All posts in “BMW”

Just the Beginning: More Wild BMW Designs are on the Way

For every new model they have released in the past few months, BMW design has been questioned over and over. The Bavarian brand has always positioned itself as a trend setter in the industry, focusing on leading where others dare not to follow.

BMW decided to take on a new broad approach to their designs, it all started with big grilles on cars like the 7 series and the X7. The condemnations were plenty, but the brand that pioneered the SUV coupe craze wasn’t just going to give up because of a few internet comments. In fact they stood by their design language, and further launched the new 4 Series with an even bigger grille.

BMW 4 Series Big Grille

When confronted about the controversial designs, BMW has been rather straightforward. They stand by it, and welcome the future of bold stylings. China is their biggest market, and one of the main reasons for this approach is because most buyers from this region are buying into bold designs. Additionally, BMW has done big grilles before, as seen on the 328 of the 1930s. Fast forward to 2010s, big grilles have been prevalent among many car makers – Lexus, Toyota and several American brands.

2020 Lexus LC 500 Big Grille
2020 Lexus LC 500

So what’s next for the Ultimate Driving Machine? Well, these renders are based on recent spy shots for both the X7 facelift, next gen BMW 7 Series and the upcoming BMW X8. They all point towards a split headlight design. A design that wouldn’t be entirely new in the industry, in fact the Skoda Kamiq has one.

BMW 7 Series
Render by BMW43
BMW X7 Facelift
Render by Kolesa
BMW X8
Render by Kolesa

This would also mean that BMW is not stopping at the big grilles, we should therefore expect more surprises in coming months.

Skoda Kamiq
Skoda Kamiq

2021 BMW iX3 Review

I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of electric cars. Having experienced battery powered offerings ranging from the Renault Zoe to the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, I can categorically say that I am not ready to drop my addiction to fossil juice for the volt life. That being said, there are a few applications in which I can picture myself driving an electric car – short, mundane and preplanned journeys. I have suffered from the stress and anguish of range anxiety on road Trips on which I’ve spent more time staring at the battery percentage and range than I did enjoying the views or fabulous roads.

The BMW iX3 is not intended to be used for cross country cruises or for blasting up mountain passes. This is a car for the school run, weekly shop and the odd trip to visit friends and family on the weekends. That is not to say it cannot cross continents, it can but there are other X3s better suited to such applications. This is the first BMW model to be available with petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid or full EV powertrains to choose from.

With ‘the power of choice’ in mind, I hit the road in the iX3 to see what this 286 horsepower ‘Sport Activity Vehicle’ with a claimed WLTP range of 460 kilometres felt like. I tried to be sensible and drive in a fashion I imagine a buyer of such a car would, but as with all electric cars, I immediately engaged sport mode and floored it. The instant torque was amusing, the way that 2.2 tonnes shifted was impressive and the accompanying, configurable ‘drive sound’ added some character. 0-100km/h is dispatched in a respectable 6.8 seconds with the top speed capped at 180.

After a few accelerations the novelty wore off and I set about driving the car the way it was intended to be. I turned my attention to the braking regeneration options starting with ‘one-pedal’ driving. This was surprisingly good fun, I challenged myself to not use the brake pedal at all, it took some focus but was achievable after a few minutes of experimentation. I could not get comfortable with was the ‘adaptive’ mode where the braking force would automatically adjust itself using the navigation system to bring the car to a standstill without using the brakes. The level two autonomous systems worked brilliantly, only requiring assistance at traffic lights, roundabouts and coming to a stop with no car ahead of you on the road. I found myself trusting the systems almost immediately. The steering was accurate and did not have iX3 bouncing between the white lines.

When the twisty roads between towns presented themselves, I took control and engaged sport mode with maximum regeneration and found myself having much more fun than expected. Yes, the inherent feel and feedback in minimal, but the steering is quick and sharp and when applying max power out of bends there were noticeable rear-wheel-drive characteristics to be felt. Back to real world testing – the iX3 handled its weight with grace, the ride was firm in sport but the adaptive dampers meant this could easily be remedied. Being electric meant that wind and road noise could be intrusive at higher autobahn speeds, but not to uncomfortable levels. The cabin was well appointed and the usual BMW iDrive goodies are all you could want from an infotainment system. You could never tell this is a BMW that had been built in China. There was almost as much space as in a conventionally powered X3, the only difference was the marginally shallower boot as the electric motors hid beneath the boot floor.

As mentioned in the opening of this review, I can see the application and allure of having an electric car and this 150kW offering which can be charged from 0-80% in 34 minutes on an IONITY fast charger, certainly makes a case for itself. It is as comfortable and capable as I hoped with an added sense of humour. If you’re in the market for an electric family car that can take care of your simple commutes this may well be the car for you!

2020 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupé Review

Size matters – but does 200mm make a difference? This seemingly small measure is what differentiates the 2020 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupé from the M8, minus the GC nomenclature. However, 200mm means this M8 can accommodate an extra pair of doors and seating for five. With four in the back things are habitable. Headroom is not great, but if you wiggle them around a bit, two 6-foot adults could handle a long journey back there. You can try and shoehorn a fifth in, but they have to straddle the central armrest and make everything a little too cosy in the back seats.

Enough of the practicalities, this is an M car and all I care about is how this massive twin-turbo V8 powered 625bhp brute performs. With xDrive 553lb ft, and 0-100 banished in a supercar worthy 3.2 seconds, the numbers look good near identical to the two-door, making it BMW’s equal-fastest production model.

The xDrive means the power can be utilised, even on the road and in almost any conditions. However, weighing in at 2,055 kilograms means that this is a car which you have to consider the laws of physics in. The way speed builds is borderline scary and you’ll swear that the speedometer is making things up as the numbers rapidly approach and fly past legal limits. With a bewildering number of settings for the steering, engine, suspension and exhaust, you’ll have to find what suits you. With everything in the most aggressive settings things are a handful and the car bounces up and over bumps. Knock the suspension back into comfort and leave everything in full attack mode with the traction control in M Dynamic Mode and you’ll be having a fabulous time. The traction control system in MDM means you can apply proper slip angles on the throttle and let the xDrive system display a true sense of humour. You can, of course go to fourth base and engage rear-wheel-drive mode, but with the weight and all of that power I was not brave enough to explore this on a wet British country road, there is no way to have 100% of the power being sent to the rear with any assistance systems engaged, you are on your own.

The M8 Competition Gran Coupé does handle surprisingly well for a car of this size, I would argue that it is a viable alternative to the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door which is worthy praise, indeed. There is a surprising amount of feedback in a car this size, but do not expect it to be as engaging as a BMW M2 CS, this is still designed to be a comfortable daily driver. This is where the M8 Competition Gran Coupé excels. The way it can be transformed from a taught speed freak into a sedate city cruiser with undeniable presence is astonishing and impressive in equal measure.

As great as a cruiser/daily driver the M8 Competition Gran Coupé is, it cannot disguise its large dimensions. The M8 coupe felt like a big car with a surprisingly small cabin and the M8 Competition Gran Coupé is not much different. On the road is looks large, I caught a glimpse of the reflection of myself in a shop window and laughed at how gargantuan the car looked. I also noticed that the car is a very good looking thing, to my eye anyway. The interior is a fantastic place to soak up the miles with all of the latest tech you could come to expect from a car priced at more than €130,000.

I would strongly recommend the M8 Competition Gran Coupé. It offers supercar performance, saloon car usability and a compelling breadth of ability. The biggest problem with the M8 Competition Gran Coupé is the BMW M5 Competition. It fulfils the same philosophy at a much lesser price. If I had the choice and did not have to consider price, the striking design and imposing face of the M8 Competition Gran Coupé would have my vote, but both would be a pleasure to own.

2020 BMW M440i xDrive Coupe Review

Don’t judge a book by its cover is the phrase I repeated in my head as I approached the 2020 BMW 4 Series Coupé, the M440i xDrive to be specific. The 4 Series caused something more akin to a tsunami than a stir when the covers were pulled back in May 2020. The design may polarise, but there is more to any BMW than its design. After all, these are supposedly the ‘ultimate driving machines’. The M3 and M4 recently broke cover and I hope to drive them shortly, but for now it is this, the M440i xDrive that is the range topper.

Having driven the M340i xDrive on track last year, my expectations of how the car would drive were high. The numbers look good, too. With a mild-hybrid-assisted 3-litre turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine and standard xDrive, the M440i puts out 374 horsepower. This includes the 11 horsepower that the 48v system can apply to aid acceleration and economy. This means 0-100km/h is dispatched in a respectable 4.5 seconds – plenty fast for an M Performance model.

There is the typical BMW 50:50 weight distribution and the car feels handy on the twisty country roads around Oxford. That being said, when starting to push on there is a hint of understeer. The xDrive promises to shuffle power between the wheels but often felt overwhelmed, perhaps the car would be better suited to more open flowing roads than tight country lanes to display its true dynamic traits. The benefit of xDrive is, of course, the all-weather usability that was once the USP of Audis.

There is an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission which proved to be slick and quick, straight line acceleration felt strong, although the only sign of the 11hp boost being deployed from the mild-hybrid-system was the dashboard letting me know. The steering, like with so many modern cars lacked any discernible feedback and the weighting felt artificial. The same can be said for the synthesised noise that was so obviously being emitted from the speakers.

In the real world these are unlikely to ever be issues or concerns for aspiring buyers. Owners of a 2020 BMW M440i xDrive Coupé are not looking for hardcore thrills and a car that bristles with feel, these are cars that will be driven everyday, have to go to the supermarket and be comfortable over long journeys. On that note, the ride over broken tarmac was a touch harsh – seeing M Sport suspension on the spec list always sends alarm bells ringing, but these are adjustable and much better when set into comfort mode. The interior is familiar BMW with all the tech you could want with fancy bells and whistles such as gesture control and a host of driver assistance systems being offered.

Assuming that potential buyers are not put off by the styling or the price (the car I drove was priced up to an eye-watering £61,100), I am sure that the M440i xDrive Coupé will be a sales success. From my time behind the wheel it is clear that this will be a practical, enjoyable and exciting daily driver. I guess the thrills, adrenaline rushes and track day credentials will be served up by the fistful in the eagerly anticipated M3 and M4.

The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera leads this month’s list of discounts

The average price of a new car in America last year was $35,932. This month, the biggest discount off the retail price of a new car in America is awfully close to that figure at $34,001. For those keeping track (as we do every month with a post like this one), that’s by far the largest discount we’ve seen so far this year, and it means buyers of the 2020 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera are paying an average transaction price of $273,819.

The British automaker calls the DBS “the ultimate production Aston Martin.” With a 715-horsepower V12 engine pulsating underhood, sufficient to push this grand touring coupe from 0-60 in a skosh over 3 seconds and on to a top speed of 211 miles per hour, who are we to argue?

If that’s too rich for your blood — and let’s be honest, it’s still a whole heck of a lotta money — the next biggest discount might be at least a little more attractive. According to data provided by TrueCar, buyers of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT are seeing discounts of $23,103 off the car’s average sticker price of $159,995. That’s a heck of a lot of car for $136,892, though admittedly still expensive. But at 14.4% off retail, it’s a better deal than the $132,122 average transaction price of the 2020 BMW M8. The BMW’s $16,497 discount equals 11.1% off the M8‘s $148,619 sticker.

For a look at the best new car deals in America based on the percentage discount off their suggested asking prices, check out our monthly recap here. And when you’re ready to buy, click here for the Autoblog Smart Buy program, which brings you a hassle-free buying experience with over 9,000 Certified Dealers nationwide.

Radical BMW M3 and BMW M4 Officially Revealed

The new BMW M3 and BMW M4 have officially debuted. They must be the most talked about models in BMW’s history, owing to BMW’s new grille design.

Looking past that controversy though, there is plenty to like about the next-generation BMW M3 and BMW M4.

BMW M3 and BMW M4: Highlights

2021 BMW M3 and M4

– Powered by a 3.0 litre six-cylinder engine, producing 480 hp or 510 hp for the Competition model.
– Kidney grille allows improved air flow
– Carbon fibre roof and flared wheel arches
– Adaptive suspension and electronic dampers
– BMW Live Cockpit Professional
– Optional M Carbon Bucket Seats

BMW M3 and BMW M4: Engine and Chassis

2021 BMW M4 Exhaust Tips

Both cars are powered by a 3.0 litre, six-cylinder engine which comes in two flavours; a standard model and a Competition model. The former produces 480 hp, the latter, 510 hp.

In the BMW M3 Sedan, the 100 km/h sprint times are 4.2 seconds and 3.9 seconds respectively. The M4 Coupe manages the same statistics.

Customers will have the choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. BMW plan to release a version which uses the xDrive all-wheel-drive system in summer 2021.

xDrive models will get an Active M Differential, rear-wheel-biased setup, with three selectable modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD.

The suspension is adaptive with electronically controlled shock absorbers and M Servotronic steering. There is a new integrated braking system with two settings for pedal feel and response. M Compound brakes come as standard, with M Carbon ceramic brakes optional.

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) includes an M Dynamic Mode and, for the first time, integrated wheel slip limitation and M Traction Control adjustable through ten stages.

BMW M3 and BMW M4: Design

Green 2021 BMW M3

Both models get distinct designs. To start with the most obvious feature, the new frameless kidney grille. It gets horizontal bars, as opposed to the traditional vertical versions.

Typical BMW wheel arch flares give both cars the M-car look, alongside M gills, side sill extensions and new front and rear aprons.

Both BMW M3 and BMW M4 get a carbon-fibre roof with aerodynamically optimised fins. There is a small rear spoiler and a familiar quad tailpipe. BMW offer a range of new, exclusive exterior paint finishes and M Carbon exterior package and BMW M Performance Parts available as options.

BMW M3 and BMW M4: Interior

2021 BMW M4 Seats

BMW’s interior is an improved version of the 4-Series interior we saw a few months ago. Both cars get BMW Live Cockpit Professional with fully digital display grouping, BMW Maps navigation system and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant as standard.

There is a significantly expanded selection of driver assistance systems. Park Distance Control, Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Speed Limit Info are fitted as standard. Options include Driving Assistant Professional with Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Active Navigation, Emergency Lane Assistant, Parking Assistant with Reversing Assistant, BMW Drive Recorder and BMW Head-Up Display with M-specific displays.

There are M-specific control/operating concept with Setup button for direct access to the settings for the engine, chassis, steering and braking system. The two steering-wheel mounted M buttons return.

There is a choice of seat designs too. They include a newly developed M sport seat with fine-grain Merino leather trim and an impressive new M Carbon bucket seat, shown here in the BMW M4.

BMW M4 Photo Gallery

BMW M3 Photo Gallery

Robert Downey, Jr.’s SpeedKore 1974 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe

At this point, it’s impossible to deny the fact that Wisconsin-based SpeedKore makes anything but the best American muscle on the market. Case in point–their 1970 Dodge Charger, 1970 Dodge Charger Tantrum or Robert Downey Jr.’s…

What’s hiding beneath this mystery BMW M8 mule?

Spy photos of a mystery BMW M8 mule being tested at the Nürburgring could be our first glance at BMW’s rumored 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid. The demise of BMW’s mid-engine i8 plug-in hybrid with no news of a direct replacement led us to wonder what BMW really has in store for the future of the formula, but if this early prototype is anything to go on, it may be alive and well. We’re not sure what BMW plans to call its next round of all-electric and plug-in variants, but whatever it ends up being called, the prospect is certainly fascinating. 

Let’s start with what we’re looking at. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill BMW M8 with some camouflage over the front and rear, which is about what you’d expect to see from a company that is likely developing alternative bodywork for a mid-cycle update or a new appearance package. Looking more closely, however, we see the strategic tinting of the rear window glass along with very obvious air intake vents where the rear side windows should be. Translation? There’s something back there that 1) needs air flow and 2) BMW doesn’t want us to see. 

To further grease the skids, our spies tell us that the engine in this car did not sound anything like the V8 found under the hood of either the BMW M8 or its racing variant, the M8 GTE, which carries over the former’s front-engine layout. In fact, the spy even referred to the sound as “unusual,” which could just be good salesmanship, but the fact of the matter remains that whatever is under there, it’s not from an M8, or any other 8 Series derivative currently known to us. 

Conveniently, all of the things that make this an unlikely M8 variant, from the mid-engine layout to the unconventional exhaust note, make a compelling case for it as a revival of BMW’s plug-in flagship. Even the wheels appear strikingly similar to those on the BMW Vision M Next concept the company showed at Frankfurt last year, which was said to be a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 600 horsepower. BMW claimed it could do 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph and boasting 62 miles of all-electric range. 

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2020 BMW M2 CS Review

The BMW M2 CS: this is the one I’ve been waiting for. When I first drove the M2 in early 2016, I was perplexed by the choice BMW M made to not drop the M3/4 engine into the M2. A remedy arrived in 2018 with the M2 Competition and the introduction of the S55 from the F80 & F82. On the launch I questioned BMW M directors as to why there was no option of adaptive dampers in the baby M car. It was openly discussed that it was a key differentiator between the M2 and it’s bigger brothers with which it shared an engine. 

The M3 and M4 are no longer in production and finally, the M2 can be uncorked without fear of it showing up the big boys – meet the M2 CS. It’s got the same S55 as the now discontinued M2 Competition, but it’s putting out the same 444bhp as the F80/82 (up from 404), torque remains unchanged at 406lb ft. As mentioned, it comes with the welcome addition of adaptive dampers and even a carbon roof which is constructed using a stunning chequer board weave. Furthermore, carbon ceramics can be optioned for the first time on an M2 and that’s not where the carbon ends. Inside there are massive lengths of the shiny stuff on both sides of the central tunnel and door handles. Back on the outside, the entire bonnet is carbon and vented, the entire is part is a carbon copy of the one used for the CS Clubsport customer racing car. At the back there is a sizeable spoiler made of carbon that is so tall it can be seen in the rear view mirror. Furthermore, the front splitter and rear diffuser are also constructed out of motorsport inspired material.

Enough of the brochure talk, what is the M2 CS like to drive? It is certainly a step on from the M2 Competition and a large part of that is down to the dampers. As with the steering and engine, there are three settings – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, Sport being the default setting when firing the car up. Comfort is where thing are noticeably different, the secondary ride relating to the handling of lumps and bumps brings a new level of composure to the M2 and the way it handles itself when attacking a bumpy road.

Where the original M2 would be bouncing around like a rabbit on a pogo stick, the M2 CS remains calm and collected bringing greater confidence levels which allow the fun to continue over less accommodating tarmac. Sport is well judged and deployable on a good road surface, Sport Plus is best reserved for the track. The engine and dual-clutch transmission are as brilliant as in the Competition but with an added punch in the sportier modes. For those looking for freedom from the electronic nannies, the M Dynamic Mode allows for more slip’n’slide in the M2 CS before cutting in to stop you making it into a YouTube crash compilation. That being said, you’ll have to be on your worst behaviour to unstick the CS now that it is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber that makes the a significant difference over an M2 Competition and its Pilot Sport 4S compound. The optional carbon ceramics are supreme and the gold callipers look fabulous, to my eyes anyway. 

Much like the M2 Competition, this car wants to be driven hard. The harder you push the M2 CS the more you can feel the additional hardware at work. After my first spirited drive I was not convinced and wanted more, it felt like an M2 Competition. A 5am spanking the next morning revealed just how impressive it is when you really put the M2 CS through the wringer. The front axle grip is beyond belief, turn it in and grips and goes. This is an M2 turned up to 11.

But it is not perfect. The Comfort steering mode is too light and Sport too heavy, Sport plus is best left unused. The interior could be more exciting, the main difference in the CS is the removal of the armrest along with its storage space and the added carbon and alcantara. The steering wheel is still very thick, it can be forgiven as the seating position is sublime. The most significant gripe is the disappointing exhaust tone, although the same can be said for almost any car fitted with particulate filters. 

All up, the changes are significant, but there is an elephant in the room. The M3 & M4 CS were released with a hefty premium over the standard models. The used market for these cars reflects what many believe to be their true values. When new the M4 CS without costly options such as ceramic brakes, cost £87,150. A 5,000 mile used M4 CS can be yours for £57,000 just two years on. The production run of the M2 CS is limited by time not a set number, the base price is £72,600 before options. After adding a the DCT box, carbon ceramics, electric seats and reverse camera, the car I tested came in at an eye watering £83,260 with taxes and fees. That puts it in the direct line of fire of a Cayman GT4, although the GT4 arguably appeals to a different audience with no rear seats and mid-engined layout.  

Without a doubt, the M2 CS is an incredibly exciting proposition. It is one of the best M products I have ever driven, the move from passive to adaptive dampers combined with the boost in power and addition of Michelin Cup 2s really has brought out the best in the M2 chassis. I suspect I would be walking into a BMW dealer to register my interest if I had been given the manual press car to play with, but the price tag sours the package. If the rumours are true and production numbers are very limited, this may become a collectors special. If you can swallow the price and fancy an incredible drivers car, go out and get one – preferably in Misano Blue with gold wheels. If it isn’t justifiable for you, don’t fret, an M2 Competition will give you almost as much joy for substantially less cash. BMW have done brilliantly with the M2 CS (and the Competition). Let’s see what the next generation M2 has to offer, it has big boots to fill.

BMW Begins Development of M3 Touring… due in 2022

It’s been a bone of contention with BMW fans for many years. It’s possible to get a Sedan and Coupe variant of the M3 (or M4 as the Coupe is now known), why is can’t BMW produce a BMW M3 Touring?

It appears BMW have been listening. Yesterday, it released a teaser image, confirming that a prototype had left the factory to begin its testing phase.

BMW’s estate-bodied M-cars are among its most sought after. The combination of power, space and practicality magnetises petrol-heads like nothing else.

BMW M3 Touring Render

Since BMW’s E61 M5 Touring, there has been a hole in the market. BMW has finally decided to fill this with a new BMW M3 Touring, the first in the long history of the M3 brand.

A press release asks “How about an extra-large and highly variable luggage compartment in a high-performance sports car?”

Specifications for the BMW M3 are all but revealed. Early prototype drives confirm that the 3.0 litre inline-6 will be tuned to produce up to 510 hp in Competition trim.

The all-new BMW M4 Coupe and the new BMW M3 Sedan will be celebrating its world premiere in September. The M4 Convertible will follow next year. The M3 Touring will follow in 2022.

BMW iX3: Full Electric BMW X3 Revealed

BMW pioneered many electric car segments. Yet it’s not until now that it reveals a competitor for the most popular. The BMW iX3 marks BMW’s first attempt at an all-electric SUV.

It is also the first time BMW has applied BMW I technology in a model from the BMW core brand. Of course, the BMW iX3 is a variety of BMW’s X3 model range. As such, the X3 is now available with a petrol or diesel engine, plug-in hybrid drive system or all-electric drive system.

The BMW iX3 is the first BMW to be produced for export at its Shenyang manufacturing facility in China. The majority of BMW’s X3 range is built elsewhere at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, United States.

The BMW iX3 benefits from progress with BMW’s core electric systems. Power density is increased by 30 per cent over the BMW Group’s existing fully electric vehicles. Operating range, weight, installation space requirement and flexibility are all improved.

BMW has worked on packaging of its parts. Electric motor, power electronics and transmission are all arranged in a central housing for the first time.

The electronic motors produce 286 hp and 400 Nm of torque. It hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). The majority of the power is routed to the rear for a proper BMW experience.

The batteries carry the iX3 a respectable 460 kilometres (285 miles) in the statutory new WLTP test cycle (up to 520 kilometres (323 miles) in the NEDC test cycle).

2021 BMW iX3 Rear

It uses Active Recuperation too, alongside Brake Energy Regeneration. At the suspension end, Adaptive suspension comes as standard.

BMW has opted to install a sound generator, named BMW IconicSounds Electric. The press release claims it has been developed in collaboration with Hans Zimmer. It will be interesting to see hear what this sounds like.

Thankfully, the BMW iX3 also gets a more conventional look than some of BMW’s other contemporary models. Key features include a new grille, re-designed front facia, blue accents and a re-designed rear apron.

Otherwise, the BMW iX3 contains all of the usual interior refinements. BMW Live Cockpit Professional with BMW Maps cloud-based navigation system and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, all standard.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Leaked Ahead of Next Week’s Debut

First of all, the grille is here to stay. Secondly, it’s everything we saw on the BMW Concept 4 which was 85% production car at the time of it’s reveal. BMW says that the new age of car buyers want something bold, especially their bigger Chinese market. Bold means bigger proportions. The recent move to larger grilles can also be seen as an evolution of the early BMW cars such as the 328 of the 1930s.

BMW 328
The BMW 328 of the 1930s

The reveal of the 2021 BMW 4 Series will take place next week on June 3rd. The corona pandemic is still a hindrance and that means the debut will take place online.

Reveal Date: Tuesday June 2nd, 6pm, Central European Summer Time

Acura NSX, a pair of 2 Series Gran Coupes and a time machine | Autoblog Podcast #628

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they’re driving a 2020 Acura NSX, two versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (M235i and 228i) and the updated 2020 Honda Civic Si. Then, the gang gets to talking about what they’d drive in 1975 and 1985, along with plenty of other tangents. Finally, they wrap it up with news about the upcoming 2021 Acura TLX Type S and the fate of this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

Autoblog Podcast #628

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2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo has the biggest price discount in America

Right now, buyers of the 2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo are paying an average of $248,000 to drive the brand-new supercar off the dealer lot. That’s a hefty chunk of change, but it represents $16,269 off the car’s average $264,969 retail price, according to data provided to Autoblog by Truecar. That’s the largest discount in America on a new vehicle for the month of April, 2020 when judged by the dollar amount in savings off the sticker.

It’s not all that uncommon to see a lot of money taken off the sticker price of expensive luxury cars. This month, right behind the Lamborghini sits the 2019 BMW 8 Series with a few bucks shy of $11,000 in savings, which is hardly surprising. Though it’s a very sleek and entertaining car in some of its various incarnations, it hasn’t exactly proven to be a hot seller for the German automaker. The fact that there are a total of 15 (!) possible configurations probably doesn’t help. Two other BMWs, the 2020 7 Series ($10,164 in savings) and the 2019 i8 ($10,145) are also on the top 10 biggest discounts list.

In between that BMW sandwich are the 2019 and 2020 editions of the Acura NSX. It doesn’t really matter which one a buyer chooses to drive off the lot, either way lopping off more than $10,000 off the sticker price means the electrified supercar will cost just under $150k.

For a look at the best new car deals in America based on the percentage discount off their suggested asking prices, check out our monthly recap here. And when you’re ready to buy, click here for the Autoblog Smart Buy program, which brings you a hassle-free buying experience with over 9,000 Certified Dealers nationwide.

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2020 BMW M235i Gran Coupe Review

The BMW M235i Gran Coupe is a little difficult to wrap your head around if you’re a traditionalist. For one, it is not very closely related to the outgoing, and soon to be replaced, M240i which is a coupe driven by its rear wheels and a 3-litre 6 cylinder engine. Instead, it’s more of a stretched M135i sharing the same 2-litre 4 cylinder engine and front wheel drive biased all wheel drive system (boo hiss). There will be a new M240i Coupe that will feature a 6 cylinder engine and will have the correct number of doors to wear the coupe name. Gran Coupe seems to skew more than just the number of doors in this instance.

The M235i and other 2 Series Gran Coupe models are, obviously, the result of the successes of the Audi A3 Saloon and Mercedes-Benz CLA models. Mercedes-Benz seem to have an appetite for niches and recently added an A Class Saloon to the range that makes no sense in my mind given that it looks like a slightly podgy CLA with no significant space gains. I’m sure the researchers at MB have their justifications…

Visually BMW were quick to flash up profile images of the, to my eyes, gorgeous 8 Series Gran Coupe overlaying sketches of the 2 Series Gran Coupe at the evenings press presentation. Again, to my eyes, one of these cars looks taught, sharp and rather tasty. Unfortunately the scaled down 2 Series doesn’t seem to wear the lines so well, they aren’t striking and melt away into the large and aesthetically heavy rear end.

Maybe it is a peach to drive? Well, the 1 Series is not available in China or the United States of America so it is up to the 2 Series Gran Coupe to whet the appetite of American and Chinese buyers. As a result, this is not just a stretched 1 Series. The suspension set up is softer to better accommodate poorer surfaces. The road route set up by BMW features a variety of road surfaces which the M235i I am piloting takes in its stride.

Make no mistake, the car is very good for doing the tasks that the vast majority of buyers will use their cars for, daily commutes and school runs. It is relatively spacious inside, comfortable, features tech that you would find in a 7 Series and it even feels plenty quick off the line with all wheel drive traction. 0-100 is done in 4.9 and accomplished courtesy of 306 horsepower and 450Nm.

My gripes relate to feedback and feel: there is, literally, none. Yes, the steering rack is quick and BMW have fitted a Torsen limited-slip differential in addition to the BMW Performance Control which ‘intelligently applies the brakes at the wheels on the inside of the bend before the slip threshold has been reached’ a bit like a McLaren does. As great as this sounds, the M235i GC is not engaging or particularly exciting to chuck into the bends.

Understeer still plagues the driving experience and when the front end is not pushing on, the car remains neutral and does not have you lusting to explore your favourite twisty roads with zeal. The M badge typically denotes more dynamic, and adrenaline fuelled drives. The synthesised exhaust noise is very clearly fake, more so than in other BMW models.

By no means does this mean that the 2020 M235i Gran Coupe is a bad car. If you are looking for a car to ferry your family around on short city journeys in comfort with great connectivity and convenience, this could well be the car for you. The M235i variant looks more imposing that lesser models and is well equipped. But if you’re looking for something with a little more zing, the Golf R is more dynamic and the Mercedes CLA 35 AMG is equally well appointed and feels more alive.

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BMW M boss gets closer to confirming a standalone M flagship

We’re leaning ever closer to official confirmation of a standalone screamer from BMW’s M division. Auto Express spoke to brand boss Markus Flasch during the L.A. Auto Show, the German saying, “I can think of doing standalone M-cars – I like the idea, and I think we’re going to do something in this direction.” Under further questioning, specifically about whether M might have an SUV in mind for the putative offering, Flasch replied, “I don’t know. … Well I do know, but I’m not saying yet!” Other sources inside the Munich automaker apparently told Auto Express “a new car could be seen by 2021″ and bring some sort of electrification with it.

This represents noteworthy movement from BMW’s position in June, when Flasch told Australian outlet Car Sales,  “We are investigating M variants that may also be standalone, that don’t have a predecessor.” At the time, a company insider said everything was in “a very early stage” of examining body styles, and Flasch said qualified the push by saying a potential model may be a product of M division, as opposed to based on a BMW offering.

The 2021 dates carries significance because 2022 marks the M division’s 50th anniversary as an independent company. If M plans to debut something roadworthy and with production intent before the end of 2021, prototypes are no more than a year away. That means BMW has decided on the fundamentals and will be sorting out how to make them work together. The plug-in hybrid Vision M Next sounds like a long shot, though, even if BMW design chief Damagoj Dukec would like the 600-horsepower show car to get the nod, saying, “We have a heritage of bringing art cars and race cars together with M. I am convinced that this [Vision M Next] is the right way.” Flasch, however, explained that the halo “doesn’t necessarily have to be a mid-engined supercar,” only that “it has to stand out from the crowd.”

Closer to production reality, Flasch also said an electrified M car is “not too far away.” At the same time, he cautioned that adding electric aids is no panacea; “electrification is not rocket science, and it’s not the game changer [in] that people think it’s an easy answer to every question.”

Official: Sterckenn Reveals Carbon Parts for BMW 8 Series

Tuning company, Streckenn, has revealed a new set of carbon fibre parts for the BMW 8 Series. Applied across a 50:50, satin:gloss black demonstrator model, the parts add a subtle, but sinister twist to the latest BMW. The 8 Series has never looked so good!

Steckenn’s take on the BMW 8 Series was revealed at the Automobilia Auto Salon in Connecticut, USA. The changes include a carbon fibre front lip spoiler. The high-quality carbon fibre part is easily installed as a bolt-on component to improve the looks of the 8 Series.

The demonstrator model also gets a number of special touches. The most obvious is the wheels. On the right side, this 8 Series wears Vossen S21-01 21 inch monoblock wheels finished in gold. On the left, a set of ANRKY An38 21 inch wheels get a matte black finish with rose gold inners. Both sides make use of a custom airbag suspension setup that incorporates an Accuair Endo CVT air management system.

Sterckenn’s demonstrator is an M850i which means it has a 4.4 litre V8 producing 530 hp and 750 Nm of torque. It hits 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds. The looks are matched by the performance!

The 8 Series parts are available at Sterckenn’s dealership network worldwide, including in Europe, the US, Japan, Korea and Australia. As well as the 8 Series, Sterckenn also offers components for the M2, M3, M4, M5 and 5 Series models.

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BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – BMW Reveals Front-Wheel-Drive Sedan

BMW has today announced that it will offer a BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe for the first time. The Gran Coupe model follows from the recent release of the BMW 1 Series. Interestingly, it precedes the expected release of an updated BMW 2 Series Coupe.

The 2 Series Gran Coupe is also the first front-wheel-drive BMW sedan in recent memory (aside from a 1 Series Sedan – sold exclusively in China). With the development of BMW’s xDrive platform permeating higher up in BMW’s model range, traditionalists might want to look away now!

Design

We’ve seen BMW’s Gran Coupe concept time and time before. The format is similar for the 2 Series Gran Coupe. BMW stretches the silhouette of the BMW 1 series, adding four-doors with frameless side windows and full-LED headlights as standard.

The side taper of the C-pillar is clear, accentuating the shoulders of the car. Other design elements include the contoured kidney grille bars with a different mesh design for the flagship M235i xDrive. The rear lights are completely new too, stretching further into the back until they reach a gloss black band.

The Gran Coupe measures 4.5 metres in length, 1.8 metres in width and 1.4 metres in height. Interior space has been a driving factor behind the project, BMW claims a 430-litre load space, 40 litres more than the Coupe version.

Drivetrain & Performance

The 2 Series Gran Coupe uses the FAAR platform which debuted this year in the 1 Series. The Gran Coupe is front-wheel drive predominantly; the first BMW sedan to use this configuration. Performance versions use the xDrive system in preference to BMW’s usually preferred rear-wheel-drive setup.

The 2 Series Gran Coupe also carried over the near-actuator wheel slip limitation system. A slip controller is positioned in the engine control unit rather than in the DSC system. It works together with the DSC system, to reduce the time it takes to relay information, operating ten times faster than a conventional system. Additional bracing in the engine bay and struts linking the rear sub-frame to the body improve stability.

One diesel engine and two petrol engines will be available straight away. The BMW 218i uses a three-cylinder petrol engine with 140 hp, a four-cylinder model, with 190 hp, will be available in the BMW 220d. Finally, the range-topping BMW M235i xDrive will use a 306 hp, four-cylinder engine. The US market will get an additional 231 hp BMW 228i xDrive model with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

In terms of performance, the 218i hits 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds, the M235i xDrive in 4.9 seconds and the 220d in 7.5 seconds.

The power is relayed with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is an option while the eight-speed transmission is reserved for the diesel and the M235i xDrive.

The BMW M235i xDrive adds a mechanical Torsen limited-slip differential, M Sport steering and M Sport brakes. Three different suspension setups are on offer, tailored to each model. M Sport suspension reduces the ride height by 10 mm while the Adaptive suspension option includes variable damper controls.

All models will be available with a Lane Departure Warning, active lane return and collision and pedestrian warning with city braking function. Active Cruise Control, the Driving Assistant including Lane Change Warning, rear collision warning and crossing traffic warning, plus the reversing assistant are all available as options. 

Interior

Five trim levels are available; Basic, Advantage, Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport. Six colours will be available from launch.

Space is generous too. the 2 Series Gran Coupe offers 33 mm of extra legroom over the existing 2 Series Coupe with a seating position 12 mm higher. The rear seats split 40/20/40 to add more space.

The BMW Operating System 7.0 is installed onto the two large screens. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional increases the size of the centre screen to 10.25 inches with the further option of a 9.2-inch head-up display.

As always, iDrive Controller, touch, vice and gesture options combine for easy input of information into the infotainment system.

Competition

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe slots into the marketplace alongside the 1 Series. The 2 Series badge has always been reserved for a coupe version of the 1 Series, the Gran Coupe adds a Sedan body-style to the lower end of the range. BMW’s target is the young professional, clearly.

This makes BMW’s competition, the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLA Class and the Audi A3 Sedan. Both fill niches but have sold well, marketed towards younger buyers who want something small, practical, but with a certain amount of style.

Whether you prefer one to the other likely comes down to personal choice. In terms of the 2 Series Gran Coupe’s defining features, it carries less luggage than the Mercedes-Benz but more than the A3 Sedan. Infotainment is also likely to factor in any buying decision.

Availability

The 2 Series Gran Coupe will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2019 which takes place towards the end of November.

Afterwards, expect a market launch in March 2020 with sales to begin soon after

Pricing in Germany will start at €31.950 for the BMW 218i, with the range-topping BMW M235i xDrive commanding €51,900.

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BMW 530 MLE Fully Restored: First M Model Unofficially

At the start of the year, we brought you a story about how BMW South Africa had located one of 110 Type 1 530 MLE. The MLE is an important part of BMW Motorsport history. Built to homologate a BMW race car, it was the first road-going BMW built by BMW Motorsport and the first ‘M-car’.

The restoration is finally complete with the restored BMW 530 MLE unveiled at the “Home of BMW Legends”, BMW Group Plant Rosslyn. The grand unveiling of the MLE took place in front of four BMW Group South Africa employees who were on hand to build the original more than four decades ago.

The BMW 530 Motorsport Limited Edition was produced on the southern tip of Africa as part of a limited production run. BMW were keen to compete in the flagship Modified Production Series in South Africa. Starting in 1976, BMW South Africa ran a car in the Series, achieving fifteen wins from 15 consecutive starts and 3 championship titles in three consecutive years. BMW eventually retired the 530 MLE in 1985 as the most successful racing BMW 5 Series in history.

In order to compete in the series, it was necessary for BMW to homologate the 530 MLE. 110 units of the Type 1 530 MLE were produced in 1976, with a further 117 versions of the Type 2 530 MLE built on the production line at the BMW Group Plant, Rosslyn in 1977. Very few of these cars are still on the road.

The car is quite special in its own right. It has a 3.0 litre straight six which originally produced around 197 bhp together with 277 Nm of torque, a 208 km/h top speed and a 0 – 100 km/h sprint time of 9.3 seconds. In the context of modern performance, this might not seem a huge amount of pace, in the mid-1970’s it would have been class-leading! The BMW 530 Motorsport Limited Edition also featured weight-reduction measures that included bodywork and pedals drilled by hand, manual windows with no air conditioning, and Mahle wheels.

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