All posts in “BMW”

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.

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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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2019 BMW M8 Competition Coupe and Convertible Review

The BMW M8 Competition is a difficult car to place. The replacement of the M6 is tagged by BMW as being a luxury GT car, but one that packs 625 horsepower and 750Nm of torque. Those aren’t numbers that are used to waft from the country estate to the golf course, something I learnt when I went to The Algarve to put the most powerful series production M car in BMW’s history to the test.

After an evening of being inundated with stats and filled with the finest prawns I’ve ever eaten, it was time to see how the figures felt in the real world. Exploiting 625 horsepower on the street isn’t exactly easy, the infamous Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, colloquially referred to as Portimao, had been booked out for us to put the M8 Competition through its paces (the base M8 was not on offer to test on this occasion). Boy, oh boy there was pace. BMW claims 0-100km/h in 3.3 and it feels every bit as fast. 3.3 isn’t a number typically attributable to a wafty GT car, and neither is the way the M8 Competition handles itself around what is one of the most testing tracks in Europe. Stability and control were a focus for the M division and can be directly linked to three innovations that have been created with sharp handling characteristics in mind: M xDrive, Active M Differential and M-specific Adaptive suspension. They each do what they say on the tin and each element takes the poise of the M850i and turns it up a notch to far more serious, track usable levels.

Yes, the car still feels all of two tonnes when you really start to hustle it into bends and quick direction changes, but you’ve got to be forcing it into such a scenario. I suspect 98%, if not more, of owners will never venture onto a track with their M8, but it’s spectacular to know how capable the car can be. The xDrive system deserves a special mention as it allows you to apply power extremely early after an apex, you feel it dragging the car out with terrific grip and speed. That’s not to say that there isn’t fun to be had, with the traction and stability systems in MDM, the rear end comes in to play and is easily adjustable on the throttle.

The 4.4-litre V8 revs to 7,200 but peak power is done at 6,000. The 750Nms come courtesy of two turbochargers that are nestled between the two cylinder banks for a sharper response and less lag. This unit teams up with an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission which is as good as any dual clutch setup on sale today, you are never left helplessly tugging at paddles for downshifts multiple times before they are delivered.

Braking performance is often a point of criticism on BMW M cars, even the carbon ceramic setups of the past have been known to find themselves in a spot of smokey bother after a couple of intense laps on track, not in the M8. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, the brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions are brought together within a compact module. The brake pressure required is triggered by an electric actuator, which means it can be generated more dynamically, pedal feel is optimised and the interventions from the stability control system are significantly faster and more precise. The driver can choose between two pedal feel settings: one more comfort-oriented and the other a particularly direct, instantaneous setting. I can report that the feel remains remarkably consistent even after a pounding on the track.

As I said, I can never imagine myself seeing an M8 on track except for in special circumstances such as a motoGP safety car. The road is where M8s will be used and that’s where the real world consumer testing needs to be done.

Weighing in at 2.1 tonnes, the convertible M8 Competition is around 100 kilograms more than the Coupe and is the variant assigned for the road testing element of the test. It is 0.1 seconds slower to 100 (3.4 seconds) but with the roof retracted the sensation of speed is heightened.

With every new car review I write, I seem to drone on and on about the crippling OPF that has restrained the exhaust noises that enthusiasts so crave. The story is the same here and the soundtrack is not what you would traditionally associate with a 4.4 V8. That being said, M have worked hard to give the M8 some serious bass. It’s not great, it’s acceptable.

On the billiard table smooth tarmac of the track the steering felt numb, there is more weight in the sportier modes, but the feel is absent. The same can be said for the steering on the road. So not very good then? Hold your horses, the M8 really surprised me on the deserted, tight and twisty roads away from the circuit. The coupe was great on track, the convertible continued to exceed expectations on the street. The xDrive system means you can use the power and mammoth torque without fearing for your life, the systems mentioned before, particularly the suspension and diff shine and come together to make the M8 not only savagely fast, but also very easy to drive at speed.

Then you slow down to admire the scenery and stick everything into comfort and the character of the car completely changes – it demonstrates an impressive breadth of ability. The cabin is comfortable, the seats could be a little more supportive but are well suited to long drives. The back seats are usable for adults too, perhaps not for longer journeys but certainly suitable for children. The infotainment system remains one of the best in the business and there are new M displays to separate this from the rest of the 8 family. Gone is the questionable crystal gear selector from lesser 8 series models.

This brings me back to my opening statement: the M8 is a difficult car to place. Is it a 911 competitor? I feel it’s not sporty enough and lacks feel in comparison to the Porsche. Maybe the Bentley Continental GT or DB11? I feel the M8 is not premium enough. The Aston Martin Vantage or AMG GT could be in the sights of the M8, but neither of those can demonstrate the soft, supple cruising abilities of the M8 Competition. Regardless, the M8 Competition stands tall and proud as the current head of the BMW M table with the ability to cruise quietly or attack a road with seemingly endless torque and power. A mighty fine M car.

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2020 BMW X5 M Competition: Ultimate BMW SUV Revealed

BMW have announced a refreshed versions of the BMW X5M today. The super-SUV’s are refreshed for the latest generation, both have been fitted with a powerful V8 engine and the latest in BMW technology.

Now in its third generation, the X5M is available in standard and Competition specification for the first time. BMW have carried out testing at Miramas and Arjeplog as well as at the Nurburgring. A world away from these harsh locations, the X5M will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2019 next month.

Both versions use the 4.4 litre V8 engine. Power outputs increase by 25 hp and 50 hp respectively over the outgoing model. The standard models now put out 600 hp while the Competition versions generate 625 hp and 750 Nm of torque. New engine mounts, cooling and oil supply systems and a sports exhaust release the additional power.

That power is transferred to the M xDrive system via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. Both cars feature an Active M Differential to optimise traction. The standard M-cars take 3.9 seconds to hit 100 km while the Competition models hit the same speed in 3.8 seconds. This makes it 0.4 seconds faster than the outgoing model.

The suspension has been re-inforced to cope with the additional power. The X5M receives electronically controlled dampers, active roll stabilisation, M Servotronic steering and Dynamic Stability Control. Competition models get 21 inch rims at the front and 22 inch rims at the back. Large M-specific brakes are essential.

To look at, you would not mistake the M models from the rest of the range. BMW designers have included large air intakes at the front, a new kidney grille with double bars, M gills at the side fenders, a new roof spoiler, rear apron and a new diffuser. The exhaust system is also all-new with a set of twin tailpipes.

Inside, a head up display is fitted as standard. An M-specific display is also included together with a leather steering wheel. The seats are multifunction with integrated head restraints. Merino leather is available throughout to enhance the luxurious feel. BMW Live Cockpit Professional is included as standard together with BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, and the Parking Assistant.

Both cars will be available from April 2020.

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450hp Manual: Details Leaked on 2020 BMW M2 CS

Details on the BMW M2 CS are beginning to emerge. Alleged leaks apparently confirm key aspects of the hardcore 2 Series model. The details allegedly arrive through attendees of a private event in Belgium last week.

The Bimmerpost insider confirmed that BMW’s 3.0 litre straight six engine will get a boost up to 450 hp. The power will be fed to the rear wheels through a manual gearbox with the automatic DKG gearbox an option.

BMW will also fit active suspension And updated sports brakes with red calipers. Carbon ceramic brakes will be optional. The M2 CS will be offered with 763 M wheels in gold or black, with regular or sport cup tires.

Plenty of carbon fibre components will complement the looks. A new hood, roof, outside mirror covers, trunk lip spoiler, front spoiler lip, rear diffuser, central console and door handle will all feature carbon fibre elements. The M2 CS badge is apparently finished in chrome and Alcantara also features heavily in the door and seat design.

The seats are lifted straight from the M4 Competition seats and feature red stitching. The back seats are now fixed so cannot be folded. BMW are expected to offer just 4 colours for the M2 CS; Alpine White, Misano Blue, Hockenheim Silver and Saphire Black.

We are expecting to see the BMW M2 CS very soon with production of the 2,200 models to begin in April.

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10 Cool Cars From the 2000s Sure to Become Future Classics

Automotive nostalgia for the Nineties is having a moment. (Call it the Radwood effect.) After all, fawning over rad Japanese tuner cars from those days is more fun than reconciling ourselves with the fact that it’s been 25 years since Weezer’s self-titled blue album came out.

But all this enthusiasm for the 1990s had us wondering: Could the 2000s be next? Prices for cars from that era are still reasonable. And the defining features of many fun cars of the era — manual transmissions, naturally aspirated engines, not being crossovers — should age well moving forward.

Here, then, are 10 future classics for your consideration (and potential investment in).

BMW M3 (2000-2006)

There are the uber-purists who believe BMW lost its way in the early 1990s. For everyone else, the early 2000s were the halcyon days for BMW, with that era’s cars being a perfect fusion of modern engineering, classic BMW driving dynamics, and somewhat-conservative styling.

The E46-generation M3 may be, simply, the best car BMW has ever built. It packed the S54 3.2-liter naturally aspirated inline-six engine, with 338 horsepower and an 8,000 rpm redline. Whether it would come with a six-speed manual was a question one need not bother asking.

Honda S2000 (1999-2009)

The Honda S2000 may be the ultimate purists’ roadster. The original version had a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter VTEC putting out 247 hp — an impressive 123 hp per liter. It (only) had a six-speed manual, 50/50 weight distribution, and rear-wheel drive. With a 9,000 rpm redline and a power curve that topped out right near that limit, it was built to be driven hard. It’s also not bad to look at, whether it’s from before or after the 2004 facelift.

Audi TT (1998-2006)

The Audi TT was one of the most stunning, innovative concept cars ever — and it made it to production with its sleek Bauhaus look intact. The TT Mk1 was far more of a cruiser than a track car; the first models had to be recalled for dangerous handling at high speed. But a 225-hp engine, a smooth Audi six-speed stick, and baseball-stitched leather made it a fun car for most drivers. The best testament to the TT may be how many owners have pushed them past 150,000 miles.

Dodge Viper (1996-2002)

The Dodge Viper was the proud antithesis of the modern sports car. It had a stupidly large engine, a manual transmission, and no driving aids whatsoever. (Look out for trees.) The second-generation SR II had an 8.0-liter V10 putting out 450 hp and a six-speed manual. It kept the distinctive styling and stripped-down feel of the original, but in addition to a power upgrade, the later model added features like airbags, standard AC, and anti-lock brakes — things any sane driver would want.

Ford Mustang (2005-2014)

With the S197 — better known as the fifth-generation model — Ford decided the Mustang should look like the Mustang again. The company emulated the boxier style of the first generation and produced its best-looking Mustang since the original. It was not a mind-blowing performance upgrade over the fourth-gen, but it held true to Ford’s initial vision for a car that looked awesome, made a lot of noise and came at a price nearly everyone could afford. Indeed, it may have been too affordable: Ford opted to axe an independent rear suspension that would have improved the ride significantly but made it much more expensive.

Jaguar XK (2007-2014)

The Jaguar XK was Jaguar’s 2+2 grand tourer. Famed designer Ian Callum penned the second generation, and it was one of the cars that helped reestablish Jaguar as a sporty, sexy car manufacturer. There was no manual option, only a six-speed ZF automatic, but the XK makes up for it by offering three variants: naturally aspirated V8, supercharged V8, and even beefier supercharged V8. This wasn’t a Bond car, but it’s a car that can make you feel like James Bond on a budget: Even well-kept performance XKR versions with low mileage gavel for less than $30,000 on Bring a Trailer.

Volkswagen Golf R32 (2004)

The R32 is among the standouts from the Volkswagen Golf line. It was VW’s halo Golf for the Mk4 generation, and only sold in the U.S. for the 2004 model year. The R32 had every option and a massive (for a hot hatch) 3.2-liter VR6 engine putting out 238 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It also came with two excellent transmission options, a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual clutch transmission — the first to appear in a production car.

Saab 9-5 Aero (2000-2009)

Saabs were quirky, comfortable and Swedish — before the fallout of the GM bankruptcy made the brand all but defunct in the early 2010s. The 9-5 Aero was a performance version of the 9-5 executive sedan. It was a Saab that could haul ass — to a degree. The torque-heavy 2.3-liter turbo four’s output figures of 250 hp and 258 lb-ft were reportedly significantly understated. It could also be fitted with a five-speed manual.

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG (2003-2006)

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG was the precursor to the E63 AMG. It came as both a sedan and a wagon, and its supercharged 5.4-liter V8 produced 469 hp and 516 lb-ft. When new, it was the fastest four-door vehicle in the world: It accelerated from 0-100 mph in less than 10 seconds, more than a second quicker than the Audi RS6 and faster than a Corvette Z06. It only offered a five-speed automatic, because Mercedes’ seven-speed at that time could not handle the torque.

Pontiac Solstice GXP (2007-2009)

GM gave the Pontiac brand the boot during its restructuring — sadly, just as it was producing fun, intriguing cars. The Solstice was a classic two-seater, available as a coupe or a convertible. The GXP version had a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four putting out 260 hp and 260 lb-ft (though it could be tuned beyond that at the dealer) and an available five-speed manual. It weighed less than 3,000 pounds, and accelerated from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The car’s production also included some period-perfect GM cost-cutting measures, but we won’t hold that against it.

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BMW Trainees Converted an X7 into a One-Off Pick-Up Truck

The BMW X7 is certainly a capable vehicle when it comes to hauling the family, a weekend worth of stuff and maybe even some bikes on the back. But what if you want to haul…

The BMW M5 Competition Is the Sports Sedan Supercar

The True Ultimate Driving Machine

The 2020 BMW M5 Competition is a special car. It takes the attractive but not ridiculously sporty looking 5-Series as a base for the car and then turns the dials up to 11. The car comes with 617 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque and that power gets sent to all four wheels via a slick 8-speed dual clutch transmission. That makes for a 0-60 mph time of just 3.1 seconds and a 10.9-second quarter-mile time.

The car is even more hardcore than the standard M5. Its minor power bump is complimented by 10 percent stiffer dampers. The anti-roll bars are also stiffer, and the car rides .28 inches lower. Instead of rubber mounts for the toe links, this car gets ball joints. All told the M5 is a sharper, stiffer, and even more performance-oriented M5. It should have no trouble competing with Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, and the Audi RS7 Performance. 

BMW M5 CompetitionBMW M5 Competition
Image from BMW

Autoblog was able to take the M5 Competition to a racetrack in Monticello, New York, and came away from the experience seemingly in love with the car. Here’s a bit of what Lawrence Ulrich said in his review: 

So is the BMW fun on track? Yes, in a mildly silly, tiger-shark-out-of-water fashion. But it’s twice as fun on the street, where the M5 Competition underscores its Autobahn-style ferocity and magisterial handling. Mopar fans may howl, but in most street situations, the M5 Competition will easily smoke even a Dodge Challenger Hellcat from a stoplight – minus the smoke. Where even skilled drivers can struggle to launch the rear-driven Hellcat without the tires lighting up like Cheech and Chong, the BMW sends every molecule of rubber and scrap of torque to the pavement.

That’s high praise for any car, and you have to give it to BMW. It sounds like they have a real winner on their hands. The 2020 BMW M5 Competition starts at $110,995. The car that Ulrich of Autoblog tested came with the carbon-ceramic brakes and that made the price rise to $132,095. Pricey, but we think this is one BMW that’s worth the price. 

BMW Plans to Build More M Division Cars Thanks to Common Engine Architecture

Common Architecture Means Ability to Scale

If you’re in love with much of what BMW is doing at the moment, then you’ll be thrilled to learn that more M models are on their way. BMW plans to expand its lineup thanks to a common engine architecture for all M models. This will cut down on costs, complexities, and the amount of time it takes to build a new M car. This means it’s easier for BMW’s M division to scale. 

According to sources, Autocar learned that BMW will use a common 500cc cylinder capacity. This cylinder capacity will be used for a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine, and a new 4.0-liter V8 engine. The new cars in the lineup will use this. They will also have manual and automatic transmissions and rear or all-wheel drive. 

In addition to the engine displacement and architecture news, the company also plans to incorporate more hybrids and plug-in hybrids into the M division lineup. This means that BMW will be electrifying its performance lineup. This comes as no big surprise judging on how the whole industry has been going lately. 

All of these things should be good news for BMW fans. There will be more attempts at the ultimate driving machine from the company and that can’t be a bad thing. We’re hoping for a new mid-engine BMW supercar someday soon. One is rumored, but it’s unclear how or if that will come to fruition. 

BMW Vision M NEXT Revealed with 600hp Hybrid Engine

BMW M has this morning set out its vision for the immediate future. The BMW Vision M Next Concept previews what BMW considers to be its future, past the ageing BMW i8. The i8 has been a game changer in many respects, however, it now faces stiff competition with most manufacturers keen to muscle in on its eco-performance niche.

The BMW Vision M Next Concept uses a traditional petrol engine coupled with an electronic motor to produce power. The petrol unit is turbocharged and four-cylinders. Combined with the electric motors, it produces an impressive 600 hp. This, BMW states, is enough for a 300 km/h (186 mph) top speed and a 3 second 100 km/h sprint time. That power is not available all the time though. It is accessed through a BOOST+ mode, although it is not clear how long the boost is provided. It should do 100 km on battery power alone.

The looks are very similar to those of the existing i8. The BMW Vision M Next Concept remains a two-seater with a low slung, supercar type shape. It uses carbon fibre bodywork and a throwback exterior design. Looking closely at the concept, the rear view is heavily inspired by the BMW M1. Inside, things are very futuristic with a curved driver display and a dragster style steering wheel.

The replacement for the BMW i8 is expected debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 in September. The i8 is part of a wider BMW program called ‘Strategy One Next’ which aims for up to 25 electrified BMW models to be on sale by 2025. 

BMW’s Vision M Next Concept Looks to the Future

BMW Showcases New Tech in This Wild Concept

BMW has a vision for the future and that is the Vision M Next concept car. The vehicle pulls from the i8 hybrid as well as other previous BMW vehicles for inspiration. The model also has unique Laser Wire headlights, a new version of the BMW twin-kidney grille design and an overall sporty and futuristic look. 

The car’s focus is on the driver. According to Adrian van Hooydonk, the company’s senior design VP, the vehicle’s design is really about the future of sporty driving. 

Where the BMW Vision iNEXT illustrated how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board our vehicles, the BMW Vision M Next demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging. In both models, the focus is firmly on the people inside. Design and technology make the ‘Ease’ and ‘Boost’ experiences more natural and more intense.

According to Carscoops, the Ease and Boost reference comes from the drive modes. Ease is the autonomous mode and Boost is the driver mode. The big news about this car is the Boost Pod, which is the instrument cluster and an augmented reality head-up display. The idea behind it is to eliminate distractions, so the driver can just focus on driving. 

The powertrain of the Vision M Next is a plug-in hybrid system that uses electric motors and a turbo four-cylinder engine. Combined power output sits at 592 hp. That makes the car good for a 0-62 mph time of three seconds flat. The car has a top speed of 186 mph and an electric-only range of 62 miles. 

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BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

The new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe comes with 523 horsepower and a twin-turbo V-8 engine. It’s based on the two-door model introduced just a year ago. This time around, the revamped unit boasts more space and easier entry, as well as the first-ever inline-six engine option for the 8 Series lineup.

The sportier M850i variant is BMW’s most expensive models ever. This one’s due out in showrooms sometime this September with an unspecified six-figure asking price. That’s when all option boxes are checked, though.

The four-door coupe is nine inches longer and 1.2 inches wider than its two-door predecessor. BMW will offer both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants with a choice of 335 ponies on a six-cylinder engine. Or, if you really want to up the ante, a 4.4-liter V-8 with 523, as we’ve mentioned.

The six-cylinder rear-wheel-drive 840i clocks 4.9 seconds to reach 60 mph, while the all-wheel-drive gets there in just 4.6 seconds. Both models have 130 mph speed cap with all-season tires. They can reach 155 mph with performance tires, though.

As for tech and interiors, the 8 Series Gran Coupe boasts an extensive set of standard and optional driver assist systems. This includes safety systems that could help prevent collisions and other optional features like an Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, which lets the car take over when there’s heavy traffic.

Also included is BMW’s latest-generation Heads-Up display system that fronts crucial information like vehicle speed, route guidance, and overtaking restrictions right in your field of view. There’s also CarPlay, Live cockpit Professional, and iDrive 7.

The 8 Series Gran Coupe launches sometime this September.

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Photos courtesy of BMW

1990 BMW M3 Convertible

On auction now is this 1990 BMW M3 Convertible. It’s not dramatically vintage, to be sure, though time moves so fast that 1990 is basically a bygone era now. An era brimmed in punk-rock and Happy Meal toys that are actually cool.

But we digress. This car is one of only 786 convertibles examples built between 1986 and 1992. Needless to say it’s not that rare, but still quite unique, as it’s also one of the only 12 Spanish-market models with no catalytic converters.

Though it was finished in May 1990, the car benefits from recently renewed brakes. It also comes equipped with a revamped exhaust system and a new soft top. In the correct factory material, too, which will definitely sit well with purists.

The first-generation BMW M3 is a cool-enough car. It looks pretty good, though it lacks the sleek lines and cramped profile of the usual sports car. Still, it’s still perceived today as one of the best drvier’s cars of that era.

The car is extremely well preserved, and the parts are nearly all original save for a handful of bits and bobs. It’s also just on its third owner since new, which means it’s more than ready for a new set of hands. Sure, it’s no Ferrari. And it’s not the best on-auction BMW ride we’ve featured here. Still, there’s something to be said about simplicity, and in that department, this one nails it. More info from RM Sotheby’s when you hit the link below. Car offered without reserve.

ON AUCTION

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Could the M-Division of BMW Make Its Own Car?

It Seems Possible

A new BMW M hypercar could be coming. At least that’s what we want to believe after BMW M boss Markus Flasch’s interview with Car Sales. The publication sat down and had a little chat with Flasch, and he revealed that in the future not all of BMW’s M cars will necessarily be modified versions of standard production cars. 

“We are investigating M variants that may also be stand-alone, that don’t have a predecessor,” Flasch said. when pressed for more information and asked if the M-division would start from a blanks sheet on a car in the future, he said, “potentially.”

That’s not a confirmation that a new M car will come that’s not based on anything, but it’s clear that BMW is at least looking into it. The possibility of a hypercar is real, too. 

“We would love to do it … but we are part of a big company and we only do things that make sense economically and are relevant for the brand. So far M is the strongest high-performance brand and we did not need a hypercar. So, from a brand perspective it is not needed, M is strong as it is.”

It would seem that Flasch is open to the idea and that likely means other folks at BMW are, too. However, it sounds as though that would only happen if it made sense for BMW’s business as a whole, which could be a hard sell to some of the top-level executives and decision makers.