Tag: BMW

By on April 13, 2016

2016 Mini Clubman

Executives at Mini are busy mulling what to introduce next, and it’s increasingly looking like that model will have a trunk.

Unlike a car modeled after a young man wearing a backward ballcap, a sedan is a logical addition to the brand’s future lineup, and comments made to Autocar by Ralph Mahler, vice-president of product development, make it clear there’s a serious business case for a three-box Mini.

(Read More…)

By on April 6, 2016

2015 BMW M235i Shifter, Image: © 2015 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

It’s had a few good days recently, but there’s no doubt the manual transmission is a patient that’s rapidly slipping away.

BMW just did its part to hasten the demise by getting rid of the stick shift option in next year’s M5 and M6, according to comments made to Car and Driver by BMW M boss Frank van Meel.

Soon, only two pedals will sprout from the firewall of the famed performance midsizers. But don’t blame the automaker. They’re just responding to consumer demand, or lack thereof.

(Read More…)

By on March 30, 2016

2016 BMW 340i Exterior Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark to which all manner of vehicles are measured. The comparisons go beyond the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60, and include BMW M3 vs Chevy Camaro and BMW 328d vs Toyota Prius. It seems that every car company in America makes at least one “3-Series fighter.” But there’s a problem with your largest volume product being put on this kind of pedestal: die-hard fans hate change.

Enthusiasts claim that BMW ruined the 3 Series when they redesigned it in 2012. The “F30” sedan got bigger, fatter, softer, and more gadget-filled than ever before. BMW fanbois cried in their gemüsesuppe, Road & Track called it an “also ran” and … BMW laughed all the way to the bank.

For 2016 the 3-Series gets a facelift, new engines and a redesigned suspension. What isn’t changed, however, is BMW’s new direction. And that’s a good thing in my book.

(Read More…)

By on March 30, 2016

2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, headlights, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has started rating headlights, and just released a report that takes a dim view on the performance of most midsize cars.

Only one vehicle out of 31 testers earned a rating of “good” from the road safety nonprofit, with the bulk of midsize vehicles earning a rating of “marginal” or “poor.”

The results are even less dazzling when you take into account optional lighting packages, which pushed the number tested to 82. Even then, it was only the LED-equipped advanced technology package on the Toyota Prius V that earned the IIHS’s acclaim. (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2016

BMW-M235i

When an automaker posts its sales figures at the end of the month, how many vehicles actually left the dealer lot?

Not all of them, according to a top BMW executive, who admitted that his company and others “punch” up sales numbers to boost their standing, according to Automotive News.

Punching cars is “not an ideal practice,” but it’s a reality in the industry, BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch said on March 22.

(Read More…)

By on March 22, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4

Toyotas will soon be screeching to a halt everywhere and that should make its rivals jealous.

That, BMW unleashes the robots on the workers, eccentric automaker picks a place with funny-sounding names, General Motors isn’t falling out of love with China, and Mercedes-Maybach to get a rival … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

2012 BMW 328i, Exterior, 328i badge, Image: © 2012 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Sam writes:

Hi Bark,

I have a multi-part question and I’m interested to get your insight.

Part one: To CPO or not. After decades of driving Fords, I’ve decided to treat myself with a sporty German car. A BMW 328i seems like just the ticket. I’m looking at a 2015 model year dealer loaner with 4,000 miles, and it’s available with $8,000 off the $53,000 sticker price. The warranty has been reset, so it’s effectively a full, new-car warranty. With no major changes between 2015 and 2016, this seems like a no-brainer.

Part two: To lease or not. A BMW with a turbo and automatic transmission gives me the willies. I like the idea of turning it back in after three years and washing my hands of any long-term maintenance issues (or having to unload it myself). BMW’s lease interest rate is 4.375 percent, which seems high. The residual factor is 59 percent of MSRP.

Part three: To pay up-front or not. I hate paying monthly for stuff. I’m inclined to just pay the entirety of the lease payments up front. BMW will cut the rate by a little in this case, to 4.125-percent on the residual amount. It still seems high relative to the 0-percent offers on domestic vehicles. Are there any gotchas to paying up front?

I’ve never leased before. I’ve always been a “pay cash” kind of guy. But the lease on the low-mileage CPO with no major changes seems like a slam-dunk over a new car similarly equipped. Am I missing something?

Thanks!

Hoo boy. Get ready for a barn burner.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

2016 BMW i8 Hybrid Exterior-006

BMW Group is laying out its game plan for the future, and it includes a lot of new electric vehicles.

Beyond the marketing buzzwords, there’s much similarity between BMW’s plan, released yesterday, and those of so many other automakers: building high-tech convenience and connectivity into their vehicles, diversifying their electric offerings, developing autonomous driving technology, and making the customer feel extra special.

The immediate effect on BMW’s rolling stock will be an expanded “i” range of all-electric or plug-in hybrid models, starting with a convertible version of the i8 and a longer-ranged version of the i3 by the end of this year.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

Mini-Clubman-21

As the U.S. auto industry achieved record sales volume in 2015, Mini’s U.S. sales were down 12 percent compared with Mini’s peak in 2013. And despite modest year-over-year growth in 2015, the year didn’t end so well. Mini sales plunged 20 percent in the fourth quarter, and sales have now declined in four of the last five months.

Through the first two months of 2016, U.S. Mini sales are down 13 percent, a loss of nearly 900 sales, even as industry sales grew by more than 3 percent. Indeed, in February, Mini volume plunged 24 percent as overall U.S. new vehicle volume rose to the highest February level since 2001.

Yet this is not a worldwide issue. Globally, Mini sales hit a record high in 2015 and are up 4 percent in the early part of 2016. Will a U.S. rebound soon follow? (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

Car collision (Mark Turnauckas/Flickr)

As we reported yesterday, a group of top automakers has agreed to offer automatic emergency braking (AEB) on almost all of their models by 2022.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed the voluntary agreement today, meaning virtually all light-duty cars and trucks sold in North America will adopt the safety feature by Sept. 1, 2022.

The group is made up of Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. (Read More…)

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