philosophy of executive comfort at work and not enough of the driver-focused mojo that remains the heart and soul of the 2 Series. The 540i confidently hurtles itself down the road, tackling twisting sections of pavement with calmness and composure, but no part of me feels involved with the experience. Even equipped with rear-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive, the chassis doesn’t transmit enough information to the driver about what’s going on before it’s too late and you’ve exhausted the grip of the tires. While the trappings of sportiness are there, heavier steering, red-colored gauges, and adaptive bolsters that keep you snug in your comfy seat don’t constitute the essence of a sport sedan.

Those features barely scratch the surface of the features the 5 Series offers, and from the perspective of a luxury sedan, BMW has hit a home run. The interior is handsome and well-designed, while the mix of materials from ivory-colored Nappa leather, to dark wood, to aluminum, and piano black trim all convey a sense of warmth and futuristic cleanliness. The new iDrive is easy to use either by rotary controller or touchscreen, and there’s also the option to mirror your smartphone with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay ($300). Active safety technologies are plentiful, with the full suite of adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, active park control with parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, Wi-Fi hotspot, keyless entry, wireless charging, and gorgeous color head-up display.

None of these come cheap however, as all of this tech is encapsulated within the Driving Assistance ($1,800), Driver Assistance Plus ($1,400), Driver Assistance Plus II ($1,700), and Premium packages ($1,950). Want remote parking with the fancy digital-display key? $750. Gimmicky gesture control? $190. Bowers & Wilkins premium sound? $4,200, please. Fully loaded with all the goodies for comfort and performance, this 540i rings in at a harrowing $82,610, with more than $25K in options alone.

For 540 fans that remember a balanced, distinguished, and satisfying executive sport sedan, I’m not so sure this latest model will pass the smell test. Yes, traditionalists of this sort tend to turn their noses up at all of the advanced technology and equipment that has crept into modern vehicles. But ask anyone who has driven a Cadillac CTS Vsport or Mercedes-AMG E43 lately, modern luxury sport sedans, at least ones that make you want to spend more time driving rather than getting a heated massage, aren’t dead. No doubt BMW still builds one hell of a powertrain, and the 540i is still best in class when it comes to what’s under the hood, but a once-loved badge isn’t enough to make me fall for this latest 5 head over heels.

2017 BMW 540i M Sport Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $60,045/$82,610 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 3.0L turbocharged DOHC 24-valve I-6/335 hp @ 5,500-6,500 rpm, 332 lb-ft @ 1,380-5,200 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, RWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 20/30 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H 194.6 x 73.5 x 58.2 in
WHEELBASE 117.1 in
WEIGHT 3,847 lb
0-60 MPH 4.9 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph

The post One Week With: 2017 BMW 540i M Sport appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-bmw-540i-m-sport-review-one-week/feed/ 0
BMW M8 GTE Racer Previews Production Model http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m8-gte-racer-previews-production-model/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m8-gte-racer-previews-production-model/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 20:11:20 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1189943 Typically, we the public see the production model of a sports car long before its racing variant. Not so with the new BMW 8 Series, the racing version of which made its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dubbed the M8 GTE, the car will be competed in the FIA WEC and IMSA WeatherTech...

The post BMW M8 GTE Racer Previews Production Model appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Typically, we the public see the production model of a sports car long before its racing variant. Not so with the new BMW 8 Series, the racing version of which made its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Dubbed the M8 GTE, the car will be competed in the FIA WEC and IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, starting with the 2018 24 Hours of Daytona in January.

Per BMW, the racer is being developed in parallel with the production car and that learnings from the track will carry over onto the street.

Powering the M8 GTE is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 good for over 500 hp. BMW says the head and block are from the production engine, so we can expect the to see the same mill in the street car. A six-speed sequential gearbox handles transmission duties.

The 2,689-lb car race car rides on a 113.4-inch wheelbase and has a footprint that’s 196.1 inches long and 80.6 inches wide. While the production M8 will certainly be heavier, as well as substantially taller than the racer’s 47.7-inch height, the footprint should be very similar.

BMW says that the M8 GTE will take to the track before the M8 debuts for the street, so don’t expect a production debut until the 2018 Geneva Motor Show at the earliest.

The post BMW M8 GTE Racer Previews Production Model appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-m8-gte-racer-previews-production-model/feed/ 0
BMW Promises 12 All-Electric Vehicles by 2025, Teases New iNext Concept for Frankfurt http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-promises-12-electric-vehicles-2025/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-promises-12-electric-vehicles-2025/#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 15:47:50 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1189252 Electrification isn’t a new thing for BMW. It already sells the electric i3 with and without a range extender, as well as plug-in hybrid versions of quite a few vehicles, like the 3 Series and the X5. Heck, you’ve been able to buy a hybrid 7 Series for years now. But the German automaker thinks...

The post BMW Promises 12 All-Electric Vehicles by 2025, Teases New iNext Concept for Frankfurt appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Electrification isn’t a new thing for BMW. It already sells the electric i3 with and without a range extender, as well as plug-in hybrid versions of quite a few vehicles, like the 3 Series and the X5. Heck, you’ve been able to buy a hybrid 7 Series for years now. But the German automaker thinks it’s time to expand its electric lineup even further. It announced plans to add 12 all-electric vehicles to its lineup by 2025.

In a statement, Harald Krüger, BMW’s chairman of the board, said the entire company plans to increase its electrified offerings across the board. That includes both Rolls-Royce and BMW’s M models. By 2025, there will be 25 electrified models for sale, with 12 of them being fully electric. That will include an electric Mini in 2019 and an electric X3 in 2020. Krüger also said that soon, all fully electric BMWs will be sold under the i sub-brand, including the X3.

We already knew an electric M car was on the way, but last we’d heard there wasn’t nearly enough customer interest to justify an electric Rolls-Royce. Apparently, that’s changed. BMW did previously say it expects electric powertrains to account for 20 percent of its sales across the BMW, Mini, and i brands by 2025, however.

Krüger then confirmed that BMW will unveil a new iNext concept that’s slated for production in 2021. He called the iNext “a vision of how we imagine a four-door, fully-electric vehicle between the i3 and i8.” In a separate statement, Klaus Fröhlich, BMW’s head of development, said the iNext will get the company’s Gen 5 electric powertrain.

Considering that BMW showed off an iNext concept last year, we imagine the one BMW will reveal at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show will be closer to production-ready. We’ve heard rumors it will be a 3 Series-sized four-door with a sportier roofline, potentially using carbon fiber construction that’s trickled down from the i8. Expect it to also have the necessary equipment to make it capable of Level 5 autonomy if that’s ever allowed.

Look for more information when BMW holds its Frankfurt press conference after the auto show starts September 12.

The post BMW Promises 12 All-Electric Vehicles by 2025, Teases New iNext Concept for Frankfurt appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-promises-12-electric-vehicles-2025/feed/ 0
BMW Concept X7 iPerformance Previews Future Full Size SUV http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-concept-x7-iperformance-previews-future-full-size-suv/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-concept-x7-iperformance-previews-future-full-size-suv/#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:01:30 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1189205 Considering how progressive BMW is regarding electric powertrains and alternative materials, it seems like it takes its sweet time filling necessary model gaps. Finally, after 18 years as BMW’s biggest SUV, the X5 will have a bigger, full-size brother. The real production model is still a few years away, but BMW previews the new big-body...

The post BMW Concept X7 iPerformance Previews Future Full Size SUV appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Considering how progressive BMW is regarding electric powertrains and alternative materials, it seems like it takes its sweet time filling necessary model gaps. Finally, after 18 years as BMW’s biggest SUV, the X5 will have a bigger, full-size brother. The real production model is still a few years away, but BMW previews the new big-body Bimmer with the new Concept X7 iPerformance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Even for a company that claims to focus on driving dynamics and motorsports, the new X7 makes a large amount of sense. Just like the name suggests, this new SUV will be the largest, most luxurious of the BMW SUV lineup, much like the 7 Series is to the sedan family. When it hits dealership lots, it will clash with other established full-sizers, including the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover, and Cadillac Escalade.

The real-deal X7 is still to come. In the meantime, we’re getting our best look yet with the new Concept X7. It wears cartoonish, concept-car proportions, but the bones of the design study is what we can reasonably expect to see on the production truck.

Surprise, surprise—BMW’s signature kidney grille is present, as is the recent addition to the lower side chrome strip accouterments that debuted on the 7 Series and trickled down to the new 5 Series, albeit minus the long chrome strip.

It certainly isn’t subtle, even coated in the light greenish-brown paint. There’s chrome everywhere, from the shiny inclusions in the front fascia to the rear bumper, matching well with the bright 23-inch wheels.

Aside from the conceptual designs on the center console and steering wheel, the interior layout isn’t too far removed from what we might see in the production X7. The large center infotainment screen, along with the LCD center gauge cluster are close to what we already see on the 7 Series and 5 Series.

In the back, it looks like second row passengers are treated to the requisite suite of infotainment and climate controls, embedded in the back of the front seats.

Other than what we see here, details on the X7 is scarce, including powertrains. When the production SUV does break cover, expect to see a mix of inline-sixes, V-8s, and perhaps even a V-12 from the 7 Series.

Look for more information on the X7 closer to the SUV’s full reveal at this year’s Frankfurt motor show later this month.

The post BMW Concept X7 iPerformance Previews Future Full Size SUV appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-concept-x7-iperformance-previews-future-full-size-suv/feed/ 0
BMW Possibly Teases X7 Ahead of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-possibly-teases-x7-ahead-2017-frankfurt-motor-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-possibly-teases-x7-ahead-2017-frankfurt-motor-show/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:23:11 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1188097 Ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW is teasing something big and we think we may just know what it is—the new and never before seen, BMW X7. “We’re redefining luxury with something big on September 8. Stay tuned,” read the pre-dawn tweet sent from BMW USA’s Twitter account. As you can see from the...

The post BMW Possibly Teases X7 Ahead of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW is teasing something big and we think we may just know what it is—the new and never before seen, BMW X7.

“We’re redefining luxury with something big on September 8. Stay tuned,” read the pre-dawn tweet sent from BMW USA’s Twitter account.

As you can see from the photo that goes along with the caption above, it’s hard to discern any of the car’s details, let alone any badge designation that could tell us outright. However, thanks to Adobe Photoshop, we were able to dive a little deeper into the vague black and white photo.

We first must address the most unique feature of the car in question, that absolutely lovely Y-brace panoramic glass roof. This design aesthetic is superb and gives the large automobile a soft and elegant flourish that BMW isn’t known for but is truly welcome in this car.

As we look through the glass roof, we can see that there are, at least, four executive-style seats and a central infotainment center similar to the current 7 Series.

This certainly points to the teased image actually being the upcoming X7 since BMW has already stated that the upcoming SUV will be based on the 7 Series sedan’s architecture.

The X7 will also share its architecture with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV set to debut in the very near future.

Lastly, the hood is reminiscent of the current generation X5’s hood. From the indent it appears to almost shovel BMW’s famous roundel, to the subtle bulges near the fenders, and the signature kidney grille that appears to be encased in an aluminum-like finish, everything screams BMW SUV.

Everything then seems to point toward BMW’s X7 debuting later this week. However, until then, we won’t know exactly what this car is.

For all we know, this could be a 7 Series Touring or 7 Series GT. But if we were betting men and women, our money would be on the X7.

Stay tuned, the Frankfurt Motor Show runs September 14-24.

 

The post BMW Possibly Teases X7 Ahead of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-possibly-teases-x7-ahead-2017-frankfurt-motor-show/feed/ 0
BMW Owner Swaps E30 M3 Engine for Skyline Power http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-owner-swaps-e30-m3-engine-for-skyline-power/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-owner-swaps-e30-m3-engine-for-skyline-power/#respond Sat, 02 Sep 2017 09:22:26 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1187510 There are many automotive purists in the world. They believe that special cars should remain stock in perpetuity. Nothing should ever change and if you do change something on an original, highly sought after car, you should be drawn and quartered. However, there are those of us car lovers who could care less about original...

The post BMW Owner Swaps E30 M3 Engine for Skyline Power appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
There are many automotive purists in the world. They believe that special cars should remain stock in perpetuity. Nothing should ever change and if you do change something on an original, highly sought after car, you should be drawn and quartered.

However, there are those of us car lovers who could care less about original condition. All we want is to have fun, and the owner of this very special E30 M3 is definitely having fun.

Originally fitted with a plucky naturally aspirated four-cylinder, the Bavarian automobile received a new heart courtesy of Japan. It now features a straight six-cylinder RB26DETT engine plucked out of an R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R and sounds absolutely bananas.

The engine has been fooled around with as it no longer has twin turbochargers, rather one has been removed and the other replaced with a larger Borg Warner EFR 7064 T4 Twin-Scroll unit.

As such, the E30 M3 GT-R produces 408 horsepower and 386 lb-ft of torque, at the rear wheels. That amount of power, for a car that weighs barely 2,500 pounds, is more than enough, as you can see as the owner hot laps the car around the Nurburgring.

From the video below, all you hear is the car’s glorious sounding straight six engine, and its massive turbocharger spooling up, which honestly sounds like a very pissed-off squirrel being sucked into the turbine.

Our only wish is that the video was slightly longer as we could listen to this all day, every day, especially after our own experience with a R32 GT-R last year.

Hopefully the sound of this particular E30 M3 will convince those haters that having fun is just as cool as having a pristine car sitting in the garage.

The post BMW Owner Swaps E30 M3 Engine for Skyline Power appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/bmw-owner-swaps-e30-m3-engine-for-skyline-power/feed/ 0
2018 BMW i3S Joins Updated Lineup http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-bmw-i3s-joins-updated-lineup/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-bmw-i3s-joins-updated-lineup/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 22:05:35 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1186215 Introduced in 2013, the BMW i3 marked the German company’s first true foray into the electric vehicle world. It featured a small but usable range of about 87 miles—or a combined range of 180 miles with the optional gasoline range extender—and quirky styling that BMW hoped would resonate with younger car buyers. Now, four years...

The post 2018 BMW i3S Joins Updated Lineup appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Introduced in 2013, the BMW i3 marked the German company’s first true foray into the electric vehicle world. It featured a small but usable range of about 87 miles—or a combined range of 180 miles with the optional gasoline range extender—and quirky styling that BMW hoped would resonate with younger car buyers. Now, four years later, BMW is making its first revisions to the i3 platform, introducing the 2018 i3 and new i3s, although the changes don’t amount to much more than a light refresh.

In a time when Tesla now offers a 200-plus mile fully electric Model 3, Chevrolet offers a 200-plus mile Bolt, Nissan is getting ready to deliver the new Leaf with likely a 200-plus mile range—and with a host of other electric vehicles on the horizon—BMW left the i3’s electric-only range unchanged. This seems like a missed opportunity, especially since more buyers are looking for EV options.

However, what BMW did put emphasis on is the car’s sporting potential with the i3s—although we’re not sure that more sportiness is what customers were looking for. The i3s receives more powerful electric motor good for 184 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, up from the standard car’s 170 hp and 184 lb-ft or torque. It also receives a sportier suspension setup that drops the car about a half inch and exclusive 20-inch light-alloy wheels that are a half-inch wider than the standard 20-inch option. The i3s also receives new wheel arch moldings that emphasize its wider track, which gives it a more grounded stance.

In addition to the extra track width, the exterior of the i3 gets a subtle makeover with a number of new design elements that help highlight the BMW’s unique character. The front gets a new bumper inlay and a u-shaped surround finished in black, as well as broader accents strips. The rear gets only slight tweaks, including a matte black feature line.

Inside, the existing set of interior choices remains, including Mega, Giga, and Tera world, as well as Deka. A new trim comes in with the optional Giga World, which receives a new Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Wool Cloth. Further helping in the i3’s strive toward conservation is the 80 percent of the i3’s visible surfaces made from recycled materials or renewable resources, according to BMW.

When the two 2018 i3 variants become available, both with be available with a host of safety and technology options, including Active Driving Assistant, Active Cruise Control, Stop/Go, Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information, ConnectedDrive Services, Daytime Pedestrian Protection, Frontal Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation, Park Distance Control, and Apple CarPlay, all of which will be used through BMW’s latest iDrive 6 interface.

BMW also updated the i3’s charging cable, which can now transfer enough power to the batteries to travel the entire range in just three hours, which is five times quicker than the previously available Level 1 120v charging cable. For those wanting faster charging, BMW does offer a BMW TurboCord for $499, which will charge the i3 three-times faster than the standard charge cord.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, with BMW stating that this information will become available closer to the car’s on-sale date. Both the new BMW i3 and i3s will make their world debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

The post 2018 BMW i3S Joins Updated Lineup appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-bmw-i3s-joins-updated-lineup/feed/ 0