Category: BMW

BMW Reviews

Bavarian Motor Works was forced to cease airplane production in accordance to the Treaty of Versailles following World War I. As the restrictions imposed upon them slowly lifted, they began to produce motorcycles and then premium automobiles, both of which they continue to be renowned for to this day.
By on May 4, 2017

BMW M5 E39 - Image: M5_E39_Terabass

The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.

Yours too.

But the BMW of today is not the BMW that designed the 394-horsepower M5 nearly two decades ago. BMW now produces nearly half of its sales from utility vehicles and sells only a handful of sports cars each month. Setting aside classic sedan styling, the BMW of today will sell you ungainly X4s and X6s, plus bulbous hatchback versions of the 5 Series and 3 Series. Moreover, BMW’s core models — the 3 Series/4 Series — are distinctly less popular in the United States than they were a decade ago, when the market was smaller and the 3 Series lineup wasn’t as broad.

BMW is incentivizing its products heavily in early 2017 just to keep sales roughly where they were a year ago, a year in which BMW’s U.S. volume fell 9 percent compared with the 2015 peak.

Something’s not quite right. So do you, lover of the 1999 M5 and the BMW 2002 tii and the BMW 507 and the BMW Z8, still want a BMW? Read More >

By on May 2, 2017

2017 BMW 340i - Image: BMW USA

BMW isn’t known for revolutionary design changes, so it likely won’t be hard to pick the upcoming 3 Series and X3 crossover out of a crowd of domestic and Japanese competitors. Nor will the models’ powerplants see a complete overhaul.

One somewhat surprising claim, given recent events, is that both next-generation models will retain a diesel option in the United States — and a new one, at that. Read More >

By on April 26, 2017

bmw grille

As vehicle sales growth gradually cools off, BMW has found itself continuing to lose ground to its competitors — but it wasn’t always this way. The company spent years as the luxury brand par excellence before seeing the likes of Jaguar, Tesla, and historic rival Mercedes-Benz begin syphoning off its consumer base.

It looked to be in denial for some time, but it is now evident that Bayerische Motoren Werke has become painfully aware of its own shortcomings. The company has even begun holding employee rallies to address its problems and potentially scare the crap out of workers. Since January, the German automaker has taken its marketing team, factory managers, 14,000 engineers, and a portion of its general workforce through day-long events that illustrate just how far it has fallen.   Read More >

By on April 21, 2017

BMW 4 Series

To industry watchers, the manual transmission’s future seems as rosy as that of the Steve Miller Band, circa 1983.

Automakers on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific have pried the stick shift out of an ever-increasing number of vehicles, and some manufacturers have chosen to drop the technology altogether. With market share reaching never-before-seen lows, the three-pedal lifestyle seems headed towards an unavoidable (and imminent) grave.

Blame technology. Blame laziness. Blame yourself.

Over in Munich, the sentiment seems quite similar. BMW has long occupied the ranks of true driver’s cars, but its leaders make no bones about the brand’s eventual abandonment of the row-your-own transmission, even in relatively stick-happy Europe. Lately, even dual-clutch transmissions appear to be in Bimmer’s bad books. And as for an American solution to its manual transmission problem, well, forget that. Read More >

By on April 20, 2017

Yosemite national park mountains

It’s looking like some sites just might not be feasible. Still, BMW, in partnership with the National Park Foundation, National Park Service and Department of Energy, has hatched a plan to lure electric vehicles out of their safe urban confines and into the wilderness.

It’s starting in New Jersey, about 12 miles west of New York City. (Hey, you have to begin somewhere.)

While the first EV charging station installed by the group can be found, fittingly, at Thomas Edison’s Glenmont laboratory in Llewellyn Park, NJ, plans are afoot to add up to 100 stations in or near national parks in the near future. Read More >

By on April 19, 2017

BMW CPO commercial Toyota Camry screenshot - Image: YouTube screenshot

Call them frenemies. BMW and Toyota are working together on a high-profile sports car project that will result in a long-awaited Supra successor and a replacement for the Z4. Two heads are better than one.

“The concept works, the platform can deliver and now we have two proud sets of engineers — one group German, one group Japanese — who are each fighting and arguing for the car they want,” BMW sales boss Ian Robertson said last year.

The fighting and arguing extends beyond the R&D facilities in Munich and Toyota City.

On a mission to exalt its 3 Series in a certified pre-owned commercial, BMW sought to make fun of a typically bland midsize sedan. 2001 Chevrolet Malibu? 2006 Kia Optima? 2017 Subaru Legacy?

No. BMW chose the most basic, beige, new Toyota Camry to make a point on behalf of a bright red pre-owned 3 Series.

Hardly the work of a BFF. Read More >

By on March 23, 2017

2017 BMW 340i manual shifter – Image: BMW USA

The manual transmission isn’t dead. But it appears to be dying. Now Munich is making sure everybody knows BMW has a hand in the demise of the third pedal.

At the traditional core of BMW’s U.S. lineup, the manual transmission 7 Series disappeared three decades ago. So foreign is a manual shifter to buyers in the full-size luxury limo category, this seems entirely natural.

M models aside, the U.S. market lost BMW 5 Series manual transmission availability after the 2014 model year.

What’s next?

“Across the world, virtually all of our 3 Series models and above already have automatic transmissions,” BMW sales boss Ian Robertson tells Car And Driver.

“We will certainly see fewer and fewer manual transmissions being offered,” says Robertson.

Ultimate Driving Machine? Read More >

By on March 20, 2017

Marijuana weed pot joint

If you end up purchasing a BMW 3 or 4 Series model build at the automaker’s Munich assembly plant in early march, just know this: two of the workers building it might have been high as a kite.

A report in today’s Bild newspaper claims that two workers were so blitzed on booze and synthetic marijuana that they passed out while working on the assembly line, causing a temporary — and costly — shutdown. Yes, this happened, BMW has confirmed. Read More >

By on March 20, 2017

2017 BMW 4 Series Convertible – Image: BMW

Choice is good for car buyers. But in the never-ending quest to produce incremental volume gains, the planet’s largest premium auto brands agree that certain niches are quickly becoming untenable.

Known for questioning in 2014 whether the global sports car market would ever recover from its post-recession collapse, BMW sales boss Ian Robertson told Car And Driver earlier this month that “some body styles will be removed in the future.”

Meanwhile, the head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche said at the Geneva auto show that the lack of Chinese uptake for specialty cars “makes the business case for these vehicles less easy.”

Yet long before a model cull returns us to the days of tidy luxury lineups — 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and 8 Series as the 1990s intended! — premium German marques will first introduce a slew of new models. And the body styles destined for removal? Likely not the silly four-door coupes and impractical SUVs you love to hate. Read More >

By on February 17, 2017

BMW M760Li xDrive

For the first time, BMW has given its flagship 7 Series an M badge. And while that may conjure up images of a standard 7 Series with a bit of performance tinsel, that’s not really the case here. The numbers are quite impressive.

The full name of this new model is a mouthfull: M760Li xDrive. Though that sounds more like a fax machine from about 1997, there are a few differences between the BMW and a dated beige electronic.
Read More >

By on February 8, 2017

Skoda octavia Jozef Kabaň

BMW has chosen former Volkswagen stylist Jozef Kaban to head design for its core brand. After Karim Habib’s exodus from the company last month, BMW found itself missing an essential portion of its product planning department.

Kaban, 44, has been an important part of Volkswagen AG’s styling department. Most famous for his early work designing Bugatti’s Veyron, he was later responsible for the less-exciting Volkswagen Lupo and Seat Arosa. He also modeled the current generation Škoda Octavia — possibly after having a fever dream about modernizing the Lincoln LS. Read More >

By on February 6, 2017

BMW USA CEO Bernhard Kuhnt - Image: BMW

Bernhard Kuhnt takes over as the chief executive officer of BMW’s U.S. outpost on March 1, Automotive News reports, replacing BMW’s western hemisphere boss, Ludwig Willisch, who is likely to retire by the end of the decade.

BMW sales grew year after year during Willisch’s tenure, reaching annual records in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. There were, at times, questionable tactics employed to maintain rapid growth.

Yet in 2016, as U.S. auto sales shot to record levels, BMW’s U.S. volume plunged by more than 9 percent. In 12 consecutive months, U.S. sales declined on year-over-year terms. At BMW’s Mini brand, three years after volume climbed to record levels in 2013, sales fell to a six-year low in 2016.

And yet no automaker is incentivizing to such a lofty degree. Read More >

By on January 16, 2017

BMW Manufacturing plant

After being warned against producing vehicles in Mexico, German automakers are not scrambling to re-think their production plans.

In an interview with the German publication Bild, President-elect Trump issued a now-familiar warning to the country’s manufacturers — essentially, any vehicles imported into the U.S. from Mexico will face a 35 percent tax.

The Germans, for the most part, aren’t buying it. Meanwhile, the country’s economy minister saw Trump’s remarks as an opportunity to engage in some not-so-friendly automotive ribbing. Read More >

By on December 20, 2016

2016 BMW X1 and 340i - Image: BMW USA

BMW continues to spend industry-leading levels of money to lure luxury car buyers in the United States. Yet November was the twelfth consecutive month in which sales at the BMW Group declined, year-over-year, in the U.S..

Through the first 11 months of 2016, sales at BMW are down 10 percent compared with the same period in 2015; Mini volume is off 11 percent.

According to TrueCar, however, no automaker is spending more in incentives, on a per vehicle basis, than BMW of North America. November 2016 incentives at the BMW Group jumped 25 percent compared with November 2015 yet sales fell 16 percent.

How much cash on the hood do American luxury car buyers want? Read More >

By on December 19, 2016

1996 BMW 328i E36 in California junkyard, front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Internet Car Experts have spent the last decade explaining to the rest of us how every example of the BMW E30 3 Series, no matter how decrepit, is worth at least a couple of grand. This claim is even more ridiculous than most of the bad information with which ICEs clog comments sections and forum threads, and I still see plenty of solid-looking E30s at U-Wrench-It-type wrecking yards.

However, the quantity of discarded E30s has declined a bit in the last few years (from a half-dozen per big California yard to two or three), and the E36 has become the reigning King of the Junkyard 3 Series.

Here’s one of six E36s that I spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard a few weeks ago. Read More >

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