All posts in “BMW”

2019 BMW 750Li Review

Since I was a small boy (still am) I’ve always been envious of the person driving me around – I am forever curious about how it feels to drive the car in which in sat in, whatever it is. There have, however, been a handful of exceptions – I’m sure the reasons speak for themselves. These anomalies include a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Mulsanne, Mercedes-Maybach S600 and the BMW 7 Series.

These are cars that, in my mind, are meant to be enjoyed not from behind the wheel, but from behind the front seats. The rear seats are lounges, spaces that are designed to take you away from the reality of being stuck in the horrendous LA traffic or the ugly concrete clad surroundings of the M25 in London.

Chances are that if you find yourself in the rear cocoons of the aforementioned limousines you have a few more cars that you drive for pleasure or to flex at the golf club. The limousine is for the Micky Mouse gloved driver, not the owner, to put miles on.

It just so happened that I recently drove an S600 Maybach, Phantom and Mulsanne and I found them to be remarkable to drive, not just to be driven in. When the invitation to pilot the new BMW 7 Series popped into the inbox my childish curiosity had me hitting accept.

A couple of weeks later I found myself in the back of the BMW 750Li and it was a phenomenal place to be sat. Just a week before I was in the back seats of the Mulsanne and the BMW felt as plush, equally special and even more technologically advanced. The loungers were sublime, the cabin whisper quiet and the fit and finish something that would not be out of place in the Sultan of Brunei’s living room. Once again, I found myself enjoying the opulence of soft leathers, massage seats and near silence – I almost fell asleep.

Then my driver pulled over, chucked me the keys and disappeared. I would be lying if I said it was not a little intimidating, the 7 Series is, I think it is fair to say, an utter enormous car. Let’s get one thing out of the way from the outset – those ginormous grilles. The kidneys have over the years evolved into a plethora of shapes and sizes – on the X2 they appear to be fitted the wrong way up, on the X7…well let’s skip past that, but on the 7 Series face lift they are big enough to swallow small children and other cars alike.

Confession time – I did not like them before, I hated them when I saw them on a M760Li at Geneva and I still do not like them on the M Sport trimmed cars. However, on the Design Pure Elegance package cars, the swooping lower section of the bumper combined with the slender laser lights and that imposing pair of grilles looks mighty impressive to my eyes, something akin to a majestic and proud cruise ship.

The rear continues the design language I first saw on the 3er and Z4 with the L shaped lights, this time presented with the horizontal connecting light beam that you can find on most Porsches…and the Bugatti Chiron. Unless you are reading this is China, your opinion in the styling is somewhat irrelevant as that is where 40% of 7 Series cars are delivered and the new status promoting styling is very much catered to the Chinese market…and me apparently.

Back to my driving experience – I’m behind the wheel and the space upfront is impressive, the width of the car continues to make itself known in a good way. The view from the side mirrors accentuates the the length. Into drive and away I…sail. It is just as quite up here, you would never know that the engine under the hood is a hefty great V8. The 750Li xDrive I am piloting packs a supercar worthy 530 bhp and a twisting 750 Nm of torque. Considering that it weighs the same as a small cottage it is impressive that it will shift to 100km/h in 4 seconds.

As I pull out of the hotel onto the baked Spanish tarmac my eyes are drawn to something in the aforementioned wing mirrors. I stop turn the wheel and discover that it is the rear wheel steer system the I can physically see turning the rear wheels. It helps explain why I only had to apply a marginal amount of steering lock to navigate the 90 degree turn. The steering was so light that it could have been done with a single finger. Innovations like this are only the start of the list of things that make driving the car as much of a breeze as it is to be the VIP passenger in the back of it.

All of the controls are light – yes, this translates to a total absence of feel in a number of aspects, but this is not exactly a car you drive to the Nordschleife on a Sunday. As with the steering input, everything is effortless, simple and does not require much concentration. The gigantic length and width of 7 Series soon becomes less frightening and, as is the passenger experience, it is very soothing.

The raft of tech aids such as active cruise control and lane assist means that the 7 Series is essentially able to drive itself on the highway and the rest of the technologies packed into the cabin further sooth the driving experience. The new iDrive system still proves itself to be the best in the business, gesture controls are far more useful than I first imagines and there is still a lovely, tactile wheel to use to control the screen in addition to the touch screen feature (take note every other manufacture in the world. #SaveTheControlWheel).

All in all it is very easy to summarise the BMW 750Li xDrive. The car is an incredible place to be sat, whether it be in the front seat or the rear. It is a calming, enjoyable place to be and one that I think challenges and proves itself to be worthy of the best in the segment. I am sure you will be seeing those imposing grilles in a capital city near you very often indeed.

BMW X7 Review

There is a new kid on the block! The BMW X7 is BMW’s new space ship. A car for people that need the space of a MPV but want the looks and luxury of a SUV.

The BMW X7 comes standard with three seating rows and a range of high-end features like a panoramic sunroof, all electric seats and high-end infotainment. As an adult the third seat row is not really usable – I did not even dare to try climbing over the folded down second row seat to get myself stuck in the last row. But there is a six seater option with two separate seats on the second row which gives better access to the third row and it looks and feels a lot more luxurious too.

The X7 is as much about luxury as it is about versatility. If you tick some boxes on the list of optional extras you can equip the new XXL SUV pretty much as luxurious as you like. Massage seats? No problem. Rear seat entertainment? Done. Bowers & Wilkins high-end audio? You got it! The available luxury makes the X7 a very pleasant travel companion as we experienced on our journey from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.

The new BMW X7 will be available with four different engines from launch. Two diesel engines and two petrol engines. All come with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.

2020 BMW X7 xDrive50i

The entry-level diesel X7 is the BMW X7 xDrive30d. It comes with a 3 liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine producing 265 hp and 620 Nm. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h takes 7.0 seconds and the X7 30d has a top speed of 227 km/h. The BMW X7 M50d is the top of the range diesel variant with a 3 liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine producing 400 hp and 760 Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h is done in 5.4 seconds and the top speed is limited to 250 km/h.

The BMW X7 xDrive40i comes with a 3 liter six-cylinder in-line petrol engine which produces 340 hp and 450 Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h is done in 6.1 seconds and the X7 xDrive40i tops out at 245 km/h. The BMW X7 xDrive50i is sadly not available in Europe although sources hint at another V8 variant to celebrate its European debut later this year. The xDrive50i we drove in the United States comes with a 4.4 liter V8 petrol engine pushing out 462 hp and 650 Nm of torque. The sprint from 0 – 100 km/h is done in a very respectable 5.4 seconds and the X7 50i will keep going until an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

During our test drive in California we had the opportunity to drive the two petrol variants. About the engines I can be very short; they provide sufficient power, torque and smooth gear changes. Paddles behind the wheel allow you to override the automatic gear changes although there is very little need to do that. The six-cylinder variant has a nice soundtrack already but for more emotion and power opt for the turbocharged V8.

Handling wise it is the typical direct BMW steering and stiffer ride that defines the X7. The limits of what it can do on twisty mountain roads are rather constraint by the brakes and lack of side support from the seats rather than it’s acceleration or cornering capabilities. But in the end hardly any customer will move this 2.4 tonnes+ luxury people carrier like the way we did on the press launch. For it’s purpose as a family daily driver and long haul machine it is pretty close to perfect.

The design of the new X7 is a hot debate topic and especially the new grill polarizes like no other design in recent years. I for one like the new more bold design. It is less subtle as BMW designs from the last decade but fits to a growing group of confident (young) buyers from the US and China in particular.

2020 BMW X7 xDrive 40i

The infotainment system is packed with options but can take some getting used to. The iDrive system was perfect when cars had infotainment systems with 100 functions but now that the available functions go into the thousands it is operating beyond it’s limits. It is time BMW creates a new OS from scratch that brings usability and logic on par with that of a smart phone – or Daimler’s MBUX for that matter.

The X7 also includes the latest driving assistance systems including adaptive cruise control and the latest version of the BMW traffic jam assistant which allows the car to accelerate, brake and steer without driver input up to a certain speed. Due to a recent UNECE regulation which put the EU and other countries back to the 20th century this system is only available in the US and China which did not sign the rule.

The BMW X7 is an interesting addition to the BMW portfolio and caters to a group of customers were not yet served with other products in the BMW line-up. The direct competitor is the Mercedes-Benz GLS but a comparison would be unfair at this point as the current GLS is at the end of its life-cycle. But the new one will be unveiled at the New York Auto Show in just a few weeks. So time will tell if the BMW X7 has what it takes to take the crown in this niche segment of XXL luxury SUVs.

2019 BMW Alpina B7 Officially Revealed

The facelift BMW 7 Series has only just been revealed. Alpina have wasted no time with the release of their Alpina B7’s, based on the platform of the facelifted model. Of course Alpina were able to get their hands on the new design early on account of their close relationship with BMW.

In essence, the new Alpina B7 is just a facelift of the old version. It features the new front grille, the vertical air breathers and the modified headlights of the 7 Series upon which it is based.

2019 BMW Alpina B7

Under the bonnet mild changes have been made. The 4.4 litre biturbo V8 engine gets larger turbines, new inter cooler connections and a tweaked engine management system. Power output remains the same though, pegged at 608 hp and 800 Nm. The modifications affect the delivery of that power with 100 km/h arriving 0.1 second quicker at 3.6 seconds. Top speed is an impressive 330 km/h.

The suspension is different too. It gets the same two-axle air suspension system, combined with Dynamic Damper Control and Active Comfort Drive. Alpina have different control systems though. For example, at 225 km/h, the new Sport+ Mode automatically reduces the B7’s ride height by 15 cm to reduce the centre of gravity. The variable-ratio electric steering system has been modified by Alpina too, it combines with the rear wheel steering for superior handling over the standard 7.

As you would expect, BMW’s updated interior tech is also available for the super saloon. The latest BMW iDrive 7.0 navigation system sits surrounded by Nappa Leather and subtle Alpina design touches. Sound isolation has also improved with new shielding in the rear wheel arches, enhanced sound insulation elements in the B-pillar area and 0.2 mm thicker window glass.

Pricing and availability for the Alpina B7 are yet to be released. It should be on display at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 which takes place next month so we will be sure to catch up with it then!

BMW iNEXT Full Electric SUV Begins Testing Ahead of 2021 Production

BMW have revealed photos of a prototype iNEXT testing on the ice fields of Sweden. The next-generation SUV is expected to make its debut in 2021 as the company’s technological flagship. Naturally, it will feature pure electric drive.

BMW’s iNEXT concept is based upon the Los Angeles Motor Show car we saw last year. The odd shaped concept car was said to form the building blocks for the future of the BMW Group. It builds upon the 2007 “project i” and the BMW i3 which form a standalone part of the BMW brand.


The BMW iNEXT will most likely serve as a replacement to the i3 platform. With SAV proportions, the iNEXT recognises the demand for larger vehicles. What’s more, there is a high level of demand for both electric and autonomous vehicles, the iNEXT makes use of both.

Of course, testing in the Polar Circle is highly important for an electric car. Whilst the effect of freezing temperatures is well known for most normal engines, battery power and electronic motors are less of a known commodity. Cold can affect charge, storage and application of energy and so it is essential that iNEXT generates some concrete data.


The photos also give some hope for BMW aficionados who did not like the design language of the concept. Although the pictured prototype is thoroughly camouflaged, it does look less controversial than the concept. Conventional SUV proportions, a more normal sized kidney grille and normal windows.


1982 BMW Alpina B7 S Turbo

This BMW beaut, now up for auction at RM Sotheby’s, is an Alpina B7 S. That’s a huge deal, and if you don’t know why, shame on you.

Just kidding. Of course, all vintage car fans know that Alpina makes high-performance versions of BMW cars. It’s been doing that for more than 50 years now, bringing spoked wheels and turbocharged motors to BMW’s otherwise vanilla models.

Suffice it to say that Alpina makes better BMW cars than BMW itself. You want proof? Look no further than the ride you see above, a 1982 Alpina B7 S. With its boxxy yet sleek corners and understated decals, this ride screams vintage.

But the car isn’t just about looks. Alpina didn’t skimp on the specs, that much its clear. We’re talking a twin-turbo 3.5-liter inline six that makes 330 horsepower. That’s not terribly impressive these days, of course. But those are insane numbers at the time and brought the car parallel to dedicated sports coupes of the era.

If you knew enough about Alpina, you wouldn’t be surprised at all. The automaker’s philosophy was that owning a sedan shouldn’t mean forgetting that you still deserve utmost speed and performance. As such, apart from the engine, Alpina threw in a lot of other upgrades for the Alpina B7 S. Like improvements to the suspension, new shocks, springs, and additional bracing, to boot.

This particular 1982 Alpina B7 S model is the 22nd made out of just a total of 60. We expect for hardcore vintage car collectors to eat this one up in no time. The car has been driven merely 36,000 miles, by the way. Owning it means also owning a thrilling chunk of the history of high-performance sedans.


Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

2020 BMW 7 Series

The 7 Series sedan is one of BMW’s most impressive staples, no doubt about that. Updated for 2020, this revamped lineup now gets a Twin Kidney Grille that’s 40% larger than the last model.

Change is hard, but often they’re necessary. The new design is either one you’ll love or hate, but do keep in mind that the increased opening provides more cooling for the motor and brakes. Form follows function.

That’s not to say the updated 7 Series sedan is hideous. Far from it, actually. You get redesigned headlights with adaptive LED technology, but you can get lasers if that’s more of your thing. BMW also freshened up the hood with a slightly reshaped design. Plus, the fenders are now a tad bit more muscular.

You can get the entry 740i model as a rear-wheel-drive, while the rest come with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Hop inside and you’ll find the latest-gen digital instrument cluster also found on the 8 Series and X5.

There will be new leather and trim options, says BMW. That’s on top of what the carmaker says is improved acoustic comfort. And by the way, there’s now wireless charging in front of the cup holders for easier access.

The top-dog V12 engine with its 600 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque is still king, of course. But for the budget-conscious, BMW introduces the re-engineered version of the 4.4-liter V8. It now generates an increased horsepower of 523 and up to 553 pound-feet of torque, much more than before.

At launch, you can get a hybrid option with the best of both worlds: a six-cylinder inline engine with 280 horsepower combined with an electric motor rated at 113 horsepower. Not too shabby.


Photos courtesy of BMW

BMW’s Next M3 and M4 Will Have Manual Gearbox

BMW Wants You To Row Your Own Gears

It seems BMW really wants to make the next M3 and M4 cars it produces into the true ultimate driving machines. I don’t know about you, but to me, that indicates the cars will come with a manual gearbox. Recently, CAR Magazine reported that both the M3 and M4 will come with a manual. 

Not all versions of the car will be available with a manual transmission, however. The cars in what the publication refers to as the “Pure” form will receive a stick shift. According to the publication, the Pure models are the base, bare-bones, all-about-driving cars. 

Image from BMW

Pure cars will come with a little less horsepower (according to CAR, 454 hp rather than 474 hp), and not as many frills and features as higher trim level vehicles. The word Pure, is just an internal designation at this point. BMW will likely come up with some new term that the marketing department has massaged into position. 

Those cars available with the manual transmission will be without all-wheel drive. Yep, you’ll only be able to get a stick if you’re cool with rear-wheel drive. That shouldn’t be too big of a deal, though, for the folks who want a manual. 

CAR also notes that the reason the cars will have less power and lack all-wheel drive is that BMW doesn’t have a manual that can handle the high levels of torque coming from the new twin-turbo straight-six engine. That’s the best reason I’ve ever heard, and I’ll be thrilled with the option of a good old six-speed and only about 450 hp.

BMW 7 Series Facelift Revealed – Gets Massive Kidney Grille

Following a series of leaks last week, the BMW 7 Series facelift had been officially revealed. It sports the controversial kidney grilles, as confirmed by the leaks last week, it also gains new interior appointments keeping it fresh on comfort and technology. There is nothing revolutionary but the updates should be enough to see the 7 Series through to the next generation model.

As you will no doubt gather from the pictures, the design of the front end is what has been capturing attention. The BMW 7 Series facelift now sits 50 millimetres taller with a new BMW kidney grille 40 percent larger than the outgoing model. It is inspired by the new BMW X7 of course, with the advantage that cooling is significantly improved in combination with larger outer air intakes.

Hidden next to the grille sits a set of slimmer headlights. BMW laserlight is available as an option and LED technology as standard. A larger BMW roundel sits above the grille. The bonnet receives a mild redesign with the lower front bumper also gaining a more modern look with chrome trim.

The front wings are also new, incorporating an upright air breather which optimises the airflow through the wheel arches. The wheels are new too, lighter than the outgoing models. BMW have included extra acoustic insulation around the rear arches to increase rear passenger comfort and the laminated side glass is thicker too.

At the back, a new 35 mm three-dimensional LED rear light has been installed with a full-width, 6 mm light bar below a chrome trim. The light strip is linked to the dartime driving lights and so it should operate at all times. The exhaust pipe trim is also larger for the facelift 7 Series with more chrome detailing.

Inside, the changes include a new leather steering wheel with new control panels for the driver assistance systems. A Bowers & Wilkins Diamond 3D Surround Sound option has been made available and the latest version of the BMW Live Cockpit Profession has been included as standard. Nappa Leather and increased quilting, together with new interior trim strips provide more options. Wireless charging and rear seat touchscreen entertainment are also on offer.

BMW have retained the V12 engine in the BMW M760Li xDrive. It gets a gasoline particulate filter and 585 hp. The BMW 750Li xDrive also returns with the 4.4 litre V8 engine and 530 hp, an additional 80 hp over the outgoing model. Three diesel engines are available with up to four turbochargers and outputs ranging from 265 hp to 400 hp. Plug-in hybrids also get increased all-electric range up to 50 – 58 kilometres (31 – 36 miles). The 740e ditches the four-cylinder engine in favour of a 3.0 litre 6-cylinder unit, named the BMW 745e.

Pricing for the BMW 7 Series facelift varies from country to country and depending on the model of course with details to be announced closer to launch.

2019 BMW X7

BMW just unveiled the X7, the German automaker’s first humongous radiator grille with a car attached to it. Just kidding. But look at that thing, it’s huge! No surprise it’s designed to compete with the full-fat Range Rover or the Mercedes GLS.

The car is 5,151mm long, 2,000mm wide, and 1,805mm tall, making this seven-seater monster BMW’s biggest SUV thus far. The biggest car you can ever own, at least in the UK, is a Range Rover. The BMW X7 is much, much larger.

The BMW X7 comes in two models, but both will feature three rows of seating for six or seven people depending on what configuration you choose. The first model will feature a 3.0L inline-six engine that’ll produce 335 horsepower while the second model will bump that up to 456 horsepower thanks to its 4.4L V8 engine. The former can hit zero to 60 in just 5.8 seconds while the latter can hit in just 5.2 seconds. Both cars, however, are limited to a speed of 130mph. AWD comes as standard.

You’ll also get a bunch of driver assist systems like Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Assist. If you want to take it even further, you can pay extra for optional additions like semi-autonomous systems, Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound, and the BMW Digital Key, which turns your smartphone into a car key for unlocking and starting your car.

Pricing starts at $73,900. Deliveries are expected to begin March 2019. Make sure to check back with Men’s Gear as we learn more.


Photos courtesy of BMW

Could BMW i8 Replacement Come Soon?

A New Electrified BMW Supercar? Yes Please

It seems BMW’s affinity for electrified powertrains will extend to new supercars in the future. There have been a few rumors of BMW working on a new EV supercar, but now it seems more likely. BMW R&D boss Klaus Froehlich sat down with Autocar and one of the topics he discussed is an electric supercar or at least a hybrid supercar much like the i8. 

“If you are an engineer, once in your life, you want to make a super-sports car,” Fröhlich told Autocar. “I think partial electrification will enable that.”

He pointed to the fact that BMW has the ability to build high-powered electric drive units, super light carbon fiber chassis, and high-performance gasoline engines. He said those three elements could be combined to make a supercar. 

What Will it be Like?

According to Autocar, the new model could compete directly with Ferrari and McLaren. It would have a much larger gasoline engine paired with high-powered electric motors and a carbon fiber chassis much like the i8’s. The car should have 700 hp so it can edge out the M8’s 620 hp and put the car at the top of BMW’s M-Division lineup. 

2011 BMW i8 Concept Gallery2011 BMW i8 Concept Gallery
An i8 replacement would be much more powerful.

That 700 hp mark sounds like a lot until you consider that Froehlich told Autocar the electric motors BMW produces should make 197 hp and 378 lb-ft of torque. Froehlich also said that BMW’s M-Division will eventually go fully electric, but that hybridization will play an important role moving forward.

With all that Froehlich said during the interview in mind, it’s clear that BMW sees electric cars as the future for high-performance vehicles. While BMW hasn’t officially released anything that explicitly says the i8 will be replaced by a much more powerful supercar, Froehlich’s interview is a clear sign of where things are heading. 

1975 BMW 2002 Turbo

The design of the car you see above might look a bit less dapper now, but this 2002 Turbo is actually a historic model for BMW. It was the first turbocharged car in Europe, if you must know. Plus, it singlehandedly helped launch what would become the automaker’s M performance tag. Suffice it to say it’s one of the true landmark heroes in the automobile world.

BMW took the 2002 chassis and bumped it to 170 horsepower by virtue of the KKK turbocharger with 0.55 overpressure. They also increased the compression from 6:9:1 to 9:5:1 and threw in an oil cooler for good measure. It fit in bigger breaks to cope with the increased engine power, then added a limited slip differential for improved high-speed cornering. You’re looking at the ultimate vintage car brought up to modern day standards.

That’s not all — BMW also went ahead and added huge wheel arch extensions for the ider 6J alloy wheels and 185/70 VR13 tires, and everything came together with the red instrument surround and turbo boost gauge and new sports seats that made the interior as intriguing as the exterior.

The 2002 Turbo you see above is an original model from the UK, with the car registered there in 1975. BMW only made 1,672 units; only 10 are roaming England to this day. This car was restored in the early ‘90s and has been in Carcoon storage for nearly two decades. Now, it’s time for this bad boy to hit the road again, and you can drive one around town for a cool $154,000.


Photos courtesy of Hexagon Classics

Manhart MH8 600: BMW M850i Gets 621hp Package

We have yet to see the BMW M8 and tuning companies have already playing with the current range topping M850i. Manhart Performance have today announced a performance program for the current range topping BMW 8 Series. We believe that they are the first to tackle the highly anticipated luxury GT car, presumably keen to capitalise on the wait for the M Powered model!

The BMW M850i uses BMW’s 4.4 litre V8 power plant. Fitted to the 8 Series, the engine is also expected to make its way into the new X5 M50i as well as the M550i next year. It makes sense for Manhart to get to grips with it as early as possible.

Manhart MH8 600

The modification at this early stage is limited to just software optimisation. The MHTronik software does wonders for the performance though! Power is boosted by 91 hp up to 621 hp and torque rises to 870 Nm. Both figures that provide serious rivalry to the upcoming M8. Performance figures haven’t been announced, needless to say, 10ths of seconds will have been lost from the 100 km/h sprint. With the limiter removed, top speed will also have improved.

Manhart’s improvements are cosmetic too. The M850i gets a new set of front and rear carbon fibre spoilers. It sits lower, on H&R springs with a set of 100 millimetre quad tailpipes venting from a new muffler. Manhart have even switched out the wheels for a new set of 21 inch units.

Pricing for all of these modifications should be available through Manhart direct. Expect more optimisation options to come in time.

2020 BMW M340i xDrive Revealed

BMW have released official details for the BMW M340i xDrive ahead of its release at the Los Angeles Motor Show 2018 which starts in two weeks. The 3 Series was officially unveiled a month ago at the Paris Motor Show. At that time, BMW had only released details of its four cylinder offering. For the Los Angeles show, BMW have unveiled a powerful straight six version!

The M340i has been released with in both rear wheel drive and xDrive formats. The current range topper gets a 3.0 litre. six cylinder engine producing 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. of torque. It will be the most potent 3 Series in the normal range. The M3 should be the next step up in terms of performance.

The power will propel the sedan to 60 mph in just 4.2 second. The engine features an aluminium crankcase and cylinder head with a new, single, twin scroll turbocharger. The engine benefits from a 25 % reduction in weight over the previous model which should transform performance.

The BMW M340i sits 10 mm lower to the ground thanks to the M Sport suspension (which also receive optional adaptive dampers) and a wider track. Visual enhancements include a new grille, rear spoiler and 18 inch alloys as standard. Inside, M Performance improvements are on offer with a new set of sports seats.

BMW M340i xDrive

2019 BMW Z4 M40i Review

Z is an extremely significant letter for BMW. The latest iteration of the Z4 has caused something of a stir, not for its 340hp twin-turbocharged 3-litre straight-six TwinPower unit, not for the 7min 55sec Nurburgring lap time, but because of an automotive icon called the Toyota Supra. The previous generation of the Z4 may have suave looks with its swooping lines and artsy interior, but the driving experience left enthusiasts wanting more. The same cannot be said for the last of the Supra that was unveiled way back in 1993, the year in which I was born. BMW and Toyota have developed this new Z4 in partnership with the forthcoming Supra, a project which allows a saving in cost and shared engineering knowledge and expertise. This is good.

Enough of the background, what’s the finished product like? Well, I’ll have to wait to comment on the Japanese Coupe offering and try the topless option that is the Z4 for now. There will be a handful of four cylinders soon, but for now it is the range topping Z4 M40i that is on offer for me to get my grubby mitts on – no complaints. You’ll probably know what comes with the M40i badge by now – the good old straight-six 3-litre with 340hp and 500Nm, pretty potent, but this is no Lotus with a weight of 1,480kgs, thankfully the 50:50 weight split helps mask it a little.

I am in Lisbon leaving the opulent Penha Longa resort the the roof down in search for some testing roads for the Roadster. First impressions are burbly with the M developed power unit clearing it’s throat on start up and gargling at every given lift off the throttle and downshift. It’s not just the acoustic pleasures that make the Z4 feel quick, the acceleration swells and the 4.6 to 100km/h time would is more than convincing. The 8-speed steptronic transmission is lightning fast and smooth. That is where the feel, unfortunately, seems to come a premature end.

The steering wheel doesn’t wriggle with feel in the palms and communication to the tires at either axle is fairly muted. For a sports car these are elements that are fundamental to the driving experience. It makes it difficult to gauge where the limits of adhesion are and where the understeer ends and the snap oversteer begins. Ease off a little and things make a lot more sense – soak in the views, listen to the pops and bangs, enjoy the blue skies and the wind running through you bald patch – life is good. The ride is brilliant courtesy of adaptive dampers. Even in Sport mode there is a softness to the suspension that is refreshing.

The cabin is great with pleasant ergonomics and the iDrive system is still fantastic. However, the horrible trend of making everything touch screen and making buttons touch sensitive continues to bug me. The screen carries nasty fingerprints that smear and show up in the sun and the touch buttons are annoyingly difficult to feel when you’re on the move focusing on the road.

What was ever wrong with an old fashioned button to change drive modes? Sorry to sound like a broken record, but the new digital dash might look badass to your 5 year old son, but the dials are a challenge to read without a needle, the new space displays information that is all then projected onto the heads up display. I digress – on a more positive note, the cabin does look cool and cohesive, it is a nice place to sit.

To my eyes, the good looks continue on the outside. Yes, it is not as dramatic as the concept car we all fell in love with, but production models rarely are. It looks muscular and imposing with the ever growing kidney grilles dominating the front end. There are nice details in the LED headlamps and it looks like a premium product. Speaking of premium products…the Porsche Boxster is undoubtedly going to be compared to the offering from BMW.

The 718 is only available with a 4-cylinder that has taken a beating as it had huge shoes that the 6-cylinder Boxster left to be filled. The M40i has a strong engine but the mid-engined Boxster is very alluring to sports car fans. As mentioned earlier, when you’re cruising or driving around town, what I imagine Z4s will spend most of their lives doing, the BMW is a compelling proposition and a fantastic cruiser. I would not be disappointed to own an Z4 M40i, just do not expect it to pump your veins with adrenaline or make you laugh with out loud with glee.

2019 BMW M850i Review

It has been a staggering 20 years since we last saw a BMW 8 Series roll of the production line in Germany. I was left salivating at the thought of seeing a new 8 Series hitting the streets after sighting the sensual swooping lines of the BMW Concept 8 Series at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017 – it was a pleasant surprise to see that the production ready 2019 BMW 8 Series on sale to the public carries the dramatic lines and sharp features of the concept. I flew over to Lisbon where the German manufacturer chucked me the keys to the 2019 BMW M850i to see what the sporty coupe had to offer.

Whilst admiring the vast proportions of the M850i before jumping in I asked myself a question – what exactly is this luxury yacht born to compete with? BMW call labelled the 8 Series the ‘Gentleman’s Racer’ – hmm, I’m not so sure. In my mind this is a large GT that I could see tempting buyers away from an S-Class coupe and a GT that would not really tickle the fancy of a focused 911 driver. Looking around the car, there is no doubting that it has some serious presence – its modern styling and ginormous grill give this thing presence, the vast dimensions command the attention of other road users. On the topic of all things HUGE, check out those exhaust surrounds, they would provide a small child the ultimate hiding space for a game of hide and seek. Unlike other manufacturers, BMW have opted to make the quad pipes behind them fairly visible and therefore slightly more acceptable. Let’s hope all models and not just the M850i are treated to the pipes…I suspect the diesel will not be.

So what exactly is the M850i packing? Serious heat, that’s what. The full fat M8 is to come – BMW confirmed that we will see the M8 Coupe, Convertible and Grand Coupe soon, but until they arrive the M850i will be the range topper with 530 horsepower and 750Nm of torque coming from a new 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8. Yum. Power is transferred to all four wheels using the xDrive system and a lightning fast yet silky smooth autobox. This results in a 0-100km/h time of just 3.7 seconds. Just imagine how outrageously fast the M8 will be…

Enough of the stats and staring, whats this V8 8er like to drive? Jump in, adjust the supremely comfortable seat and hit the ignition switch. Initial impression are brawny to say the least. In the default comfort mode the exhaust barks with intent, this statement is followed by a spattering of bangs – dramatic. Ahead of me is the all new BMW digital dash that we can expect to see across the model line up. Jazzy. You’ve probably seen the giant bejeweled gear selector before, it’s a bit chavvy in my eyes but I’m a little old fashioned. iDrive is touch screen and features a smorgasbord of new tech. It has gotten a little too complex but is still the best system in the industry in my humble opinion. Grab the giant jewel stick in it in D and away we go.

Comfort is…comfortable. It’s actually calming and serene. The GT credentials are immediately apparent and it makes me think that this car has been set up to munch miles like a 5 series and will struggle dynamically. As it to be right on cue, the preloaded navigation led me off the smooth Portuguese highway onto some of the prettiest passes I’ve ever seen time for some Sport+ me thinks.

Remember those pops and bangs on start up? In Sport+ they become more and more frequent and are amusing – not quite AMG levels of silliness. The engine tone is enough to inspire more fruity driving and the car transforms from a long distance cruiser to canyon bruiser. That being said, this is a heavy old brute. This is a two tonne car and BMW have tried their best to hide it with agility improving features such as electrically controlled dampers, active four-wheel steering, anti-roll and stiffer springs, honestly, it works, but you can still feel Newtons laws at work.

On a damp squiggle of a road, the xDrive makes its presence known allowing for over zealous application of the throttle with little drama, much speed and delicious engine/exhaust parp. It will make you giggle. I eventually ran out of road as I approached the gates of somewhere a little bit special – Circuito do Estoril. In my mind, this was going to be a wee bit irrelevant. As alluded to earlier, in my eyes this is a car for crushing long distances in with ease and not something that should be hunting for apexes on a racetrack where Ayrton Senna won his first Grandprix.

Apparently I was wrong. Heading out of the pitlane onto the damp Estoril track was something of a revelation. I was following none other than racing legend Philipp Eng piloting an M5 Competition.

Philipp could have left me in his wake at the drop of a hat, but the M850i really was not embarrassed by the most potent M5 ever. Through the corners the all-wheel-drive did not dull but instead aided the capabilities of the 8 Series and the four wheel steering effects were pronounced in the tighter bends.

BMW dubbed the 8 Series as ‘The Gentleman’s Racer’ a big claim and one I approached with a fair bit of skepticism. Following a full day on the road and track is it clear that with the use of dynamic aids and clever engineering this is one of the best rounded cars on sale today. It offers so much in terms of usability and dynamic entertainment. Yes, it could be slightly more engaging on the street, the steering is a little numb and there isn’t a lot of feedback on the whole, but this is what the M6 will surely offer.

2019 BMW 3-Series (G20) Officially Revealed

The BMW 3 Series is a very important car for BMW. Now in its seventh generation, the 3 Series saloon has traditionally been one of the biggest selling models IN BMW’s extensive range. The seventh generation car debuts today at the Paris Motor Show 2018. It gets a revised look that doesn’t differ too dramatically from the previous generation, reduced weight and new standard options.

The 3 Series was first launched in 1975, making it 43 years old this year. The new car is 85 millimetres longer than its predecessor, 16 millimetres wider and just 1 mm taller. The wheelbase is 41 millimetres longer and 43 mm wider at the front, 21 mm wider at the rear.

The 3 Series retains the BMW kidney grille, framed by a single surround and split with wide bars. The customary BMW twin headlights are also apparent. Both the front foglights and the Air Curtains are integrated into the outer air intakes. The ‘Hofmeister kink’ is now integrated into the C- pillar, giving the rear doors a “freestanding” glass edge.

The chassis features 25 per cent increased rigidity and, overall, some 55kg have been shed from the weight, 20 kg from the body along and 7.5 kg from the subframe. M Sport models will get electrically controlled dampers switchable between Comfort, Sport and Adaptive.

Engines will include a BMW 330i and the BMW 320d, both with four cylinder power units. The 320d gets 190hp and a peak torque of 400Nm for a 6.8 second 100 km/h sprint. The 330i, 258 hp and 400 Nm of torque with a 100 km/h time of 5.8 seconds.

The 3 Series will feature a new generation of six-speed manual gearbox and an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The diesel power unit gets an xDrive all-wheel-drive system from launch.

Inside, the instrument panel has a modern look. The instrument cluster is new and the control display completes the grouping. The transmission tunnel does feature a conventional iDrive controller after all, leaked photos had suggested otherwise. Boot capacity is 480 litres.

There is more standard equipment than ever before. The entry level SE model features Extended LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, BMW Light Carpet, interior Ambient Lighting with up to 11 colour settings, reversing camera and latest generation reversing assistant, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing.

All 3 Series models will benefit from 40:20:40 split folding rear seats and folding rear headrests as standard. The entry model features a leather Sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with an 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.17 inch wheels are standard too.

The M Sport models get larger air intakes and a different bumper, side skirt and rear apron design. BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim, kidney grille bars in High-gloss Black, air intake trim in High-gloss Black and a rear diffuser in Dark Shadow are also available together with Sports seats, an M leather steering wheel, an anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headliner and interior trim strips in Aluminium.

From launch, customers can choose from two non-metallic colours and ten metallic shades including Portimao Blue metallic which is unique to the M Sport model.

The new BMW 3 Series goes on sale from 9 March 2019 with prices starting from £33,610.

BMW Vision iNEXT Officially Revealed

BMW have announced a new concept car, the BMW Vision iNEXT. It is said to form the building blocks for the future of the BMW Group. Addressing the question: “How will we be moving around in future?”, the iNEXT builds on the 2007 “project i” and the BMW i3. At a time when electric cars and futuristic forms of mobility are key talking points, BMW hope the concept will steer their future approach.

Whilst a concept today, the BMW iNEXT presents a vision of a vehicle BMW will bring to market in 2021, most likely as a replacement to the i3 platform. The press release appears to confirm that the BMW iNEXT will be a new technology flagship for BMW.

The BMW iNEXT gets BMW SAV proportions with a futuristic Liquid Greyrose Copper exterior colour scheme that changes between warm copper and dark rose. The design incorporates a large, interlinked double-kidney grille and a side window graphic, the blue accent surfaces at the front, sides and rear hark back to the BMW i Vision Dynamics design language.

As electric cars do not require cooling, the kidney element now serves as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. Many of the parts have been 3D printed while the front gets super-slim headlights.

The iNEXT has large 24-inch wheels and the traditional concept trick of cameras for the exterior mirrors. Illuminated touch sensitive panels replace door handles and the two doors open towards each other, dispensing with the B-pillar. Plenty of carbon fibre has been incorporated into the structure.

Inside, the BMW Vision iNEXT driver can choose to either drive themselves (in “Boost” mode) or be driven (“Ease” mode). In “Boost” mode, the steering wheel and displays are positioned clearly towards the driver. When “Ease” mode is engaged, the driver’s immediate environment changes: the steering wheel retracts slightly, creating a more open sense of space. The display panels switch from driving-related content to “Exploration Mode”, which provides the driver and passengers with suggestions of places and events in the surrounding area that could be of interest to them. The front seat head restraints can also be folded back, allowing the people in the front to communicate more effectively with the passengers in the rear.

The centre console between the front seats uses a matt, open-pore wood finish. Handwoven Enlighted Cloudburst Jacquard cloth extends across entire seat area and into the side panelling. There are no screens or controls anywhere other than in the steering wheel and drivers area. Intelligent technology is integrated out of sight. For example, BMW propose that various functions might be operated through wood or cloth surfaces in the near future.

No performance details have been released yet, the release talks only of the technological implications of the design study.

2019 BMW Z4 M40i Leaked ahead of Pebble Beach

A series of photos appear to have leaked showing the front, rear and side profile of the new BMW Z4. The Z4 is eagerly awaited. It is a joint project between Toyota and BMW which should also see the Toyota Supra receive the same platform. The legendary status of the Supra name creates an immense amount of speculation that the new BMW Z4 could have some real performance credentials.

The current BMW Z4, the sixth generation Z car, has been around since 2009. The new version is expected to debut this month during Monterey Car Week. The photos reveal the look of the BMW Z4 M40i. They show a car which retains many of the features of the 2017 Z4 Concept including the rear and the large front wheel vent.

The photos show a grille which is more upright and looks larger thanks to the black surround. The front air intakes also incorporate larger air blades. The rear looks almost exactly the same as the concept car. Whilst there are no interior shots, we do expect that BMW will cram the cabin with its latest technology.

The pictures tie in closely to the patent images we shared last month. It is now believed that the patent images show the entry level model while these photos show the top of the range model.

As we recently revealed, BMW have opted to use the M40i drivetrain as the top of the range meaning no M Performance version. The BMW Z4 M40i will almost certainly get a 3.0 litre inline 6, turbocharged to give 335 hp in the Europe and 382 hp in the US.