Showing posts with label BMW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BMW. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 August 2011

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i

For over a decade, only one premium automaker has offered a four-cylinder in the U.S. And while the recent rise of Audi in the States isn't solely because of its 2.0T engine, it's obvious that luxury buyers are finally coming around to the idea of a fuel-sipping four-pot. As a matter of fact, they're starting to demand it. And BMW is heeding the call.

Next year, BMW will begin offering its turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine on the 3 Series and 5 Series, matching Audi car-for-car in the entry-level and mid-size segments. But before the sedans arrive on U.S. shores – nixing the naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six in the process – BMW is slipping its TwinPower four-cylinder into an unlikely host: the 2012 Z4 sDrive28i.

Why unlikely? Just look at the length of that hood. It was designed from the onset to house one of BMW's venerable inline six-cylinder engines, but by lopping off two cylinders, BMW almost made a front-midship roadster.

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i 2.0-liter four-cylinder TwinPower engine

The mounting points used to fit the outgoing six-cylinder and the current turbocharged 3.0-liter are the same that hold this TwinPower turbo four in place. The byproduct is an impressive weight balance of 47.3/52.7 front-to-rear, an improvement – depending on your perspective – from the 47.9/52.1 of the six-cylinder model.

The new N20 four-cylinder is the first engine to benefit from BMW's recently revealed modular engine program, and it's the same mill we sampled earlier this year in the not-for-U.S.-consumption X1 xDrive28i. Power remains almost unchanged in the Z4, with 240 horsepower coming on between 5,000 and 6,500 RPM and 260 pound-feet of torque available from 1,250 and 4,800 revs. While the new N20 is down by 15 hp compared to the six, torque output is up some 40 lb-ft. And the extra juice is evident the moment you mash the throttle.

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i side profile view2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i front view2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i rear view

Fitted with the six-speed manual, BMW claims the Valvetronic-equipped four will hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, while the new eight-speed automatic gearbox does the deed in 5.6 seconds – a decrease of 0.1 and 0.4 seconds, respectively, over the six-cylinder. And as you'd expect, overall weight is down as well, with the new four-cylinder Z4 tipping the scales at 3,252 pounds, or about 33 pounds less than the outgoing sDrive28i.

Predictably, that minimal weight loss can't be felt from behind the wheel, but the extra grunt is front and center. There's a hint of turbo lag below 2,000 rpm when you're lining up for a pass, but as soon as the single, twin-scroll turbo starts huffing and puffing, the Z4 accelerates more authoritatively than the six. Driving the old and new models back-to-back, we also noticed slightly less dive and squat from the mildly reworked suspension (BMW isn't saying what's been done, aside from tweaking the springs and shocks for the new weight balance), but that's probably more a product of the box-fresh four-cylinder compared to the slightly abused previous generation tester.

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i interior2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i tachometer2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i steering wheel detail2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i shifter

We also sampled both the manual 'box and new eight-speed automatic transmission, and while we're partial to choosing our own ratios through the slick stick, the auto's quick changes and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters trade a modicum of engagement for a healthy dose of convenience. It's one of the few times we wouldn't fault buyers for choosing the slush box, and considering the average Z4 owner, we're sure it'll be the most popular transmission.

Naturally, you want numbers, but BMW is only giving one for now: $48,650 (plus $875 for destination). That's an increase of $1,200 over the outgoing model, but for 2012, Bluetooth and USB integration, along with trunk-through loading and an alarm system, all come standard, so the price bump is nearly a wash with the new equipment. As for the other figures you're after, well, BMW isn't giving up fuel economy estimates just yet. With the (surprisingly abrupt) start-stop system fitted to the Z4 sDrive28i, BMW claims that fuel efficiency is up by 20 percent over the six-cylinder in the EU test cycle, but that could go either up or down when the EPA estimates arrive later this year. Figuring the outgoing model managed 18/28 mpg city/highway, it's safe to assume the four-cylinder should ring in around 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i rear 3/4 view

More importantly, the character of the Z4 is completely unaffected by the new engine. The six's sonorous tones have been replaced with a hint of turbo whistle and a thrum from the exhaust, but the overall experience remains surprisingly unchanged. Grunt is up, fuel consumption is down and top-down cruising is just as good as it ever was. The replacement for displacement is here, and if it's executed this well, we'll gladly give up a liter or two for the privilege.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe

If you have read the breathless reviews and overwritten comparos, you would assume that the 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe is infused with the second coming of Senna. And for BMW to unabashedly draw a line between the M Coupe and the most holy of holies, the 1986-92 E30 M3, smacks of PRified nostalgia stoking. Call me a contrarian, but I refuse to believe the hype.

So as soon as the orange Bimmer landed on my fleet schedule, any and all reading, writing and discussion about the littlest M ceased. I would drive it for a week, live with it as if it were my own and deliver a critical, blatantly unbiased review of Life in the Key of M.

Five minutes into my first drive, I immediately pulled into a turnout, sat there for a second, took a deep breathe and realized – dammit – everyone was right. Brilliance is back in a small package.

Yes, brilliance. Surprising considering the M Coupe is the prototypical parts-bin special. But then again, when your parts bin is made up of some of the best driver-oriented bits in the biz, brilliance isn't expected, it's demanded.

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe side view2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe front view2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe rear view

So let's start with the core of any M-badged vehicle, the engine. It's the same twin-turbocharged N54 inline-six fitted to the Z4 sDrive35is and my current favorite non-M 3 Series, the 335is. Three liters of displacement and those duo of turbos put out 335 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 332 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 4,500 rpm through the car's only transmission option: a proper six-speed manual. Peg the throttle to the floor and, if the ECU favors the conditions, an overboost function allows the turbo six to deliver an additional 37 torques, bringing the total up to 369 lb-ft. BMW claims a 0-60 mph run of around 4.7 seconds, but I don't buy it. My ass might not be as highly calibrated as other hot-shoe scribes, but there's no doubt the M Coupe is a solid 4.5-second runner – and instrumented testing both here and abroad bears this out.

Forward momentum in any part of the rev range is immediate and addicting, devoid of lag unless the needle is on the far left side of the tach. And even then, that minute pause is instantaneously consumed by traction-testing torque, a subtle turbo whine and an exhaust note that's more guttural drone than screaming sex six. Then again, this isn't an "M" engine. It's a chip and a massage. But it simply doesn't matter.

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe engine

What has been pulled from the BMW's motorsports arm are the bits that matter most: everything shoved into the wheel arches and connected to the driver.

The front track has been extended by 2.8 inches and fitted with double pivot struts, while the rear has grown 1.7 inches and equipped with the standard multilink suspension, both of which are comprised entirely of aluminum. The rolling stock is pulled directly from the M3 Competition Package, including 19x9-inch front wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 rubber sized 245/35R19 and 19x10-inch rear rollers with 265/35R19s.

That combination may say "stick" on paper, and it does... until you disengage the traction control. And trust me, you will.

With the system set to Normal, the Axis light on the dash flickers with the insistence of a Christmas tree with an electrical short, pulling power at the faintest hint of wheel spin. The accelerator, well-mannered in most environments, goes from tepid to tenacious with the flex of your foot. But if it's slightly numb in its standard setting, it's a different beast when engaging M Dynamic Mode. All the lil' steering wheel-mounted M button does is recalibrate throttle response, delivering a surge of rubber-ripping acceleration further down the pedal travel. Neither setting is particularly bad, but on-edge confidence suffers as a result.

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe headlight2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe wheel2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe taillight2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe taillight

So when the time comes to dispatch all the electro-nannies, your right foot and two hands had better be ready to respond. Quickly. The amount of traction afforded by those massive meats is almost in direct opposition to the 104.7-inch wheelbase. So the M Coupe goes from grip to gone in an instant. No, this isn't the predictable breakaway we've experienced in the larger, more portly M3 (or any other M, for that matter). That's due to a number of variables, but chief among them is the 1's nearly square dimensions.

But when you hit it right, with the exact amount of power, the right amount of bank and the precise amount of steering, the 1 does what every proper M car should do: hangs out its tail until instructed otherwise.

Much of that sure-footed ease comes at the expense of overall ride quality when ambling about town, but it's nowhere near unbearable, and at speed, and for the 1M's intended audience (Hi Mom!) it's no-nonsense perfect. That same perfection winds its way up through the leather-wrapped wheel thanks to the M3-sourced speed-sensitive steering rack. That ever-so-slight sense of vagueness in the standard 1 Series is gone for good – and it was damned good to begin with. The clutch, while overly springy, has a perfectly defined friction point and the six-speed manual gearbox never ceased to impress and reassure each and every time we grabbed a gear.

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe interior2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe front seats2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe speedometer2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe shifter

The brakes are another matter, but only because of their track-focused brutality. Cross-drilled and sized 14.2-inches in front and 13.8-inches out back, they never faded, never shuddered and never faltered. They also make smooth heel-and-toeing a near impossibility. Just breathing on the middle pedal sheds off velocity in an instant, but when attempting that life-affirming throttle blip, my right calf was stretched to its breaking point. This could just be a product of journo-inflicted wear or a brand new set of pads, but it was enough to stymie an otherwise faultless backroad run.

Other faults? Without getting into fuel economy numbers (estimate: 19/26 mpg, observed: 17.8), the transition from HD to ST on the radio would double-up the audio, and while the Alcantara on the dash trim and shift boot is a nice touch, if you're going to go full-M, why not coat the steering wheel and shift lever – the two most important touch points – with the same delectable material? Yes, it's a dealer option on the base 1 Series, but for $47k and change, you'd assume it would be standard on the 1M.

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe rear 3/4 view

But these are infantile nits to pick when looking at the M Coupe as a whole. This is a pure driver's machine through-and-through – a true M, or at least the closest we'll get in the 21st century.

Which brings up a larger point. As enthusiasts, we have to come to grips with the fact that no modern automaker can match the involvement and tactility of a vehicle designed before massive feature creep and ever-expanding safety regulations. That time has passed. And while this isn't the E30 M3 successor we might've hoped for, in many ways, it's better. The 1M is more livable, more powerful and surely more reliable. It sticks harder and goes faster, and BMW did its best to remove the buzz-killing insularity that plagues most modern vehicles. The 1M delivers what M-heads value most: driving delight über alles. And it's one of the only times in years that anything with four wheels has lived up to the hype.

Friday, 6 May 2011

BMW Z4 GT3 undergoes first round of customer tests

The 2011 BMW Z4 GT3 proved it can win races back in January when it took the overall victory at the Dubai 24 Hours. Never one to rest on its laurels, BMW took the car from the winners circle in Dubai and put it right back on a test track. After a good beating throughout March, BMW made aerodynamic and electronic tweaks to get the racer into absolute state-of-the-art shape for customer entries in 2011 GT3 competition.

The BMW Z4 GT3 resembles its production cousin in name and basic shape only. Most of its body panels have been significantly altered to keep the car slipping through the air and bolted to the road.

Under the hood, the production Z’s six-cylinder heart has been ripped out and replaced with the same 4.4-liter V8 that sees duty in the M3. The V8 feeds power to the ground through a six-speed paddle-shifted sequential manual. Stuffing all that engineering know-how into the Z4 GT3 isn’t cheap, either; the car retails at just north of $450,000.

[Source: BMW]


Modified BMW Z4 GT3 Completes Successful Test Programme

Munich, 8th April 2011. The modified BMW Z4 GT3 has survived its baptism of fire: the GT customer sports car proved itself in a series of intensive tests in recent weeks. The goal of the latest modifications was primarily to improve aerodynamic efficiency in order to ensure the car’s competitiveness in the many, hard-fought GT3 classes.

The BMW Z4 GT3, which was launched in March 2010, achieved its greatest success to date in January 2011. Claudia Hürtgen (DE), BMW works driver Augusto Farfus (BR), Tommy Milner (US) and Edward Sandström (SE) won the Dubai 24 Hours for Team Schubert. This was the first outright victory for the BMW Z4 GT3 at a marathon race of this scale, having already proven its potential with wins in its debut season in the FIA GT3 European Championship.

With its elongated bonnet, the driver’s compartment towards the rear of the car, long wheel base and narrow wheel arches, the series version of the BMW Z4 boasts an unmistakable appearance. The two-seater provided BMW Motorsport engineers with a good basis for developing a competitive GT3 racing car.

A difference between the production and racing car can be found under the bonnet: while the production version of the BMW Z4 is driven by a six-cylinder engine, the GT3 car is powered by a 4.4-litre eight-cylinder engine.

BMW Motorsport engineers have also fine-tuned the aerodynamics of the BMW Z4 GT3 for the new season, improving the car’s performance in this area. When it comes to electronics, the private teams can look forward to innovative BMW solutions: The modern ECU408 takes over the engine management, while the Power400 electronic control unit is responsible for controlling all the actuators. The power is transmitted through a six-speed, sequential gearbox. Gearshifts are now initiated using two paddles.

The steel body of the car comes from BMW Plant Regensburg. A safety cell made of extremely rigid, precision steel tubing is then welded into the body. The engine block of the V8 engine is produced in the BMW foundry in Landshut. BMW Plant Dingolfing contributes the rear axle differential, among other things. Front and rear wings, bonnet, roof, fenders and many other components are made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP).

The car is available now at a price of 315,000 Euros (plus VAT) from BMW Motorsport Distribution, email address

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

BMW announces three two-car teams for 2012 DTM series

Touring car racing fans are eagerly anticipating the return of BMW to the DTM series. The Bavarian automaker last competed in DTM (or its progenitors, anyway) a whopping 18 years ago, but late last year announced it would return to the German touring car series in 2012. Now it has revealed the means to that end.

Rather than field its own entries, BMW will be supplying the vehicles and factory support for three independent teams: BMW Team RBM, BMW Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH. Both RBM and Schnitzer have a longstanding relationship with BMW Motorsport, while Reinhold is a completely new outfit. Each of the teams will be fielding two of the new M3 DTMs that are currently under development.

The move to DTM comes on the back of some big shakeups in BMW’s racing program. Although it pulled out of Formula One two years ago, and eliminated its works World Touring Car Championship effort at the end of last year, it has recently pitched the Mini division into the WRC with Prodrive and launched the DTM program to pick up where it left off in the WTCC.

[Source: BMW Motorsport]


BMW Motorsport presents the teams for its DTM project.

BMW Motorsport heralds a new era on its way entering the DTM. Development of the car has been running at full speed in Munich for some months now, as has the central preparation for the logistics and assembly of the race cars. Three teams, each lining up with two BMW M3 DTM cars, will be responsible for the races themselves.

BMW Motorsport has enjoyed great success in production car racing in the past with both BMW Team RBM and BMW Team Schnitzer, and all those involved are hungry for more of the same. In Reinhold Motorsport GmbH they are joined by a new team still in its fledgling stage, but which boasts individual members with a vast wealth of motorsport experience.

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director, says: “In recent months we have worked very intensely on the DTM project. The agreement with the teams was of paramount importance. We were pleased with the high level of interest and numerous applications and presentations received from a number of professional teams. The concepts presented by BMW Team RBM, BMW Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH ultimately convinced us. This is an excellent team line-up for BMW. For us, it is important that all three teams have absolute equal rights. We are looking forward to cooperating over the coming years – and hope to enjoy great success together.”

Bart Mampaey, Team Manager of BMW Team RBM, says: “The DTM is one of the toughest and the most popular racing series in the world for production cars. From a sporting point of view this poses a great challenge – but an appetizing one. We are honoured to be able to continue our successful cooperation with BMW Motorsport, which has yielded many WTCC titles, in the DTM. We still have a lot of work ahead of us over the coming months, and are now looking forward to getting to grips with the project.”

Stefan Reinhold, founder of Reinhold Motorsport GmbH, says: “In April last year, BMW announced its intention to compete in the DTM. From this day on, we have always wanted to be a part of this project. Shortly after the announcement, we presented our concept to BMW in Munich, and started to work on meeting the prerequisites for any potential cooperation. We are very proud to have been given the nod. To be part of the BMW Motorsport family with immediate effect and to strive for DTM success together is simply fantastic. We can hardly wait to get started and to vindicate the huge amount of trust BMW has placed in us.”

Charly Lamm, Team Manager of BMW Team Schnitzer, adds: “We are really looking forward to tackling the DTM project together with BMW. Schnitzer Motorsport has enjoyed a successful past in the DTM and achieved many victories together with BMW. However, past success is no guarantee that we will also be victorious in the future. The bar is set really high in DTM, and our preparations will be intensive to meet this challenge. Every team is highly motivated and the anticipation is mounting every day as we get closer to the start of the 2012 DTM season.”

BMW Team Schnitzer will run two BMW M3 GT cars for BMW Motorsport at the major endurance races in Europe and Asia. BMW Team RBM is involved in BMW customer racing projects, including the development of the BMW 320 TC and the further development of the BMW Z4 GT3.

Mario Theissen says: “While the preparation for this year’s involvement on the endurance racing circuit with the BMW M3 GT is in its final phase, the DTM project has picked up pace over the past few months. In naming the teams, we have taken the next step. As well as developing the car, it is now a matter of assigning tasks and establishing structures and processes. The cooperation between BMW Motorsport and the teams, as well as that between the team bases and the race track, must be well established. Only then will we make a statement regarding the driving line-up.”

BMW Team RBM in profile.

In 2012, BMW Team RBM will compete in the DTM with three world championship titles to its name. Under the leadership of Team Manager Bart Mampaey, the team from Mechelen, Belgium, not only won the 2004 European Touring Car Championship with Andy Priaulx at the wheel, but also proved to be the team to beat in the World Championship…
BMW Team RBM in profile.

In 2005, 2006 and 2007 the celebrations after the final WTCC race in Macau all took place in front of the RBM garage. Bart Mampaey is now looking forward to the DTM. “Competing in the DTM will be a big challenge for our team,” he says. “We are delighted that BMW is putting its faith in us again. We will use the time leading up to the first race to prepare as well as possible. The whole team is extremely motivated and hungry to get on with the development work. It is fantastic to be on board right from the start when a manufacturer like BMW launches this kind of project. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, as the standards in the DTM are extremely high.”

Efficiency is an important factor in daily work for BMW Team RBM. Mampaey is constantly striving to use time and resources efficiently, in order to extract the full potential of the car. The team profits from the infrastructure of the BMW dealership, which the Mampaey family manages under the name JUMA. Synergies and allows RBM to concentrate on the basics: the performance on the race track.

JUMA stands for Julian Mampaey. Today’s RBM boss inherited his love of motor sport from his father. The JUMA team made a name for itself in the 1970s and 1980s, claiming three overall victories for BMW at the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race. Nine years after the final JUMA race, Bart Mampaey stepped into his father’s footsteps in 1995. At first, RBM was responsible for the cars in the BMW Compact Cup in Belgium. Soon after that, the Mampaey family celebrated a successful comeback at Spa: the Group N one-two in the 1997 24-hour race was followed by overall victory with the BMW 318i one year later. This was also the last overall victory for BMW to date at the “Ardennes Rollercoaster”.

RBM sent a BMW 320i to the European Touring Car Championship for BMW Belgium for the first time in 2002. One year later the team appeared for the first time in the colours of BMW Great Britain, and Priaulx was signed up to drive. After a year gaining experience in 2003, RBM caused a sensation in 2004 when Priaulx claimed the ETCC title in Dubai. Three World Championship titles show categorically that this victory was not a flash in the pan for Mampaey and his crew.

“A change of scenery will do us good, particularly when we have the prospect of lining up in a successful series like the DTM,” Mampaey says. “Having won three World Championship titles, everyone in the team is looking forward to seeing how we fair against the other teams in the DTM.”

Back to the future.

Back to the future: this could be the motto of BMW Team Schnitzer for the 2012 DTM season. Charly Lamm’s team sported BMW colours in this series back in the 1980s and 1990s – and with great success. A Schnitzer driver crossed the finish line in first place in a BMW M3 on 17 occasions, and the team also claimed eight pole positions and set 18 fastest laps.

BMW Team Schnitzer’s greatest success in the DTM came in its very first season, when Roberto Ravaglia won the 1989 drivers’ title for the team from Freilassing. BMW Team Schnitzer will make its DTM comeback in 2012, almost 20 years after its last victory in Hockenheim on 11th October 1992.

“We lined up with the BMW M3 in the DTM for the first time in 1989, and were able to win the title with Roberto Ravaglia at the first attempt,” Lamm recalls. “The four seasons up to 1992 were a great time, with spectacular and thrilling races, which will always have a special place in the history of Schnitzer. Even back then, the DTM was extremely popular in Germany. It is now almost 20 years since our last DTM race. We are well aware that the series has changed dramatically. The level of competition is extremely high and the series has a far more international flavour to it. As a result, rookies like us face a huge challenge. However, we will approach the task in hand with great verve.”

During the break from the DTM, the Schnitzer team continued to line up for BMW, adding many new chapters to the brand’s motorsport success story. In 1999 it claimed overall victory at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours (FR) with the BMW V12 LMR prototype. In 2001, BMW Team Schnitzer won the drivers’, team and manufacturers’ titles in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with the BMW M3 GTR.

The team also has a very special relationship with the legendary 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (DE). BMW Team Schnitzer finished as overall winner in the “Green Hell” in 1989, 1990, 2004, 2005 and 2010, making it one of the most successful teams in the history of this classic race. Schnitzer also enjoyed success after success in the European Touring Car Championship between 2002 and 2004, as well as the World Touring Car Championship between 2005 and 2009. The team’s drivers crossed the finish line as winners on 45 occasions in the European and World Championships.

In the last 50 years, Schnitzer has won 16 championships with BMW – including the 1987 World Touring Car Championship, three European Touring Car Championships, and championships in Germany, England, Italy, Japan and South East Asia.

Lamm adds: “We will attempt to readapt to the DTM as quickly as possible. We have great respect for the current manufacturers and teams in the DTM. They have set the bar very high. From now on we will be working on equalling, or even surpassing, the standards they have set as soon as possible.”

“Our greatest asset is definitely the people in our team”.

Stefan Reinhold’s team, which will line up at BMW’s DTM comeback in 2012, may be a newcomer to the series – but its members are by no means lacking experience. The team’s great strengths are its individual know-how and the precise way in which it uses each member’s skills.

“The crew comes from all areas of professional motor racing,” Reinhold explains. “From GT racing and the World Rally Championship, as well as DTM and Formula One. Almost all the team members have experience gained in several fields of motorsport. They are used to working at the highest level. Clear communication and the optimal use of experience and resources, as well as uncompromising commitment, are fundamental attributes of the team. Our greatest asset is definitely the people in our team.”

The team structure started with a blank sheet of paper. Reinhold took the time to analyse the individual strengths of his crew and used this as a basis to assemble his team step by step. By the start of 2012, 25 engineers and technicians will be involved in the DTM project.

Reinhold himself has Formula One and GT racing experience to his name and has been toying with the idea of launching his own racing team for a long time. When BMW announced its return to DTM this idea took shape and work began on the conception. “In late summer 2010 we started with the concrete planning and then applied to BMW with our concept in the autumn,” Reinhold recalls. “The fact that we won BMW Motorsport over with our concept is the perfect reward for the hard work we put in during this phase.”

The team has moved into headquarters in Niederzissen. The proximity to the Nürburgring is not the only reason for motor racing being omnipresent on the team’s premises, as its former tenant was also a prominent name in motorsport: the Zakspeed team previously operated from this site and has now rented the facilities out to Reinhold.

Over the coming months, Reinhold and his team will work at full speed on the team structure in order to be ready for the first test drive with the BMW M3 DTM. “Everything from the washers to the semi-trailer will be new in our team,” says Reinhold. “However, I do not by any means see this as a disadvantage. We are very keen to take on the established DTM teams and, along with our partner BMW, to be competitive as soon as possible.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

This is your 2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe, America

The shark has finally surfaced – the 2012 BMW 6 Series coupe has officially arrived. Its lines are tighter, its bite is more potent and it’s heading to your local BMW dealership sometime this fall. Under the hood sits the same 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that our man Chris Paukert sampled in the convertible. It produces 400 horsepower between 5,500 rpm and 6,400 rpm, and a stout 450 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 rpm up through 4,500 rpm.

That power is managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be controlled manually via a pair of paddle-shifters. Should you prefer to row your own gears in the more traditional manner, a six-speed manual gearbox will also be offered. The engine and both transmission options help propel the car from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4.8 seconds and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

In the cabin, the 2012 6 Series Coupe is filled with BMW’s latest gadgetry. A 10.2-inch high-definition screen serves as the nexus of visual information. This modern Sixer boasts available Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot detection, Rear and Top View Cameras, a Parking Assistant and a three-dimensional heads-up display.

[Source: BMW]


The All-New BMW 650i Coupe.
The second new 6 Series Model Breaks Cover.

The hearts of sports car aficionados will beat a little faster with the arrival of the new BMW 650i Coupe. The third generation of the top-class Coupe sees BMW adding another chapter to its decades-long tradition in the production of exclusive dream cars. The new BMW 650i Coupe impresses with its stunning design and inspires with even sharper driving dynamics than its predecessor, noticeably optimized comfort levels and extra space. This is the only car in the segment to offer the combination of top-class sporting ability, exclusive touring comfort and a 16.24 cu. ft (460-liter) DIN luggage compartment.

Also on board to deliver the BMW 6 Series Coupe’s signature driving experience are a range of innovative driver assistance systems and BMW ConnectedDrive infotainment features. The new car therefore meets the highest expectations of driving pleasure and style in a large, premium 2+2-seater. The 650i Coupe arrives in US showrooms this fall.

Its unmistakable design language gives the new BMW 6 Series Coupe an aura of athletic elegance. The long sweeping hood, short front overhang and set-back passenger compartment team up with a 2.9 inch (74 mm) increase in body length over its predecessor and a 2.95 inch (75 mm) longer wheelbase to create the hallmark proportions of a BMW Coupe. Meanwhile, the extra width of the new car – it is now 1.5 inches (39 mm) wider thanks to its increased track width – makes for an exceptionally powerful stance that emphasizes its impressive roadholding. All of which ensures that observers are struck by the car’s dynamic forward-surging presence and promise of dynamic driving ability the moment they set eyes on it. The faithful reflection of the car’s character in its exterior styling is given particular appeal by the lines running along the full length of the body and its harmoniously sculpted surfaces. The inspiration for these design features was the natural movement of waves. In the same way as water is parted by an object in flowing water, the car body’s shaping lines fan out from the BMW badge on the hood to both sides of the body.

The innovations in the new BMW 6 Series Coupe also extend to lighting technology, in the shape of Adaptive LED Headlights. Their bright white light provides an extremely intense and evenly spread illumination of the road. This technology is unparalleled in the segment and also allows the beam of the headlights to curves of the road.

Other features that set the new car apart from its rivals are the BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services. The rear-view camera, Surround View, Parking Assistant, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, Lane Departure Warning System and Lane Change Warning System are joined on the list of available equipment items by the new generation of the BMW Head-Up-Display. The latest incarnation of the system uses a full spectrum of colors to display the information projected onto the windshield. The standard BMW iDrive control system, is the operating portal for the navigation, communications and infotainment functions. The high definition, trans-reflective technology Control Display is centrally mount high on the sweeping dash and emulates a freestanding flatscreen. Finally, the optional Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System provides a feast of aural pleasure seldom experienced inside a car.

The all-new third generation 650i Coupe will join the 650i Convertible in the US market this fall as a 2012 model. Retail and option pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

Twin-Turbo V-8 engine with High Precision direct injection.
The 4.4-liter V-8 engine develops a maximum 400 hp between 5,500 and 6,400 rpm, and makes peak torque of 450 lb-ft between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. This unique “reverse-flow” engine, whose two turbochargers are positioned in the V-area between the cylinder banks, produces an instantaneous and sustained wave of power, making it a delight for the enthusiast driver. The engine can be paired with either BMW’s new 8-speed Sport Automatic gearbox or BMW’s traditional 6-speed manual transmission, quite popular with North American enthusiasts.

The new BMW 650i Coupe completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds) with either the 6-speed manual or the 8-speed automatic transmission . Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. This engine also boasts extraordinary efficiency for a model in its output class. EPA figures will be available closer to the on-sale date in mid 2011.

8-speed Sport Automatic Transmission.
The 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission in the new BMW 650i Coupe boasts a perfect combination of speed, flexibility, sportiness, and efficiency. What sets it apart are its minimal torque converter slip and rapid gear changes. An innovative gear set configuration allows this transmission to offer eight gears, maximizing acceleration at any road speed yet allowing the driver to conserve fuel by cruising at low revs. Befitting the Coupe’s sporting character, the driver can choose to select gears manually via shift paddles on the standard Sport leather steering wheel.

In addition to the efficiency of the engine and 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission, an extensive range of BMW EfficientDynamics measures contribute to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary components, intelligent lightweight construction and extensive aerodynamic refinement collaborate to ensure maximum efficiency.

Chassis Management and optional Integral Active Steering.
Cutting-edge chassis technology gives the new BMW 650i Coupe the tools to provide both sporty handling and exceptional comfort. The double wishbone front axle and the multi-link rear axle are made predominantly from aluminum. The chassis is geared to the requirements of drivers with sporting intentions, although the dampers also respond sensitively to bumps in the road surface under high lateral acceleration. The optional Active Roll Stabilization combines with the standard Dynamic Damper Control to offer the driver even more precise responses and perfectly flat cornering ability. The electronically controlled shock absorbers adapt to the road surface and the driver’s style to perfectly control the car’s body motions.

The electronically controlled damper system in the new BMW 6 Series Coupe adjusts compression and rebound settings continuously and independently. For example, a stiff chassis setting can be combined with comfortable responses to unevenness in the road surface. The control unit of the damping system processes the data supplied by sensors on the vertical motion of the wheels as well as the ride height of the car. The driving speed and the damper setting chosen by the driver are also taken into account in calculating the damping force required for each individual wheel to even out body movements. This data is fed back to the shock-absorber units at intervals of just 2.5

The optional Active Roll Stabilization feature reduces body roll in corners and in sudden changes of direction, or transitions. Sensors calculate the amount of body roll based on the driving situation at hand, and this is then counteracted quickly and precisely by hydraulic rotary actuators in the front and rear anti-roll bars.

The result is flatter cornering inspiring greater confidence for the driver as well as greater comfort for the passengers during spirited drives. The power steering features standard Servotronic vehicle-speed sensitive assistance, and serves up the familiar BMW recipe of precision, comfort and linear response.

The new BMW 650i Coupe is the first car in its class available with Integral Active Steering. This system combines the Active Steering system for the front axle (available on the previous generation 6 Series Coupe) with a new, steerable rear axle. Precisely harmonized steering angle movements at both axles create a virtual lengthening or shortening of the vehicle’s wheelbase, which fosters greater high-speed stability and enhanced maneuverability for parking and city use.

Brakes, Wheels, and Tires.
The lightweight floating-caliper brakes with vented discs are easy to use with precision, and their effectiveness is reinforced by Dynamic Stability Control. DSC brings together technology such as the Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, the Start-off Assistant, the automatic Brake Drying function and Brake Fade Compensation.

Standard equipment also includes 8.5 x19-inch light-alloy wheels, with all-season runflat tires (size 245/40 R19) and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Driving Dynamics Control.
With standard Driving Dynamics Control, the dominant virtues of athletic driving sportiness and ride comfort can be chosen by the driver as situations demand.

The driver can choose settings of COMFORT, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT+ modes using the large rocker switch on the center console. Affected parameters include the tuning of the throttle response, power steering boost assistance, shock absorbers, automatic transmission shift characteristics and – if equipped - roll stabilization and Integral Active Steering. In SPORT+ mode, the Dynamic Traction Control mode of the standard Dynamic Stability Control system is activated, raising the thresholds for stability intervention in the most sport-oriented driving circumstances.

Unmatched chassis technology works with the cutting-edge engine to provide the driver with greater dynamic capability and improved ride comfort compared to the previous-generation 6 Series Coupe.

Design: Athletic elegance, natural sportiness.
The new BMW 6 Series Coupe again heralds the arrival of an exceptionally sporty and exclusive 2+2-seater in the premium Coupe segment. The new model’s extra length and width over its predecessor model combine with its 0.2 inch (5 mm) lower height to produce a strikingly low-set and powerful design. The new interpretation of the traditional BMW Coupe proportions is embellished by lines and surfaces inspired by the movement of waves. Flowing lines and harmonious curves create a feeling of athletic grace, complemented by extremely classic and eye-catching design features which underline the opulent character and elegant appearance of the two-door BMW.

The expressive front end is dominated by the large and slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille. The grille emphasizes the car’s sporting pedigree with a broad, flat design, and creates a visual connection with the engine nestling behind. The kidney grille slats, angled slightly towards the top, lend additional emphasis to the front end’s “shark nose” character. The contour lines of the hood converge towards the kidney grille, forming a V-shape which is continued by the contours of the headlights, kidney and wide air intake to give a road-focused look. High-quality chrome elements and the LED units of the foglamps positioned in front of them guide the eye to the muscular wheel arches.

High-visibility innovation: Adaptive LED Headlights.
The new BMW 6 Series Coupe is equipped with Adaptive Xenon headlights as standard. An accentuating trim element cuts across the top of the hallmark BMW twin round headlights to produce the purposeful look familiar from other BMW models. The optional Adaptive LED Headlights provide a fresh take on this established feature. The Adaptive LED Headlights for low beam and high beam contain LED light rings for the parking lights and daytime running lights, which are flattened on the lower edge and overlapped at their top edge by an accent light – also featuring LEDs. The result is a stunning, distinctively BMW showcase for the innovative light technology. In addition, they also generate the low beam and high beam light from the two light rings. The light sources are horizontal LED ribs positioned in the center of the light rings. The brand’s hallmark twin round headlight look is therefore expressed even more strikingly - not only with the daytime running lights switched on, but also when the headlights are activated in the dark.

However, the Adaptive LED Headlights are about more than just looking good; they also ensure the driver can see well. Their bright white light provides a bright and even illumination of the road ahead. From a color perspective, the light comes much closer to natural daylight than that created by conventional halogen or xenon headlights, lending even reflective objects far greater contrast.

The cornering element of the Adaptive LED Headlights is also tailored to the car’s speed, steering angle and yaw rate, allowing the pivot of the headlights to adapt automatically to the line of the corner. Meanwhile, a light source positioned specially in the headlight housing generates the cornering light which, at low speeds, ensures illumination of the road surface in the direction the car is turning.

LED technology is also deployed for the direction indicators, each of which consists of eight LED units arranged in a row underneath the light rings. As well as enhancing visibility in the dark, the Adaptive LED Headlights also significantly improve the signaling effect of the car’s lights.

Side view: elegant roofline, powerfully curved surfaces.
Tightly curved surfaces and character lines stretching the full length of the body define the side view of the BMW 6 Series Coupe. The forward-slanting BMW kidney grille is particularly clear from this angle. Despite its smooth curves and innovative pedestrian protection measures, the long bonnet still has a flat appearance. Its contour lines fan out wide and extend towards the rear. In combination with the car’s typical Coupe proportions, this creates a particularly elegant, elongated silhouette.

The exterior design has been inspired by waves with clearly defined lines and volume formed around an object in flowing water. This gives the new BMW 6 Series Coupe a naturally powerful and sporty edge. The typical BMW character line starts behind the front wheel arch, takes in the sporty gill feature and extends dynamically along the flank of the car to the rear. In so doing, it stretches the new BMW 6 Series Coupe visually and lends it a dynamic yet elegant allure. The door handles are integrated into the character line. A further character line emerges from the swell of the front wheel arch, drops down between the gill and the door and then levels out towards the rear. Its path replicates a forward-surging wave.

The door sill line underneath it and an additional crease give the lower edge of the body a light and sporty appearance.

The roofline of the new BMW 6 Series Coupe also swoops in an elegant, flat progression into the tail. It comes across as especially svelte when viewed from the side, creating a contrast typical of BMW Coupes between the powerful body and light passenger compartment. Doors with frameless windows underline this impression. The chromed side window border emphasizes the signature Hofmeister kink at the foot of the C-pillar.

Rear view: striking indications of dynamic and secure roadholding.
From the rear, the new BMW 6 Series Coupe exudes power, athleticism and solidity. Bulging wheel arches accentuate the wide track of the new car, offering a hint of its impressive roadholding. Added to which, horizontal lines and the broadening impression of the car’s shape as you follow it towards the rear paint a clear picture of the sporting performance waiting to be unlocked. The slightly concave lower section of the trunklid generates light and shade effects which lend an extra lightness to the rear of the car. The edges of the trunk lid and the license plate surround create a V-shape, which – similarly to the front of the car – steers the eye towards the road. The trapezoidal exhaust outlets are positioned on either side of the air diffuser in the lower fascia.

The two-part rear light clusters display the customary BMW L-shape in a particularly wide rendition that extends far into the trunk lid, while the character line that flows into the rear lights forges a harmonious link between the side and the rear of the car. Inside the rear light clusters, two LED-powered light strips generate the familiar BMW night-time look, an effect that is reinforced by the L-shaped lower light unit. The direction indicators and brake lights are also LED-powered. The wide third brake light is located in the upper edge of the trunk lid.

Interior with BMW’s traditional driver-oriented cockpit.
The new BMW 650i Coupe is designed to be a 2+2-seater. Its interior offers individually tailored seats for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers.

High-quality materials, carefully coordinated colors and meticulously sculpted surfaces combine to produce an ambience defined by luxury, sweeping style and Teutonic functionality. A hallmark BMW element of the interior design is the driver-oriented cockpit layout. The central section of the instrument panel, containing the iDrive system’s Central Display, the air vents and the controls for the audio system and air conditioning, are all angled slightly towards the driver. Added to which, the gearshift lever and the switches for the parking brake and Driving Dynamics Control are located on a surface that opens out towards the driver and is set lower than the front passenger side of the center console.

The front passenger area is bordered by a surface curving elegantly from the armrest over the side edge of the center console, upwards and outwards into the instrument panel and then horizontally into the door trim. This provides a harmonious surround for the front passenger area, creating a feeling of exclusive security. The contour of the rear waistline surface, which extends slightly into the interior between the head restraints, highlights the individual seat layout of the rear.

Freestanding Central Display with flatscreen design.
The black-panel instrument cluster of the new BMW 650i Coupe combines the traditional sports car circular instruments with state-of-the-art display technology. The Navigation system, telephone and entertainment functions are operated using the iDrive control system, whose Central Display boasts an innovative design.

The on-board monitor takes the form of a freestanding display with a flatscreen look. The high definition measures 10.2 inch across and features a high-quality galvanized chrome surround. The shallow depth of the display gives it a modern character. Trans-reflective technology ensures the display remains easy-to-read in bright sunlight. The new arrangement of the Central Display – which now reaches further into the passenger compartment –influences the architecture of the instrument panel, which rises steeply in front of the driver and front passenger.

This impression is further enhanced by the structure of the door trim panels. Their surfaces have a powerfully taut look and, like the black waistline surface, pull in and rise up to create a smooth transition into the instrument panel, giving the interior the effect of wrapping around the driver and front passenger.

Dimensions and Storage.
At 192.7 in. (4,894 mm) in length, the new BMW 650i Coupe is 2.9 in. (74 mm) longer than its predecessor. Its extended wheelbase now stretches to 112.4 in. (2,855 mm). The car is 1.5 in. (39 mm) wider, measuring 74.6 in. (1,894 mm) across, while 0.36 in. (9mm) have been shaved from its height (now 53.9 in. /1,369 mm). These dimensions create a significantly more powerful and elegant impression, while taking interior spaciousness to new levels.

Despite its lower height, the new BMW 650i Coupe offers greater headroom in both front and rear seats. The height adjustment of the driver and front passenger seats also covers a greater range of travel. The increase in the width of the interior is noticeable from all four seats, and passengers in the rear seats benefit from additional legroom. The tilt angle of the rear seat backrest now achieves virtually the same angle as found in BMW Sedans.

New lightweight technology, comprehensive safety equipment.
The new BMW 650i Coupe is fitted with newly developed lightweight seats with an integrated seatbelt system and standard 20-way multi-contour adjustability and adjustable lumbar support. Optionally, the Luxury Seating Package adds front ventilated seats and active fatigue reduction can be added. All seat variants come with crash-activated anti-whiplash head restraints.

The range of standard safety equipment also includes front airbags, head-thorax side airbags integrated into the seat frame, three-point automatic belts for all seats, belt force limiters and front belt pre-tensioners and ISOFIX child seat mounts in the rear.

Carefully researched advances in materials and development of the car’s load- bearing structure have significantly enhanced the body’s construction in terms of the agility and safety it offers. Its static torsional rigidity is about 50 percent greater than that of its predecessor. In the interests of perfect balance, the doors, hood and front spring mounts are all aluminum, while the front fenders, roof lid and trunklid are made from reinforced composite.

Cutting-edge features from BMW ConnectedDrive.
The new BMW 650i Coupe is available with a great variety of driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive. The comprehensive Driver Assistance Package includes Automatic High Beams, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Rear and Top View cameras, Parking Assistant, and a new three-dimensional, full-color Head-Up Display. Also available are BMW’s Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection and Active Cruise Control with stop-and-go capability.

HiFi stereo system.
The standard HiFi audio system in the new BMW 650i Coupe comes with an HD Radio receiver, MP3-compatible CD drive, AUX-IN connection, and a HiFi loudspeaker system with nine speakers. The available Premium Sound Package adds SiriusXM satellite radio with a 1-year subscription, iPod and USB adapter, and the Premium HiFi system comprised of 12 loudspeakers and a digital amplifier. It features DIRAC signal processing and model-specific equalizing.

Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System delivers an unparalleled audio experience.

When it comes to delivering audio pleasure of the highest order, the Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System designed especially for the new BMW 650i Coupe hits all the right notes. Jointly developed by the Danish audio specialists and BMW, this system produces an exceptionally natural sound from 16 speakers distributed around the cabin. It is a fully active system featuring digital signal processing, which means the two bass speakers, seven mid-range speakers and seven tweeters all have individual amplifiers. This technology enables the targeted modification of any sound reflections inside the vehicle. The Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System uses Dirac Dimensions™ technology to recreate the acoustics of a reference listening room in the passenger compartment. All vehicle occupants therefore enjoy the same high-quality sound stage wherever they are sitting.

The electrical signals are converted into precisely defined sound waves using neodymium magnet drivers, and the mid-range speakers feature extremely stiff Hexacone diaphragms. The outstanding quality of the Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System is underlined by exclusive design features. The form and color of the advanced all-aluminum speaker grilles have been tailored precisely to the interior design of the new BMW 650i Coupe. The special perforation pattern of the grilles is created using a very sophisticated drilling technique. The grille mounts are not visible from the outside, ensuring that the grilles stand out from their surroundings by appearing to float in a slightly raised position above the surface. This exclusive ambience is further enhanced by a discreet lighting effect, which showcases the contours of the sound sources with a subtly impressive effect. A both visually and acoustically significant innovation, meanwhile, is the novel design of the center speaker in the instrument panel area, which uses Acoustic Lens Technology developed by Bang & Olufsen to provide a particularly harmonious sound. As soon as the audio system is activated, the central element containing the integrated mid-range speaker pops up, prompting the tweeter lens to be extended at the same time. The tweeter lens distributes its signals evenly at 180 degrees throughout the interior. This extraordinarily harmonious horizontal dispersion of sound is achieved through the special design of the lens, which also minimizes unwanted vertical sound dispersion.

Industry leading new-generation Head-Up Display.
Like its predecessor, the new BMW 650i Coupe is the only vehicle in its class with an optional Head-Up Display system. By projecting important information onto the windshield, directly in the driver’s line of sight, the Head-Up Display minimizes distraction from the road and traffic. The new-generation system brings a further improvement in display quality: the symbols are projected as three-dimensional graphics and in ultra-clear resolution onto the windshield. Full-color capability makes the road sign symbols even more realistic. At the same time the Head-Up Display is now able to present a wider range of information. Depending on vehicle specification, guidance information supplied by the Navigation system, Check Control messages, status messages from the Lane Departure Warning System and warnings from the BMW Night Vision system can all be shown in the Head-Up Display. The positioning of the messages on the windshield is highly ergonomic, so that drivers are aware of them without having to refocus or take their eyes off the road.

The intensity of the projection automatically adjusts to the ambient light level, and the brightness setting can be adjusted via the iDrive menu. The driver can also choose what information will appear in the Head-Up Display in addition to road speed and warnings from the driver assistance systems.

Rear-View, Top View, and Side View Cameras.
To supplement the standard Park Distance Control, which uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor distance from objects in front or behind, the new BMW 650i Coupe also features a standard rear-view camera. The camera is integrated in the trunklid under the BMW “roundel” badge, which protects it from dirt. When the rear-view camera is activated, the roundel badge pivots up out of the way to expose the camera lens. The perspective-corrected color images are relayed to the Central Display. Superimposed on the images are interactive tracking lines which indicate the optimal steering angle for parking, as well as the tightest turning circle.

The optional Top View system with Side View provides an even more comprehensive picture. In addition to the rear-view camera and the PDC sensors, this system also uses a fish-eye camera in each of the side mirrors. The data acquired by Top View is relayed to a central computer which generates a bird’s eye view of both vehicle and surroundings and presents the image in the Central Display. This view allows the driver to maneuver precisely in confined spaces.

The Side View function uses two cameras integrated in the front fenders to provide an improved view of cross-traffic at speeds below 10mph. These images are relayed to the Central Display where they may give the driver an early idea of what is happening on the road to the left and right of the car when pulling out from narrow and concealed gateways or car park exits.

The BMW 650i Coupe: Production in Dingolfing, Germany.
The new BMW 650i Coupe is built at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany. Also rolling off the assembly line at the BMW Group’s largest production plant are the BMW 7 Series and BMW 5 Series models. The flexible and efficient processes at the plant combine state-of-the-art production technology with a standard of quality defined by meticulous craftsmanship in the manufacture of premium cars configured to customer requ

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Detroit 2011: 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe revs its beating heart

BMW's latest introduction to the U.S. market bowed today at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, and it's a machine that's meant to light the true enthusiast's heart aflutter: the 2012 1 Series M Coupe. We must say, it looks rather striking in the metallic orange hue you see in our live photo gallery below.

Even more importantly, the 340 horsepower put out by its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine is said to "capture the soul of the original M3." Or so they say... BMW claims this new sportster was inspired by the 1988 M3, and the German automaker's intention is reportedly to "illustrate its ability to build race car performance into a small car, capable of everyday use."

Expect to see the new 1 Series M Coupe hit dealership lots in the spring of 2011 for $47,010, in limited quantities according to BMW.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Detroit 2011: 2012 BMW 650i Convertible goes topless in the Motor City

In addition to the scorched orange 1 Series M Coupe at the BMW booth in Detroit was the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. Under the sharply creased (and rather long) hood lies a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V8 that manages to shove out 450 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. All that grunt will be sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW claims the new 6 Series Convertible can drop its flying-buttress-equipped fabric top in exactly 19 seconds an there's also a 10.2-inch screen to control the standard iDrive technology package. Not bad, but such niceties are to be expected when you are asked to pay a wallet-busting $91,375 for the privilege of owning one, which you'll be able to do sometime in the spring of 2011.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Paris 2010: BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé looks low, flat and mean

2011 BMW 6 Series Coupe Concept

BMW's press conference at the Paris Motor Show won't take place until later today, but the boys from Bavaria left their Concept 6 Series Coupé hanging around on the display's massive curved plinth.

While we couldn't finagle our way inside to take a gander at the interior (at least not yet), the crisply styled GT clearly foreshadows the nearly-here 6 Series production model. The attractive and surprisingly large coupe borrows bits from Beijing's Grand Coupe concept as well as the new 5 Series, particularly in the nose.

When it arrives next year, the serial 6'er will likely be powered by BMW's range of turbocharged and naturally aspirated six-cylinder engines, with eight-cylinder motivation reserved for the next M6.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Paris 2010: BMW X3 is new yet familiar

2011 BMW X3

BMW has whisked the sheets off its 2011 X3, and the second-generation crossover looks suspiciously like its predecessor. Beyond a seemingly endless parade of spy shots over the last couple of years, that's predictable, as the X3 has been a considerable sales success for the German automaker.

While the sheetmetal stays largely the same, the lineup receives new engines and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that's set to spread like kudzu throughout the automaker's offerings. The X3 also becomes the first model in BMW's growing X franchise to adopt electric power steering (the automaker's controversial variable sports steering rack is optional), as well as optional Damper Control and Dynamic Drive Control (as seen on its range of sedans and sports cars).

In addition to the new sheetmetal, BMW promises added rear seat room, addressing one of the vehicle's key shortcomings for the North American market.

Power will come from BMW's Twinpower Turbo (Bimmerese for twin-scroll turbo) inline six-cylinder engine that gives the XDrive35i model 306 brake horsepower at 5,800 rpm with max torque of 295 pound-feet of torque at just 1,300 rpm. That's good enough for a 0-62 mph time of just 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph, though it's not clear if that figure will be governed when it reaches us Yanks. An entry-level xDrive28i model will also receive I-6 power, with 240 hp and 230 pound-feet of torque. Naturally, diesel mills will also be available in other areas of the globe, but as of yet, BMW officials haven't committed to bringing an oil burner to the States. The gas model, however, should be in showrooms before year's end, and for U.S. buyers, it'll have a shorter distance to travel, as it will be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

BMW Lovos concept

BMW Lovos concept

It must be fun to be a car designer. Unless, of course, your name becomes synonymous with a specific styling trend that very few seem to appreciate... but we digress. It definitely seems that 24-year-old Pforzheim University graduate Anne Forschner had a good time coming up with her BMW Lovos concept, which can alternatively look either like a frightened porcupine or svelte salmon, depending on its needs at the time.

The exterior of the Lovos – which somewhat ironically stands for Lifestyle of Voluntary Simplicity – is theoretically constructed from just one fully exchangeable part that recurs 260 times. Each exterior piece is covered in solar photovoltaic cells and can hinge on a substructure underneath to follow the sun or act as individual airbrakes. We can only assume the concept would be powered by electricity, as it makes our hairs stand up on end.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

First Drive: BMW 535i Gran Turismo

BMW 535i Gran Turismo

Evolution is a tough thing to watch – and not merely because it takes millions of years. While the developmental pace of the automobile has proven to be rather quicker than the natural world surrounding it, the car industry's recent house-on-fire rush into new niches and sub-genres has often been similarly challenging to make sense of. Like those primordial fish that beach themselves, drag their bellies on the sand with their fins and eventually mutate into, say, Adriana Lima, you just have to know that the industry's recent diversification efforts will eventually yield a timeless beauty or two. But thus far, you could be forgiven for thinking that the process will take a few hundred millennia – especially where it concerns the industry's nascent call-me-anything-but-a-station-wagon movement.

While the burgeoning four-door coupe segment has already yielded some supermodels, the kinlugger set has yet to work out the same way. This, despite seemingly every automaker downing the midnight Red Bull in an effort to hit upon a package that bundles the functional attributes of a family hauler without their social stigma. Some companies are disguising their efforts as SUVs (traditional square-rigged crossovers); a few have waded in with quasi-minivans, while others are staking their claim to the muddy hatchback middle ground. Enter the latest automotive platypus, BMW's 5 Series Gran Turismo, a distinctive new five-door that aims to meld the practical utility of a CUV and a station wagon without the either genre's dynamic and civil penalties.

First things first. There's no point in dodging the obvious: Aesthetics will be the primary topic of discussion whenever the 5 Series Gran Turismo comes in for scrutiny. And with good reason – we haven't seen anything quite like it before. Up front, the 5GT's enlarged kidney grilles cant forward ever so slightly, creating an aggressive look reinforced by twin corona headlamps and muscular front fenders. The grille's rake isn't as deliberate or convincing as, say, an E28 5 Series, but it does lend the face a degree of menace without running afoul of European pedestrian safety standards. Follow the headlamps along their main character line, and you'll run across a traditional high-waisted beltline. But it isn't really until the rear end that the shock sets in – the 5GT's jarring, fastback-like greenhouse that terminates in a novel (if controversial) dual-hinged liftback arrangement.

While we wouldn't use the word "elegant" to describe this vehicle's styling (as our BMW hosts often did), it certainly possesses a shape for which the old classified ad chestnut "Must see to appreciate" was surely created. Simply put, while far from a traditional beauty, the 5GT's proportions acquit themselves significantly better in the metal than they do in print or on screen. Natural light plays with the body's details in more flattering ways, and on the road, its scale can be more readily appreciated.

The 5GT's polarizing visuals will be its biggest hurdle to consumer acceptance.
More than most, the 5GT is a motion-sensitive design, looking quite a bit better on the move than it does when static. And although it isn't likely to be confused with something from, say, an Italian design house, we must say it looked very much at home parked in front of the beautiful vistas and posh hotspots of Lisbon, Portugal, where we sampled it last week. Still, it's clear that the 5GT's polarizing visuals will undoubtedly be its biggest hurdle to consumer acceptance.

As you might reasonably surmise, the real beauty here is on the inside. Light and airy thanks to a standard-fit panoramic sunroof, the 5GT's cabin manages to eschew the inky Teutonic sobriety that most modern Bimmers succumb to, particularly when lighter material colors are selected. Like other BMWs, the dashboard is a study in horizontal layers that emphasize the interior's width, and the 5GT has genuinely inspired door panels whose undulating lines flow uninterrupted between the front and rear passenger compartments. In particular, the rear cards take an unusual and visually compelling form, with the door handles riding the crest of a wave that wraps around behind the second row.

As with the door panels that surrounds them, the rear seats are actually the most comfortable perches in the whole place. 5GT models come standard with a 40/20/40 split seat with a nice fold-down console. However, that narrow center section is unlikely to prove useful for actual occupants, so we would recommend splurging on the optional fixed armrest/console, which adds electric articulation and more luxurious buckets (either setup has 3.9 inches of fore-aft travel and 15 to 33 degree adjustable rake), individual climate control for each occupant, sunshades and a genuine limousine-like environment – especially when fitted with optional creature comforts like the dual-screen DVD. With the legroom of a 7 Series and the headroom of an X5, it's a much nicer place to spend time than in the current 5 Series Touring. And while we don't normally tend to think of pent-roof five-door hatchbacks as "Gran Tourer" material, a stint in the second row of this Bimmer readily communicates why the moniker has been appropriated.

Of course, the front seats aren't so bad, either, and BMW has resisted fitting a too-thick steering wheel here as it has to some of its other vehicles. Observed fit-and-finish was first rate, and it's surprising to find such features as auto soft-close doors and power headrests as standard equipment. All major controls are within easy reach, with many being accessed through the latest generation of iDrive, which is much improved but still a bit complex for our tastes.

The 5GT's pièce de résistance is the aforementioned twin-hinged liftback. The hatch can open wide at its roof-mounted hinge to accept bulky items, or a smaller secondary aperture below the glass can be opened giving the car sedan-like versatility. Why is this a big deal? Well, aside from being a party trick to awe the neighbors, if you select the smaller opening, you can load what is effectively a completely sealed trunk, ensuring that wayward drafts – be they frigid or acrid – won't invade the passenger compartment. Further, with a sturdy parcel shelf (which can be stowed below the flat load floor) and a partition between the passenger compartment and the cargo hold, the system pays aural dividends as well. Despite using frameless doors, the 5GT is impressively isolated from the sorts of road noises typically fomented by boomy open cargo areas.

At first, the hatch arrangement struck us as a bit gimmicky, but in practice, its advantages become clearer. One thing that doesn't come clearer, however, is the view out back. Presumably, the double-joined mechanicals eat into space that might otherwise have manifested itself as a larger glass area, because what's left is a mail slot of a rear window. Oddly, BMW has declined to use shingle-style headrests that would have made the best of the available sightlines. As it is, plan on becoming BFF with the excellent backup camera.

For a marque that has prided itself on being the Ultimate Driving Machine, it's perhaps a bit ironic that the best seat in the 5GT's haus is in the back. But if you were expecting us to say that BMW's latest is a disappointing driver – or that it rides and handles like a 5 Series Touring with three-inch lifts on – dock yourself a few points, because it's better than all that.

For one, this segment-splitter isn't really analogous to the E60/E61 5 Series at all – it's actually built on the modular chassis that will underpin the next generation 5- and 6- Series. As such, its closest relative is the new standard-length 7 Series sedan, a model with which it shares its 120.7-inch wheelbase (the current 5 Series Touring's is considerably shorter at 113.6-inches) and front- and rear tracks. The wheels are nearer to the corners than in Bimmer's big-dollar sedan, however, as the overall length is trimmer by about three inches, and the roofline is taller by just over the same amount.

That generous footprint pays dividends not just in a munificent interior, but also in polished, big car comportment. While Bavarian Motors of yore suffered stiff-legged rides because of their run-flat tires' reinforced sidewalls, we experienced no such issues on Portugal's admittedly first-rate roadways. Further R&D by rubber companies has clearly helped to minimize ride penalties associated with the technology, and both the 245/50 18-inch tires and 245/45 front, 275/40 rear 19-inch tire packages we sampled struck a reasonable balance between comfort and handling.

With its so-called "semi-command" seating (the hip point is two inches higher than the current 5 Series but a full four inches lower than the X5), you might expect the 5GT to feel a wee bit tipsy, but it's nothing of the sort. Yes, there's no denying the physics behind 4,500+ pounds if you really overcook it going into a corner, but this rear-driver responds gamely to inputs, with the right amount of compliance from the double-wishbone front and rear multilink suspension setup and decisive, well-timed gearchanges from its ZF eight-speed automatic to aid driver confidence upon entrance and exit.

BMW came up with a far more complete product than we thought, but how will it successfully market this thing?
While we were a bit surprised at the absence of paddle shifters on the vehicles we sampled, with the octocog transmission's broad selection of ratios at the ready and plenty of torque from both the inline-six in the 535i and 530i diesel (we couldn't resist sampling this not-for-U.S. treat) we didn't miss them – and besides, there's a tap-shift feature on the gearlever. No manual gearbox is offered, and even if the 5GT gets an M variant, we wouldn't bet on finding one inside.

Despite the car's long wheelbase and substantial curb weight, the 5GT still proved itself to be an engaging steer on the undulating coastal roads around Lisbon. Speaking of – if you prefer a quicker helm, BMW offers an optional Integral Active Steering system that varies the rack's ratio and provides a bit of rear-wheel steering. However, we're not sure we see the need. While IAS may help shave a second or so off your lap time at the Nürburgring, it seems rather beside the point with a practically minded vehicle like the 5GT. Further, the standard hydraulic system offers superior feedback and more predictable turn-in with the added benefit of lower cost and complexity.

Similarly, although the 4.4-liter V8-powered 550i model wasn't available for sampling at the launch event (it's the only engine that will be available Stateside when the model launches in December), we can't see why we wouldn't save some ducats and go with less expensive 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo inline-six of the 535i, as it's substantially lighter, offers plenty of power, and promises to be more economical to purchase and operate. With 304 horsepower (@ 5,800 rpm) and 295 pound-feet of torque available from just 1,200 rpm, it's also no slouch. Sixty mph arrives in an estimated 6.3 seconds and the party doesn't stop until 155 mph. Unfortunately, you'll have to hold out until next spring if you want the new direct-injected, Valvetronic-equipped six, but at least if you're willing to wait that long, you'll also probably be able to select xDrive for enhanced all-season grip.

Regardless of engine choice, all U.S.-bound 5GTs will feature Dynamic Drive Control, a rocker switch that gives the driver the ability to electronically gird the car's various systems for performance driving. DDC alters everything from throttle response to gearbox shift points, stability control thresholds and steering assistance. Those settings come in the form of Normal, Sport, and Sport + – we'd recommend the middle setting even for daily driving duties, as it isn't too firm.

Having spent some quality time both driving and reflecting upon what BMW has created here, we're convinced that Munich has come up with a far more complete product than we might have reasonably thought. It drives very well and it offers a number of unique functional attributes that we can see being of real value for some customers. What we're still foggy on, however, is how BMW will successfully market this thing. With its modest ground clearance, it isn't a crossover, and it isn't really a minivan/people mover either. It's just different enough that it has no natural competitors – especially in America, which isn't slated to get vehicles like Audi's A5 Sportback. Premium rear-drive hatches like the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz's slow-selling R-Class are just too far afield to be considered rivals, and even though pricing has yet to be revealed (we're guessing the generously equipped 535i will start in the mid-$ixties somewhere), it figures to be costlier than, say, an Audi A6 Avant.

To be fair, being a party-of-one can be an enviable position from which to operate, but it can also place one outside popular consideration. Whether BMW's marketing crew can convince American consumers that a tallish 5 Series with a prehensile tail is the next evolution of the premium family car remains to be seen. Will the Gran Turismo prove to be the missing link that buyers have been clamoring for, or an evolutionary cul-de-sac? Only natural selection customer dollars will decide.

[Source: Autoblog]

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: BMW 7 Series Active Hybrid

BMW 7 Series Active Hybrid

BMW isn't taking any chances with its reputation for dynamics with the 7 Series Active Hybrid. To its 449-hp and 479-lb-ft 4.4-liter twin turbo V8 heart it adds a 60-pound, 35-cell lithium-ion battery in the boot. The battery doesn't take too much away from the trunk since it replaces the rear-seat air-conditioning unit from the standard 7.

The battery boosts maximum torque to 516 lb-ft when everything is really humming, and that gets the huge-ish hybrid to 60 in 4.9 seconds rowing through the eight-speed automatic. The battery, a judicious foot, and hybrid stalwarts like brake energy regeneration can get you 25 mpg. Until Brad and Angelina finish with their Hydrogen 7, this is your best bet for a caring Bavarian luxo-barge.


2.4 Greater Efficiency,Greater Supremacy, Greater Luxury: The BMW ActiveHybrid 7.

BMW is proud to present the most supreme and luxurious rendition of hybrid technology ever seen so far in the automobile: BMW ActiveHybrid 7.

Based on the BMW 7 Series, this unique car sets new standards for efficiency in the luxury class. BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is the fi rst car in the world to combine a V8 gasoline engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor as a mild hybrid concept.

This symbiosis of an upgraded eight-cylinder with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and High Precision Injection with a three-phase synchronous electric motor gives BMW ActiveHybrid 7 overall system output of 342 kW/465 hp and maximum torque of 700 Newton-metres/516 lb-ft. Power is transmitted via an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the electric motor positioned in compact configuration between the combustion engine and the converter on the automatic transmission receiving its supply of energy from a lithium-ion battery developed especially for use in the automobile.

Precisely controlled interaction of both power sources serves to optimise not only the effi ciency but also the dynamic performance and superior comfort of BMW ActiveHybrid 7. The result is a truly thrilling driving experience and, at the same time, a unique demonstration of hybrid technology with its outstanding potential. BMW ActiveHybrid 7accelerates to 100 km/h in a mere 4.9 seconds, while keeping average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle to 9.4 litres/ 100 kilometres (equivalent to 29.1 mpg imp) and restricting CO2 emissions to just 219 grams per kilometre.

Hybrid technology also provides new options for the particularly efficient use and enjoyment of additional comfort functions. As an example, BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is the fi rst BMW with automatic transmission to feature an Auto Start Stop function avoiding idle speed operation of the engine when at a standstill or in traffi c jams. A further signifi cant advantage is that the air conditioning and ventilation system remains fully operational also with the engine switched off, power being supplied directly through the 120-volt on-board network operating on the lithium-ion battery.

This unique concept of engine management for the fi rst allows truly effective climate control also at a standstill in a luxury performance car, cooling the interior of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 to a signifi cantly lower temperature right from the start, before the driver even fi res the engine.

Special displays in the instrument cluster and the Control Display inform the occupants of the degree of effi ciency and the current operating status of the hybrid components. Nineteen-inch light-alloy rims in aerodynamically optimized ten-spoke turbine wheel design created exclusively for BMW ActiveHybrid 7 as well as model designations on the luggage compartment lid, the C-pillars behind the side windows and on the door cutouts clearly set aside the hybrid models from their "regular" counterparts right from the start. And last but certainly not least, BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is also available in Bluewater metallic exterior paintwork exclusive to this very special model.

Like the existing models within the BMW 7 Series, BMW's fi rst luxury saloon with hybrid drive is entering the market in two body variants. The extended version of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 comes with wheelbase increased by 14 centimetres or 5.5", benefi ting exclusively the rear-seat passengers. And to optimize the driving experience and grand touring comfort for individual requirements, both models are available with a wide range of options from the portfolio of
equipment and accessories offered on the BMW 7 Series.

BMW ActiveHybrid as a major element of the BMW Effi cientDynamics development strategy.
Right from the start, the regular production models in the new BMW 7 Series come with a broad scope of BMW Effi cientDynamics technologies quite unparalleled worldwide in their diversity and effects. Now BMW ActiveHybrid technology offers yet another option, hybrid technology for the fi rst time achieving the unique standard already defi ned by BMW in the luxury performance segment.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7 takes a truly innovative approach in ensuring outstanding efficiency in the luxury class. At the same time this unique saloon offers dynamic driving characteristics at a level by far exceeding everything hybrid cars have been able to offer so far.

Appropriate use of the electric motor also in the interest of driving comfort likewise ensures yet another signifi cant step into the future provided by the development of hybrid components focusing on both the requirements of the luxury class and the characteristics so typical of a genuine BMW. The result is an extremely effi cient luxury performance saloon at the same time offering unprecedented Sheer Driving Pleasure for a hybrid car.

BMW ActiveHybrid is an important module within the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy offering technologies able to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions on every new model and at the same time enhance driving performance to an unprecedented standard.

Now the innovative drivetrain technology of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 serves to further enhance the effi ciency of the car and the driving pleasure it is able to offer, with the gasoline engine and electric motor being perfectly coordinated with one another to provide a signifi cant improvement of dynamic performance and motoring comfort and, at the same time, to capitalise on the use of energy in the fuel under a wide range of different driving conditions.

BMW uses hybrid technology wherever it can make a particularly effective contribution to the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. As a rule, the savings potential of hybrid technology increases with the power of the combustion engine interacting with the system. Precisely this is why BMW ActiveHybrid technology in conjunction with a V8 power unit achieves a signifi cantly greater effect than when combined, say, with a six- or four cylinder engine.

In the case of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 precise coordination of the electric motor and the V8 power unit serves to optimise the effi ciency of the combustion engine under all kinds of different loads and under many conditions. And through its use in a luxury performance saloon, BMW's sophisticated ActiveHybrid technology offers a particularly convincing rendition of its exclusive character.

Intelligent energy management optimising the generation, storage and use of electric power.
The drivetrain technology in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 ensures a particularly intelligent standard of energy management within the car serving to make maximum use of the energy contained in the fuel in generating superior driving dynamics and at the same time to increase motoring comfort to an even higher standard, thus generating Sheer Driving Pleasure from each and every drop of fuel. The intelligent hybrid concept comprises both the generation and use of electrical energy, with loss-free storage of electric power ensured by the high performance lithium-ion battery. Both the process of charging the battery and the supply of power to the electric motor as well as all other power-consuming items are ensured and masterminded by power electronics developed specifically for BMW ActiveHybrid 7.

Electric power generated on no extra fuel as an additional energy reserve.
BMW ActiveHybrid technology uses energy converted into heat and therefore wasted in conventional cars through the operation and use of the brakes. In terms of power generation, this unique technology is therefore an ongoing development proceeding from the Brake Energy Regeneration used by BMW on all model series in the brand's current gasoline and diesel models with BMW Effi cientDynamics.

Referred to also as the recuperation of power, Brake Energy Regeneration concentrates the development of electric power for the on-board network on appropriate running conditions either with the car in overrun or when applying the brakes. Then, when accelerating, energy is fed into the on-board network from the lithium-ion battery, relieving the combustion engine of the task of converting some of the energy contained in the fuel directly into electric current, and thus enabling the engine to provide more power for the actual process of accelerating.

The result is even faster and dynamic acceleration, while the electrical energy obtained in this way is generated without any additional consumption of fuel as soon as the car is rolling or the driver applies the brakes. As long as the driver requires only a small amount of brake power, the system uses only the electrical brake force, with the mechanical brakes being activated only when the driver presses down the brake pedal harder for more stopping power.

DSC Dynamic Stability Control serves to mastermind the balance of electrical and mechanical braking, naturally maintaining all the driver's freedom in dosing the brakes. A fi nal – and again an important – point is that the driver does not even perceive the transition from braking with electric power to braking with the mechanical brake system.

Two interconnected on-board networks for flexible management of energy.
Electric power generated in overrun and when applying the brakes on BMW ActiveHybrid 7 in a neutral process without any additional consumption of fuel is fed into the car's two on-board networks: BMW ActiveHybrid 7 features both a conventional 12-volt on-board network fed by an AGM (absorbent glass mat) battery and a high-voltage battery featuring lithium-ion technology and operating at 120 V. This lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric motor as soon as it is required to perform an additional drive function or serves to start the combustion engine.

The a/c compressor on BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is also integrated in the 120-volt network, with all other electrically operated functions of the car being supplied with power from the 12-volt network. The two on-board networks are connected with one another by a voltage converter providing fl exible energy management also serving to operate all electrical functions on the car on electric power generated without any additional consumption of fuel. The 12-volt battery is fed with energy from the high-voltage network, which it supports itself whenever necessary, for example when starting the combustion engine cold.

Cutting-edge energy storage technology: lithium-ion battery with superior capacity and multi-cycle operating strength.
Introducing the lithium-ion battery, BMW is taking yet a further step into the future with particularly effi cient and, at the same time, fl exible use of electric power in the car. This means that energy generated in the recuperation process must be fed at all times and, depending on driving conditions, in a varying rhythm to a storage unit where it is kept available for subsequent use whenever required. A further requirement is to use a battery with significant storage capacity for covering long distances without overrun or application of the brakes and without any bottlenecks in the supply process.

The AGM batteries already used in all conventional production cars with Brake Energy Regeneration offer the advantage of being able to handle frequent and irregular charge and discharge cycles without any loss of power. A mild hybrid concept, on the other hand, makes even greater demands, thus requiring a high-voltage battery with a much higher level of performance to also supply the electric motor with the energy capacity required for its drive function.

The system developed for BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is based on the most advanced lithium-ion technology meeting the greatest demands in terms of power loads and lasting operation. Lithium-ion batteries have already proven their particularly high storage capacity and cycle resistance in many other applications such as mobile phones and laptops. The energy storage unit used in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 confirms the potential of this technology once again, this time under particularly demanding conditions in the automobile. The useful energy provided by this high-performance battery is 400 watt hours, with the battery itself comprising 35 cells as well as an integrated control unit permanently analysing the charge level and ensuring appropriate dependability under all kinds of driving conditions and throughout a wide range of temperatures.

Despite its high level of performance, the lithium-ion battery measures just 37 x 22 x 23 centimetres (14.6 x 8.7 x 9.1 inches) and weighs a mere 27 kg or 59.5 lb. Hence, it is hardly larger than a conventional car battery and is housed conveniently in the luggage compartment between the wheel arches of BMW ActiveHybrid 7, safely surrounded by a high-strength special casing. This ensures perfect protection of the battery and at the same time helps to give the car precise weight distribution.

The space required is about the same as the space taken up by the additional compressor for the rear-seat air conditioning in the conventional BMW 7 Series, with this compressor not being featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7. The luggage compartment with its capacity of 460 litres/16.1 cu ft therefore offers adequate space for four 46-inch golf bags also in BMW ActiveHybrid 7.

Consistent optimisation: V8 power unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo and High Precision Injection.
The combustion unit featured in BMW's fi rst hybrid luxury saloon is not only particularly powerful, but also the most efficient engine of its kind. Indeed, the combination of BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and High Precision Injection ensures an exceptionally good balance of performance and fuel consumption, the 4.4-litre V8 applying the principle of BMW EfficientDynamics on a particularly high level.

A further advantage is that the all-aluminium power unit offers the qualities typical of an eight-cylinder in an incomparably sporting and, at the same time, comfortable rendition, combining superior power and pulling force from low engine speeds with an impressive surge of thrust and traction throughout the entire speed range, as well as excellent running smoothness. Given these features, the V8 is indeed the ideal foundation for a hybrid concept in the luxury class serving to ensure outstanding efficiency, fascinating driving dynamics and supreme motoring comfort all in one.

The power and performance characteristics of the V8 power unit result to a large extent from BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology. The engineering principle used for the fi rst on an eight-cylinder gasoline engine with two turbochargers not positioned at the outside, but directly within the V-area to supply compressed air to four cylinders at a time, ensures unparalleled spontaneity in its direct response to the gas pedal. Highly efficient use of fuel, in turn, is ensured by High Precision Injection, this second generation of direct gasoline injection using piezo-injectors positioned directly next to the spark plugs in the cylinder head and delivering fuel in the combustion chambers at a pressure of 200 bar. This is the best guarantee for the extremely precise dosage of fuel and a particularly clean combustion process.

The eight-cylinder power unit featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 develops maximum output of 330 kW/449 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm. At the same time this supreme V8 maintains huge torque of 650 Newton-metres/479 lb-ft consistently all the way from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm.

The result is supreme power and muscle starting just above idle speed, the dynamic response of the engine being further enhanced by the electric motor with its additional momentum.

The spontaneous and direct response of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 to the gas pedal particularly when accelerating from a standstill gives the car a standard of acceleration quite unprecedented among both conventional models running on a combustion engine only and existing hybrid models already in the market. Indeed, acceleration to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds ranks the saloon close to the performance of the fastest and most thoroughbred sports cars.

Another incomparable quality is the subjective feeling of outstanding supremacy the hybrid drive system gives the driver through its direct response free of any delay. Top speed of BMW ActiveHybrid 7, finally, is limited to 250 km/h or 155 mph.

Electric motor starting and supporting the V8 power unit.
BMW ActiveHybrid 7 owes its characteristic driving features to the harmonious symbiosis of the combustion engine and the electric motor providing a smooth and efficient supply of power at all times. The electric motor supports the V8 power unit in developing even greater power and torque for superior performance.

Under less dynamic driving conditions the drive power provided by the electric motor enables the combustion engine to run under more favourable load conditions for maximum effi ciency, thus optimising its operating qualities. The additional power reserves serve at the same time to give this unique saloon outstanding supremacy under all conditions, the reduction of engine speed at a steady level of road speed improving not only the standard of efficiency, but also the running smoothness of the combustion engine.

The three-phase synchronous electric motor featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is positioned between the combustion engine and the automatic transmission converter, and is connected fi rmly to the crankshaft. Shaped like a disc, the electric motor weighs just 23 kg or not quite 51 lb, its compact design ensuring full integration in the transmission housing.

The electric motor generates additional drive power of 15 kW/20 hp, withmaximum power increasing to an even more substantial 20 kW/27 hp inthe generator mode charging the lithium-ion battery. Peak torque, in turn, is 210 Newton-metres or 155 lb-ft.

In the driving mode BMW ActiveHybrid 7 benefi ts from maximum output of 342 kW/465 hp and peak torque of 700 Newton-metres/516 lb-ft. So far only much larger engines were able to provide comparable power and performance, in most cases with a corresponding increase in fuel consumption.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7, by contrast, combines its signifi cantly enhanced power and performance with an equally impressive increase in effi ciency. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 9.4 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 29.1 mpg imp) and a CO2 rating of 219 grams per kilometre proves that BMW ActiveHybrid Technology is most certainly a highly innovative and future-oriented rendition of the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy.

Unique: eight-speed automatic transmission in combination with Auto Start Stop.
To transmit the drive power developed jointly by the V8 power unit and the electric motor, BMW ActiveHybrid 7 comes with a newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission specifi cally tailored to the demands and potentials of hybrid technology. This high-tech transmission of the latest standard combines gearshift comfort, sportiness and effi ciency at a level never seen before. A particular highlight of the new eight-speed automatic transmission is the innovative
gearset confi guration providing two additional gears and a larger overall gear range than on the six-speed automatic transmission used by BMW so far without any negative repercussions in terms of size, weight, and inner efficiency.

With the number of gears increased to eight, the differences in engine speed from one gear to the next are smaller than before, despite the overall range of gear ratios. This, in turn, benefi ts the sporting character of the transmission and, as a result, the dynamic performance of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 again so typical of the brand. And last but not least, the smaller differences between gears ensure an even higher standard of gearshift comfort in this new luxury saloon.

The combustion engine, electric motor and eight-speed automatic transmission form one complete unit set out for maximum effi ciency in BMW ActiveHybrid 7. This is also confi rmed by the innovative rendition of the Auto Start Stop function already featured as standard in BMW's four-cylinder models with manual gearshift. Now this cutting-edge technology serving to reduce both fuel consumption and emissions is combined for the fi rst time with automatic transmission and further optimised in its efficiency.

The Auto Start Stop function automatically switches off the combustion engine when idling, reducing fuel consumption at a red traffi c light or, say, in traffic congestions to absolutely zero. Then, once the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal, the combustion engine is re-started automatically.

This configuration of Auto Start Stop helps to switch off the engine more frequently and for a longer period, thus reducing fuel consumption even more effectively. This is made possible by the particularly effi cient starter system, activation of the combustion engine by the electric motor supplied with power from the high-voltage battery enabling the engine to start extremely quickly and without any vibrations.

A further technology contributing to this effect is the newly developed hydraulic pulse battery for an even faster build-up of positive engagement in the automatic transmission. The delay-free ignition serves furthermore to reduce emissions while starting.

The engine is also switched off when the driver uses the Auto Hold function in stop-and-go traffi c, in which case he again just has to slightly press down the gas pedal in order to re-activate the gasoline engine, which is immediately switched off the next time the driver applies the brakes.

Unrestricted climate comfort in a stopover, auxiliary cooling forpleasant starting conditions.
The climate control system in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is supplied with power directly from the high-voltage battery, thus ensuring all the usual functions regardless of whether the combustion engine is currently running or not. Hence, operation of the Auto Start Stop function does not mean any restrictions in terms of comfort or motoring pleasure, the driver's and passengers' desired temperature being maintained consistently within the car also in traffi c congestion or when making a stopover in city traffic.

Featured as standard in BMW ActiveHybrid 7, four-zone automatic air conditioning comprises a standstill climate control function activated whenever required by remote control. This serves to cool down the interior in, say, bright sunshine
before setting out in the car, the highly efficient air conditioning reducing temperature quickly and effi ciently by more than 30° C, providing pleasant starting conditions in an appropriately cool and pleasant passenger compartment.

Yet a further advantage is that the a/c compressor initiates its cooling function much earlier than in a conventional car, the air conditioning in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 thus offering qualities unique the world over in terms of function and effi ciency only possible with the high-performance lithium-ion battery.

Efficiency made visible: special display concept.
The innovative drive components featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 have a positive effect under all driving conditions on the effi ciency and dynamic performance of this high-tech saloon. Their current level of effi ciency and the operating mode are presented by special gauges in the cockpit and on the Control Display.

Featuring the most advanced black panel technology, the instrument cluster in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is supplemented by an energy fl ow display in the lower section of the rev counter, a blue arrow showing the current status of recuperation. When accelerating, in turn, an additional graphic display illustrates the boost effect generated by the electric motor.

Using the iDrive control system in the Control Display, the driver is able to activate an even more detailed rendition of the combustion engine and the electric motor in their interaction. Over and above the current charge level of the lithium-ion battery, this display function also shows the current fl ow of energy – storage of energy when applying the brakes and in overrun, a shift in the load point when driving at a steady speed, discharge of energy while accelerating.

As an alternative to this graphic display, the system is also able at the touch of a button to analyse the current level of efficiency in per cent. In this case a bar diagram updated every minute shows to what extent the efficiency potential of the hybrid components have been exhausted in the last fifteen minutes.

Superior suspension technology for maximum supremacy on the road.
BMW ActiveHybrid 7 combines superior effi ciency with a truly fascinating driving experience. Over and above the drive system as such, the sophisticated suspension technology featured in the BMW 7 Series gives this new saloon its unparalleled supremacy.

Interaction of a double track control arm front axle with an Integral-V rear axle offers not only numerous benefi ts in terms of comfort and driving dynamics, but also unusually smooth and harmonious anti-roll and transition behaviour in bends.

The long-wheelbase version of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 comes additionally with air suspension including self-levelling on the rear axle. Both models, in turn, are fitted as standard with BMW's speed-related Servotronic power steering as well as Dynamic Damping Control, the dampers adjusting to both road conditions and the driver's style of motoring.

Pressing the button on the centre console, the driver is able through Dynamic Damping Control to choose his preferred damper setting, the appropriate operation of DSC Dynamic Stability Control, the degree of gearshift dynamics on the automatic transmission, as well as the control maps on the gas pedal and Servotronic steering. In all, Dynamic Damping Control offers the choice of COMFORT, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT + in setting up the suspension ofthe car.

The compound brake system on BMW ActiveHybrid 7 ensures truly excellent stopping power in every situation bringing the car safely to a standstill with minimum stopping distance even from high speeds. Inner-vented discs and swing-calliper brakes front and rear optimised for their efficiency guarantee extreme resistance to fading and maximum brake comfort.

BMW ActiveHybrid comes as standard with model-specific 19-inch light-alloy rims in aerodynamically optimised ten-spoke turbine wheel design. Likewise featured as standard, runfl at safety tyres measuring 245/45 R19 at the front and 275/40 R19 at the rear enable the driver to continue even after a complete loss of pressure at a speed of up to 80 km/h or 50 mph, covering a distance, depending on the load the vehicle is carrying, of up to 250 kilometres or 155 miles. And last but certainly not least, the Tyre Pressure Indicator consistently measures tyre pressure and warns the driver whenever the pressure in the tyres drops more than 20 per cent.

Optimum visibility, all-round protection, maximum safety.
As options supplementing the bi-xenon headlights featured as standard, the High-Beam Assistant and Adaptive Headlights including a bending light function, variable light distribution and adaptive headlight range control, set new standards when motoring at night.

Again available as an option, the Head-Up Display serves to project data relevant to the driver to the windscreen of the car, enabling the driver to check out the data transmitted directly into his line of vision without even taking his eyes off the road.

Apart from frontal and hip/thorax airbags, the Occupant Safety Package featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 also comprises curtain head airbags at the side as well as three-point inertia-reel automatic seat belts with belt force limiters on all seats and a belt latch function at the front.

To protect the driver and passengers from cervical spine injury in the event of a rear-end collision, the front seats come with crash-activated headrests and ISOFIX child seat fastenings are featured as standard on the rear seats.

The safety concept for the car's hybrid components is equally comprehensive, all components in the high-voltage system featuring full insulation as well as special plug connectors. The lithium-ion battery, in turn, is protected by a high strength steel housing and is positioned far away from all kinds of accidents in the luggage compartment, as is already confi rmed by a wide range of crash tests. And last but not least, the entire high-voltage system is automatically switched off within fractions of a second both in a function breakdown and in the event of a collision.

Perfectly networked: BMW ConnectedDrive with innovative functions.
As an option BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is naturally available with the innovative driver assistance systems provided by BMW ConnectedDrive, including Lane Change Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info, BMW Night Vision even able to detect individual persons, a back-up camera and BMW Side View. At the same time BMW ConnectedDrive also comprises a wide range of innovative features and technologies networking the occupants with the car itself and
the surrounding world in order to provide both maximum comfort as well as optimised use of the infotainment services and enhanced safety.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is likewise available with the full range of mobility services including BMW Assist with its telephone enquiry service and Enhanced Emergency Call function allowing automatic detection of the car, BMW Online, BMW TeleServices and unrestricted use of the internet in the car.

The wide range of features and equipment available for the BMW 7 Series enables the customer to personalise his or her car to the highest standard. The highlights include sophisticated navigation functions, audio and rear seat entertainment systems, the extra-large, contoured sliding roof as well as active seats for the driver and front passenger or, respectively, climate and massage seats at the rear.

Particularly the extended wheelbase version of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 offers maximum driving comfort, extension of the car's wheelbase by 14 centimetres or 5.5" ensuring particularly comfortable access to the rear passenger compartment. And thanks to the special design of the roofl ine and C-pillars, the side view of the longer version, despite greater headroom for the rear-seat passengers, retains the overall impression of the "regular" saloon with its normal wheelbase.

Both models are also available with the wide range of options provided by BMW Individual comprising features such as BMW Individual Merino fine-grain leather standing out not only through its particular material and colour scheme, but also through different seam patterns and stitching on the seats, the instrument panel and the door linings.

Matching the various colours of leather, there is also a wider colour range for the BMW Individual Alcantara roof lining. Exclusive trim options, BMW Individual exterior colours and 20-inch BMW Individual light-alloy wheels, fi nally, round off the choice of particularly stylish options.

Best of Hybrid: flexible development for optimised concepts on each model.
The hybrid components featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 were developed jointly by BMW and Daimler in a cooperation project seeking to develop and test components for hybrid drive in luxury performance cars. Apart from the electric motor and the lithium-ion battery, this joint venture also served to develop the power electronics for the high-voltage network featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7.

Each manufacturer subsequently integrated the hybrid components into the respective model in accordance with individual, brand-specific requirements. These unique characteristics also come out clearly in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 through the combination of an eight-cylinder power unit with electric drive.

BMW ActiveHybrid is based on a modular principle which, following the Best of Hybrid strategy, ensures perfect integration of the optimum component in various vehicle concepts. Hence, the mild hybrid concept of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is tailored ideally to the specifi c requirements of this model as is the full hybrid concept for BMW ActiveHybrid X6, likewise reaching production standard in the year 2009.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is built at BMW Plant Dingolfi ng about 70 miles north-east of Munich. Also building all other versions of the BMW 7 Series (and a number of other models), BMW Plant Dingolfing offers a truly unique standard of excellence confirmed by numerous prizes and awards in the use of innovative production technologies and the fulfi lment of supreme quality requirements. Precisely for this purpose, the Plant combines the most advanced, automated production technologies with the craftsmanship of specially trained associates in a most intelligent manner. And having won the Best Factory/Industrial Excellence Award in 2008, BMW Plant Dingolfing also stands out through a supreme level of flexibility, efficient production processes and environmentally-friendly methods in production.