There have been more than a few special editions of the BMW the i3 and the i8, usually incorporating some kind of special paint scheme. We’ve seen the hybrid coupe in Protonic Frozen Black, Protonic Yellow, and Protonic Red in the past. But now BMW is tapping its paint partner Toplac to create something beyond the pale — a pair of one-offs sprayed in 24-carat gold.
Though BMW’s scheme is actually fairly easy on the eyes, there just something irksome about a gold car. Gold-wrapped exotics are growing in popularity and usually the easiest way to spot the person you’ll most want to choke at a car meet. For example, YouTube prankster and New Jersey stereotype Coby Persin would frequently motor his own gold-covered BMW i8 into New York City to procure some unnecessary attention. In 2016, that vehicle was double parked on a busy Manhattan street with Persin sitting on the hood when an “angry motorist” came and hit it once on the windshield with a baseball bat.
BMW’s past promises include a pledge to help keep drivers driving in the brave new world of autonomous vehicles. However, it hasn’t entirely sworn off self-driving technology. The company finds itself in a tricky spot, as it’s seen as both a luxury automaker and a performance brand. But it can’t claim to be “The Ultimate Driving Machine” if it doesn’t allow customers to drive.
Automakers and tech firms pushed relentlessly for autonomous driving, making claims that a self-driving nirvana was just around the corner. But current technology proved less than perfect in practice and modern autonomous vehicles require constant human involvement to operate safely, just like any normal car. Despite making strides, the industry seems torn on how to appease everyone.
The government is even more in the dark. While lawmakers initially agreed with industry rhetoric (that autonomy will save lives and usher in a new era of mobility), recent events sparked skepticism. There aren’t many new regulations appearing in the United States, but there also isn’t any clear legislation to help decide who’s held liable when the cars malfunction. A lot of what if questions remain unanswered.
BMW thinks this will be the main reason why autonomous cars fail.
A handful of photos of the 2019 BMW X5 leaked over the weekend, but their questionable resolution elicited queries about their authenticity — as did their Chinese origins. Those pics were followed by dozens more a few days later, along with confirmation from BMW that they’re the real deal.
While official photos of the vehicle were supposed to appear later this summer, the X5 isn’t slated to go on display until the Paris Motor Show this October. However, a Chinese auto forum was spotted by CarScoops posting the works Tuesday morning.
As nations continue plotting how to best stab each other in the back in the wake the United States’ decision to impose steeper tariffs on aluminum and steel, manufacturers have to find a way to roll with the punches. Domestic BMW dealers have begun crapping their designer britches over fears that 3 Series models will suddenly host MSRPs in excess of $60,000 if the Trump administration follows through with a threat to impose high import duties on cars.
While we don’t know if the 25 percent import tariff on cars will come to pass, we do know the very real steel tariffs will shrink the profit margin of many vehicles. However, BMW is one of the first automakers we’ve heard discussing the purchase of more U.S. steel to mitigate costs.
BMW is still banging the drum for the upcoming 8 Series, which is understandable. Resurrecting the flagship coupe is big news for the brand and the model has been hotly anticipated since the concept vehicle appeared at 2017’s Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. Unfortunately, camouflaged prototypes (below) show the pre-production version hosting some watered-down styling. While slightly disappointing, it’s understandable that BMW would stray from the extravagant folds of the concept car.
This week, the company gave us our best look to date of the returning model, along with an announcement stating the automaker will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2011 — where it plans to premiere the 8 Series coupe. We already have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
As domestic automakers usher sedans onto the precipice of a mass grave, it appears German manufacturers have yet to give up on them — at least the fancier ones. BMW recently announced the M5 Competition, which is an amped-up version of the standard performance model.
Somehow, we get the feeling the Competition exists only so BMW can set a better lap time at the Nürburgring. Excluding its visual enhancements, we doubt many drivers would be able to notice any changes from the already fast M5.
Adding 17 additional horses to a lightweight hatchback is transformative, but the same cannot be said for a 600 hp sedan weighing in at over two tons. But that’s what the Competition offers — along with revamped suspension tuning, more aggressive looks, and an angrier sound.
Obviously the B&B are all about brand-new imported luxury SUVs, as their great value, utility, and long-term prospective ownership costs put them in a class all their own.
Trolling opener aside, we’re going to talk about expensive SUVs today. Up for grabs are three contenders around the $140,000 price point, from Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.
It’s been a while since BMW pushed out an all-electric vehicle. The i3 was launched in 2013 and things has been relatively quiet at Bavarian Motor Works ever since. However, the brand maintained that more i-badged vehicles would arrive once it gets EV production costs under control, stating that its next electric would be the iX3 crossover.
Arriving in Beijing this week in concept form, the vehicle looks refreshingly like a production model — with a few stylistic touches separating itself from BMW’s core fleet. You might even mistake it for a refreshed X3, and that’s kind of the point. For the most part, the company’s initial foray into electrification served to test the market’s willingness for such vehicles and act as a bit of a spectacle. That’s not to be the case with the new batch.
BMW wants the upcoming EVs to have more mainstream success than the i3 or i8, and normalizing them is a big part of that. That’s also the reason it chose to base the next one on the high-volume X3.
BMW always hinted that the first round of electrified vehicles populating its i sub-brand were developed to dazzle consumers with tech and probe the market’s willingness for EVs. The company is now developing two new models for the group: the iNext crossover and i4 sedan. However, both vehicles are in the midst of development and are likely to take a while to get to market. Furthermore, the brand has said it will use modular architecture kits on all models for at least the next 10 years.
That leaves the i3 and i8 in a slightly awkward position. Launched in 2014, both cars will need to remain relevant over the next few years while BMW preps the next batch of EVs. But the automaker’s continued reliance on flexible platforms that can handle gasoline and/or electric drivetrains isn’t likely to bode well for them in the aftermath. As experiments, neither model is guaranteed to persist far into the 2020s — at least not as we know them today.
The ratio of Detroit iron to imports stands to rise at the next North American International Auto Show, following BMW’s decision to withdraw from the event. On Friday, the German automaker announced it will join a growing list of automakers — including rival Mercedes-Benz — that don’t have time for the Detroit show.
It’s the latest blow for an event struggling to maintain its relevance in an age of off-site reveals, tech-focused consumer shows, and global online audiences.
Luxury automakers aren’t in the business of losing money, and BMW doesn’t want to take a hit just because futurists claim the era of EVs is now. Until it has fifth-generation electric vehicle technology on hand, the German automaker plans to go easy on EV production, CEO Harald Krüger told analysts on Thursday.
While Bimmer’s long-range plans still call for 25 electrified models by 2025, 12 of them fully electric, Krüger said it would be too costly to hit the production throttle at this time. How much cheaper are the products designed around BMW’s fifth-generation technology? The difference (in percentage) amounts “a two-digit number,” the CEO claimed.
While companies are often found guilty of sketchy and illicit behavior, it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to feel some measure of sympathy for German automakers. The same goes for the government officials whose job it is to repeatedly raid the homes and offices of people employed by those manufacturers. Once gain, German prosecutors have searched both Volkswagen and BMW over diesel-related shenanigans.
Volkswagen saw 13 of its offices raided in Wolfsburg throughout the month of March. Braunschweig-based authorities seized physical and digital files in the hopes of catching the automaker in a lie from 2015. At the time, VW claimed an in-house investigation found it had understated fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on no more than 36,000 vehicles. Considering the diesel emissions scandal affected far more vehicle than this, as well as the company’s much higher earlier estimate, prosecutors hope to catch the company out.
Meanwhile, BMW saw its facilities searched over suspicions that it employed a defeat device to circumvent diesel emission testing. The automaker said authorities were looking into “erroneously allocated” software on the BMW 750d and BMW M550d.
As sometimes happens, there’s a war brewing in the heart of Europe. This one isn’t like the others, though — instead of nation versus nation, it’s a case of lawmakers versus privately owned vehicles, primarily those of the diesel persuasion.
So eager are some city governments to ban the operation of diesel-powered cars and trucks in or near urban centers, BMW Group has taken the unusual step of issuing a promise. In a bid to allay fears of new (or newish) vehicles becoming useless to their owners, the automaker claims it will let German lessees return their diesel vehicles and switch to a gas-powered model.
Don’t worry about the government, BMW wants its customers to know. Just enjoy that compression ignition engine while you can.
BMW’s 8 Series coupe isn’t even here yet and the automaker is already toying with the idea of a sedan. Of course, in true luxury automaker fashion, it’s calling the four-door concept a Gran Coupe — proving once again that the language has evolved to a point where it is as fluid as it is meaningless.
Officially dubbed the “BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe,” the sedan offers a conceptual glimpse at a performance variant of the brand’s returning 8 Series. The plan appears to be: build something that can compete with, and perhaps trump, Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class. But if you’re going to take on the big boys, you need to come at them with everything you have. That means a base model 8 Series coupe with double-wishbone suspension, rear-wheel steering, adaptive suspension, xDrive, gobs of tech, and a strong motor.
However, you’ll also need a nasty four-door M variant with all of that and a rip-roaring engine, larger air intakes, flared fenders, and a carbon fiber rooftop.
With Mercedes-Benz entering the pickup market with its new X-Class, BMW has admitted it may be time to did the same. To be clear, it wasn’t the home office that made this assertion. It was head of BMW Australia Marc Werner.
Aussies love their pickups or, more appropriately, its smaller, low-riding counterpart, affectionately called a “ute.” If you’re unfamiliar with the vehicle category, you probably don’t spend a lot of time in Australia or New Zealand. Bastardized from the term “coupé utility,” the ute moniker used to be reserved for models like the Ford Ranchero or Chevrolet El Camino. The term has since expanded to mean any non-gargantuan pickup truck and has roots going back to the 1930s.
At any rate, Werner says BMW needs to build one and the executive is pushing Germany to get the show on the road. Unfortunately for Warner, Bavaria’s receptiveness toward the segment has been mixed, to say the least. BMW senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim called Mercedes’ upcoming X-Class “appalling.” However, he appeared to be speaking more to the perceived subpar quality of the Nissan Navara-based pickup and not the concept itself.
Stately. Elegant. Dignified. Endangered?
This isn’t the first time someone has applied that final descriptor to flagship passenger cars, and with good reason. As SUVs gobble into traditional passenger car market share, sales of even the most prestigious sedans have taken a hit — leaving premium automakers wondering “what’s next?”
Well, more SUVs, for one, but also more electrification. Luxury car buyers have shown themselves to be more receptive to plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicles, but more importantly, one pesky American automaker — Tesla — is threatening to eat everyone’s lunch.
In Europe, competition between the Old World and Silicon Valley is heating up, and the newcomer is winning the sales race.
It is impossible to ignore the present pattern in the Buy/Drive/Burn series. We’ve had three entries in the series so far, two of which have been coupe-focused. In today’s fourth edition, we talk coupes again and sort out some questions of arson from B&B commenter Dal20402. He suggested today’s modern, rear-drive sports coupe lineup in the QOTD post where we introduced the rules for this series.
The coupe category spans three continents, each with its own idea of what a rear-drive coupe should be. Which one will burn?
When it went on sale in the latter part of 2014, BMW’s i8 was something of a sensation, though the enthusiasm had as much to do with the car’s jarring design as its technology. I seem to recall Tom Cruise tooling around Dubai in one, possibly in one of the 87 Mission Impossible films.
Boasting scissor type doors, a plug-in hybrid powertrain, a backseat you’d never want to find yourself in, and a sticker price well north of 100 grand, the i8’s time as a media darling wasn’t long-lived. Like a child’s new toy, interest quickly fell away.
There’s two i8s arriving this spring; one a refreshed coupe, the other offering an al fresco motoring experience, sans backseat. Perhaps more importantly, there’s been an effort to fix a serious deficiency in the i8’s green halo: its incredibly limited electric range. Pricing, now released, shows a considerable markup for the drop-top. Can a double-duty lineup, beefed-up eco credentials, and an extra shot of power gild the i8 once again?
We’ve had more BMWs featured on Rare Rides than any other marque. Aside from the BMW-powered Vixen motor home and the Alpina B7S, there was the Freeclimber, the mid-engine supercar flop called the M1, and the first experiment in the cabriolet Z category, the Z1.
Let’s see what happens when BMW makes a car eight times better than the Z1.
Earlier this week, the driver of a 2003 BMW X5 called 911 to inform the operator that he was speeding and wouldn’t be able to stop. The motorist, one Joseph Cooper, explained to the operator “my gas pedal is stuck” as his SUV barreled down a Florida interstate at around 100 miles an hour. Officers were dispatched to the highly mobile scene on Monday at 1:00 p.m. and ultimately decided to halt Cooper’s progress using stop sticks.
BMW is calling bullshit on his runaway vehicle claims, and we’re inclined to agree. There were loads of things the driver could have done to stop the vehicle but, based on portions of his call with 911, he was either unwilling or incapable of performing those tasks.
Thanks to automakers and their stable of marketing and PR folks, the English language is feeling used and abused these days. Don’t worry, this isn’t a rant about overused industry buzzwords like synergy and dynamism, the popularity of which show no signs of waning. You’ll be hearing those forward-thinking — and intentionally confusing — descriptors for years to come.
Right until cooler, non-lame words like panache and gravitas come into vogue, this author hopes.
Lately, and with increasing frequency, a new language is emerging on the automotive scene. High-minded, plummy, and completely shameless, this new language flings misleading titles at a certain product: utility vehicles, specifically those appealing to buyers known for good breeding, tennis, and summers at the cape.
BMW’s X4 is a little bit of an odd duck. Basically the budget version of the X6, the fastback crossover similarly ditches practicality for attitude. For 2019, the compact luxury crossover is getting an opportunity to hold that posture by gaining two more powerful engines and shedding a few pounds as it swaps to the brand’s new CLAR platform.
Fitting, considering the X4 resembles a sedan that abuses steroids more than it does a traditional sport utility vehicle. However, it maintains a face that’s extremely similar to the X3 SUV while exhibiting more car-like attributes everywhere else. Now, about those engines…
Automotive soothsayers have foreseen the coming Armageddon, where private car ownership vanishes and we’re all ferried around in robotic taxis or rental vehicles, and manufacturers have taken their divinations to heart. Either that, or the opportunity to diversity already successful companies is too tempting a prospect to pass up. As such, we’ve seen “mobility” become the new industry buzzword — used as a fill-in for electric vehicles, autonomous development, and ride-sharing/hailing programs.
Hoping to expand its own mobility services, Daimler has announced an openness to seek broader alliances just days after BMW Group bought out its rental car partner, Sixt, from their joint car-sharing program DriveNow. That sets the stage for a peculiar partnership, as the two German automakers have a long, competitive history with each other — one which sometimes results in passive-aggressive behavior.
We’ve been on a bit of a continental streak lately here at Rare Rides. First, the Cadillac Allanté showed us American engineering with Italian design. Then, the Gordon-Keeble coupe from 1965 mixed British creativity and funding with Italian and American components.
Today we’ve got a different trifecta: A Japanese design, rebodied by the Italians, then powered by a German engine. Open up some shampanya, and let’s learn about the Freeclimber.
We know the State of California loves electric cars, but the Los Angeles Police Department may have mixed emotions. Back in June of 2016, the LAPD awarded BMW with a contract to provide 100 battery-powered i3 hatchbacks as part of a plan to enhance its public image. At the time, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the press, “We should be thinking green in everything we do,” adding that the electric BMWs would “also save money and resources.”
Fast forward to 2018 and the contract is beginning to look like a good way to waste millions of dollars. The LAPD agreed to lease the vehicles, effectively doubling its electrified fleet, for three years. The logic was that the gas savings would offset the $1.4 million it would cost the police force to apprehend them from BMW. While that sounds wonderful, there is a problem — the LAPD isn’t driving them.
It certainly feels like BMW is taking its sweet time getting the full-size, three-row X7 to market, but the automaker assures us it’s almost here. Announced yesterday, pre-production models are now rolling off BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, assembly line — a major step in a product timeline that began in 2014.
Offering up an all-important third row and front end styling that’s sure to spark debate (this year’s X7 iPerformance concept set a high bar for controversy and grille size), the production model should be ready for a late 2018 debut. In the meantime, certification drudgery and copious amounts of hot and cold weather testing awaits.
As the sole member of the Big German Three without a three-row SUV (SAV in BMW parlance), the X7 is a much-needed vehicle, and not just because the automaker wants more high-margin vehicles to fund its electrification efforts. True, the new car market is contracting, but big premium utility vehicles sell.
In a flagrant exercise of self-congratulation, BMW announced it met its sales goal of 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017 “as promised.” Saying that this “underlines the company’s leadership role when it comes to electro-mobility,” BMW installed a battery-themed light installation on the side of its world headquarters in Munich, Germany, that announces “the future is electric.”
While this may be true, mainstream news outlets have muddled the brand’s message by framing the EV aspect all wrong — which is probably exactly what the automaker hoped for. We’re not going to slander the company’s achievement outright; the volume does represent a nearly 60-percent increase over last year. But these aren’t just battery-electric cars, they’re hybrids, mild-hybrids, and BEVs.
Last week we introduced a new series to TTAC called Buy/Drive/Burn. A rather comprehensive set of instructions (and an example) was given in order to prepare you for the upcoming entries into our new game. If you haven’t read that primer, go do so now. This week is the first real entry for Buy/Drive/Burn and, like the example post, we’re sticking with luxury.
Your three options to purchase, borrow, and set on fire are all luxury coupes costing over $100,000.
Because large, powerful vehicles surely play second fiddle to self-driving technology and electric powertrains, right? That sentiment might not hold true in the minds of driving enthusiasts, or even the people in charge of building those vehicles, but that’s the direction the industry’s headed. Greener. Smarter. More soulless.
At BMW, the company’s plan for a cleaner future comes with a steep price tag. In an odd twist, the cost of developing new technologies just might make life more enjoyable for driving enthusiasts in the near future.
Today we have a dual-function Question of the Day. The primary function will be informative; detailing an upcoming new series here at TTAC and explaining how it all works. The secondary function is to solicit ideas from you, our dear readers, for said new series.
By now you’re undoubtedly intrigued, so keep on reading.
Ah, bygone French cars. Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault all abandoned the American market by the early 1990s, leaving behind mostly memories of poor reliability and shoddy trim on underpowered little cars. But those in the know are aware of the other side of the coin. It’s the side where France was (is?) great at producing hot hatchbacks. French style and engineering came together to compete with the founder of the breed, the Volkswagen GTI.
For those people, today is a special day. Presenting the Renault 5 GT Turbo:
There’s a reason BMW’s M sub-brand is the performance division all other automakers strive to copy. Few letters hold as much clout as “M.” That one little addition to a BMW’s model name promises an overly generous heaping of horsepower, handling, and general sporting prowess.
Continuing to this day, “M” ensures buyers of the presence of a finely-tuned, wildly athletic six, eight, or — once upon a time — 10-cylinder gasoline engine under the hood. Only in recent years has the sub-brand seen new products that threaten to water down the purity of the designation (the X5 M and X6 M), but at least those models stick to the basic power formula.
BMW knows, however, that the gas-only party can’t last forever. The automaker now admits its foray into electrification will not end with its stock models and “i” sub-brand. “M” is poised to get a dose of “e,” and BMW’s not exactly sure how it feels about that.
BMW presently sells the hybrid i8 to the eco-conscious performance driver. It is mid-engined, has butterfly doors and what have you, and it’s quite striking.
But did you know that it’s not the first mid-engine BMW? No, that title goes to our Rare Ride today — the M1, from all the way back in 1981. Don’t worry, it’s not all that Malaisey.
BMW announced Friday it is recalling nearly one million cars and SUVs in North America. The recalls are for two separate issues which may cause the same problem: an under-hood fire.
It looks like the mystery surrounding a rash of widely reported blazes is solved, at least for some vehicles involved.
Having just five utility vehicles in a brand’s model lineup just doesn’t cut it anymore. This isn’t 2015. If recent sales sheets have shown us anything, it’s that buyers the world over would take up arms and fight a war just for a little more choice at the crossover buffet.
Well, BMW is heeding that call. The Bavarian automaker unveiled a long-missing model this week that plugs a glaring gap at the bottom of its utility lineup — the X2.
Back in July, German authorities became concerned that the country’s manufacturers had been operating one of the largest automotive cartels in history. With many auto executives still under the microscope for diesel emission manipulation, combined with inter-familial strife between the Piech and Porsche clans, Germany’s auto industry was starting to resemble a PG version of the film Goodfellas — with a dash of Dallas, for flavor.
Despite some rather serious accusations, nothing really came of the cartel investigation. We were beginning to wonder if it was much ado about nothing. But Germany’s antitrust officials hadn’t forgotten — they were simply biding their time during preliminary investigations into corporate collusion and price-fixing. Earlier this week, they made their big move and raided BMW’s headquarters.
German luxury automaker BMW is seeking to establish a joint venture with China’s Great Wall Motor. The prospective deal focuses specifically on electric vehicles, according to sources familiar with the matter. A cooperative relationship with Great Wall would be BMW’s second in the world’s largest auto market – and a necessary one, as China forces all foreign automakers to team up with local partners in order to do business within the country.
Great Wall Motor Co. is China’s largest SUV maker by volume, and witnessed a nearly 20-percent rise in its share price on Wednesday after Asian media outlets reported it was in talks to partner with BMW.
Ford Retiree J Mays Says German Cars Don't Look German, Reserves Particular Criticism For One Automaker
“I think the British do a pretty good job — they seem to produce cars that look British,” Ford Motor Company’s retired design chief J Mays says.
Given that Minis essentially look the same as they’ve always looked, Mays makes a good case.
But Mays tells Automotive News he’s “a big stickler for cultural relevance.” And while the man whose influence can still be seen across much of the Ford lineup — he retired three years ago — credits the Brits for bringing culture to car design, he gives no such credit to the Germans.
2018 BMW X3 Is Supposed to Become the Segment Sales Leader, but It's Priced Higher Than Key Competitors
Munich HQ has huge expectations for the third-generation BMW X3. The X3, after all, was the vehicle that ignited the compact luxury SUV craze, the vehicle that spawned competitors such as the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK/GLC, Volvo XC60, Lexus NX, and Porsche Macan. Surely the X3 has the power, the might, the capacity for sales domination, right?
“We created that segment,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in July. “The No. 1 approach and target I clearly have is, there shouldn’t be anyone besides us who is No. 1.”
“If somebody on my team is not performing to that, well, he has a problem,” Krueger says, making clear to BMW USA’s Bernhard Kuhnt that greater global production of the X3 will mean greater allocation, which had better mean greater U.S. sales.
BMW will not, however, seek to achieve the lofty sales goals by introducing the 2018 X3 with a price that undercuts its key rivals.
Interested in distinguishing its premium models from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam, BMW is launching a “new” black-and-white logo it will use to market its “flaggschiff” units around the globe. The updated look was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be used for the 7 series and i8 coupe, as well as the forthcoming 8 series coupe, convertible, i8 roadster and X7 SUV.
Rumored to be similar to the cheesy carbon variant of the company’s emblem found in numerous aftermarket Ebay listings, the new logo is essentially the old one, only desaturated into monochrome with the company’s full name — Bayerische Motoren Werke — written out in its entirety. However, there seems to be some confusion as to how the new logo will be used and what its heritage actually entails.
What's the Volvo XC40 Getting Into? America's Subcompact Luxury Crossover Segment Is Tiny But Growing Fast
Of the 1.4 million new vehicles sold in the United States of America each month, premium auto brands account for slightly more than one out of every ten new vehicle acquisitions.
More than 55 percent of the vehicles now sold by premium auto brands in America are utility vehicles. Of the nearly 100,000 luxury SUVs/crossovers sold in America each month, 7 percent are subcompacts, vehicles positioned below the compact BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and a variety others.
It’s a sliver of a slice of a chunk of a pie. But that sliver is growing far faster than the overall U.S. auto market, far faster than the U.S. luxury vehicle market, and far faster than the U.S. luxury SUV/crossover market.
Into that four-vehicle premium subcompact crossover segment now jumps the Volvo XC40, timed to roughly coincide with the arrival of the Jaguar E-Pace. It’s a segment that, to date, no automaker has yet found a way to dominate.
Earlier this year, BMW let fly that it had completed development on a flexible vehicle architecture that would enable electrification of every model series in its stable. By 2025, BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15 to 25 percent of its sales, but it wanted to be ready in case 100 percent was a possibility.
We know that plug-in versions of just about every model are forthcoming — the big news being the fully electric X3 for 2020. But we didn’t have a solid timeline for widespread implementation of the new platform, capable of accepting electric, plug-in hybrid and internal combustion powertrains. Now we do. According to management board member Klaus Fröhlich, it’s also going to begin in 2020.
“They build fantastic cars,” BMW senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim told Australian automotive media at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “But this one was a disappointment.”
von Kuenheim is talking about the Nissan Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup, a truck not presently destined for North America but one that will appear across the region for which von Kuenheim is in charge: Asia, Australia, South Africa.
“I saw that car in Geneva and was actually disappointed,” BMW’s von Kuenheim says. “Very disappointed.” Calling the X-Class “appalling,” and suggesting we “would have expected something more serious,” von Kuenheim’s comments about the body-on-frame Mercedes-Benz pickup accompanied a number of revelations regarding a future BMW truck.
Don’t expect a BMW pickup to rival the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
BMW showcased the i Vision Dynamics concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week — making it the third model for its i low-emissions electro-centric sub-brand. As a potential rival for Tesla’s Model 3, the i Vision Dynamics has all the hallmarks of an evolutionary automobile: an electric powerplant, absent grille, and the most boring name imaginable.
With windows tinted so black that you couldn’t tell if the sun was behind the wheel, the concept car is probably little more than a shell. We’ll take it at face value, noting that it exists as the physical representation of BMW’s promise to modernize as much as it does as a prototypical production model. However the automaker did say it will go on sale in 2021 — which is more than a little surprising.
BMW spent a good portion of this week ensuring the public that it is an aggressively forward-thinking brand with a clear plan for mobility and electrification. However, it took things a step further by letting the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show patrons know it’s offering “a whole new take on luxury” with its X7 iPerformance Concept.
Clearly assembled in a manner designed to embrace futurism and highlight its proposed electrified drivetrain, the X7 is unnecessarily odd-looking. The sculpted body could be handsome, had some designer decided not to accent it with gregarious chrome trim inlayed at right angles. Likewise, the brand’s signature kidney grille seems to have gone off the rails completely. BMW admits the styling aspect “hogs the attention” and urges us to “look at it again” so that we might truly understand the vibrancy and class it exudes.
You’re welcome to humor them, but we found even a fifth look didn’t remedy the situation. The grille remains an oversized eyesore, begging to be toned down. Thankfully, there’s more going on here than an overcooked exterior. The X7 Concept introduces an important third row to BMW’s sport-utility lineup, as well as a plug-in hybridized powerplant with twin turbochargers.
BMW’s North American CEO, Bernhard Kuhnt, blames inventory issues for the brand’s sharp utility vehicle sales decline in August 2017.
BMW reported only 8,847 utility vehicle sales in August, a harsh 21-percent year-over-year drop for the five-model lineup. Sales of Spartanburg, South Carolina-built X3s, X4s, X5s, and X6s plunged 30 percent as BMW was fortunately boosted by — strange as it may sound — elevated passenger-car sales.
Has the tide turned? Is America’s BMW buyer forsaking his X3 for a 330i; her X5 for an M550i?
Don’t believe it for a second.
Though not the first BMW-powered vehicle in our Rare Rides series, and not the first with two doors, it is the first BMW convertible we’ve seen here. And the two aforementioned doors on this little convertible have One Simple Trick up their sleeve — disappearing into the body of the car. It’s the kind of detail you’d only expect on some crazy old Citroën.
But that’s not the only unique aspect of the Z1. Want to learn something?
Our previous Rare Rides RV entry was the forgotten Mauck Special Vehicle, or MSV. With its custom fiberglass assembly and butterfly doors (go look at it!), it really seemed like the jackpot of unusual recreational vehicles. However, the B&B quickly informed me this was not the case, and that an even more interesting and unusual RV existed in the form of the Vixen. The shame from this error in judgment was unparalleled.
Time to move past that folly, though, as we just happen to have a Vixen RV right here.
This is not the next BMW Z4.
But it’s very likely an accurate portrayal of what the production version of BMW’s third-generation Z4 (and successor to the Z3) will look like when it goes on sale next year.
Love it or hate it, the BMW Roadster Concept that BMW will officially unveil in Pebble Beach later today is an eye-catching followup to the departing Z4 that appeared eight years ago. Now we wait to see whether the next Z4, which shares its underpinnings with the reborn Toyota Supra, will attract any buyers.
U.S. sales of the Z4 plunged by more than 90 percent between 2003 and 2015.
BMW just dropped a photo of the upcoming Z4 Concept. Expected to be unveiled at Pebble Beach this Thursday, someone with access to the company’s social media account apparently couldn’t wait that long. While the photo they’ve chosen obscures a good bit of the vehicle, there’s enough to accurately identify it as BMW’s upcoming roadster.
Codenamed G29, the next-generation Z4 will be built on a sports-car chassis co-designed with Toyota. Mechanically, it is a sister to the returning Toyota Supra, leaving everyone interested even more ravenous for detailed specs. However, as this is a concept, it’s unlikely BMW is going to give anyone a full rundown during Monterey’s Car Week. We’re hoping the company lets something slip.
Answering a question with a question isn’t my way of being rude. It’s my way of finding out what the questioner truly wants to know.
Their question comes in a variety of forms. What’s the best car? What’s the best car on sale right now? What’s the best car ever?
I want to know how much money they’re allowing me to spend, to which era I’m limited, whether I’m buying for my current life situation as a married work-at-home father or for some other situation, such as life on my neighbor’s farm.
With a recent move to a new province, I’m getting the question with far greater frequency — the result of meeting new people who are confused or delighted or dismayed at what I do for a living. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the answer pinned down before, but being asked so often has forced me to develop a thoughtful response.
What’s my favorite car? I now know.
After a near decade-long run at the helm of BMW Group’s sales and marketing department, Ian Robertson is retiring.
Taking over from the Englishman Robertson will be Pieter Nota, a Netherlands native who is anything but representative of the BMW establishment, every inch not automotive industry insider. Nota comes from Royal Philips, where you buy your electric razors, and formerly worked at Beiersdorf (where you buy your Nivea moisturizer) and Unilever, which fills your grocery store shelves with Axe, Hellmann’s, Ben & Jerry’s, and Dove.
I can’t believe it’s not
butter a board member.
The Third-generation BMW X3 Absolutely Must Be the Best-Selling Small Luxury Crossover in 2018, BMW CEO Says
“We created that segment,” BMW CEO says of the sector in which the BMW X3 arrived before Acura, Audi, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo.
“The No.1 approach and target I clearly have is, there shouldn’t be anyone besides us who is No.1,” Krueger told Automotive News Europe.
In the U.S., where Krueger’s goals (expectations? demands?) for the South Carolina-built BMW X3 are lofty, the X3 ranked a distant fifth in the category in 2016.
But Krueger ain’t kiddin’ around.
BMW intends to unveil an all-electric 3 Series at the Munich Auto Show in September, according to German business newspaper Handelsblatt.
Will BMW report the intake of hundreds of thousands of $1,000 deposits for an all-electric, next-generation BMW 3 Series? Probably not.
But which car are you more likely to purchase: a 3 Series EV from long-heralded BMW with roughly 250 miles of range, or the much-hyped, oft-discussed Model 3 from nascent Tesla, production of which should be in full swing by the time the 3 Series EV appears?
This may be the next Mustang vs. Camaro, a quasi Accord vs. Camry battle to end all Accord vs. Camry battles, an F-150 vs. Silverado skirmish without the 87 octane.
BMW plans to streamline its manufacturing process by providing fewer model variants and eliminating less popular engine or equipment options. The goal here is to free up capital for research and development spending in the coming years, according to a Wednesday announcement from the brand’s chief finance officer, Nicolas Peter.
With most German automakers already pushing heavily into the realm of electric vehicles, BMW’s strong presence in China is forcing it to further bolster its efforts in EV development. The country’s particularly aggressive emission regulations and mandates on electric vehicle sales means any manufacturer hoping to persist within its borders will have to ensure 12 percent of its fleet is electric by 2020 — and BMW isn’t ready.
As a result, the automaker is trimming fat wherever it can find it. Unfortunately, that means eliminating the manual gearbox for the 2 Series in the United States and abandoning certain engine options for models across the globe. While BMW wasn’t explicit as to which motors won’t be returning, odds are good it will be the fun ones that don’t sell as well, plus the diesels.
The 2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo Is Less Unattractive Than the 5 Series Gran Turismo It's Kind of Replacing
It was rare enough that you may have only seen the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo in pictures. You’re all the better off if you weren’t forced to feast your eyes on the crime against automotive design that was the sixth-generation 5 Series’ hatchback.
With the new seventh-generation 5 Series, there is no Gran Turismo, at least not yet. But after suspending the coupe from the more expensive 6 Series range, BMW is once again expanding the 6 Series lineup with, that’s right, a Gran Turismo. Oddly, the 6 Series that’s least deserving of a GT tag now wears the badge, but fortunately this new BMW GT isn’t as offensive as the last.
Where is the 6 Series Gran Turismo positioned in the BMW hierarchy? Imagine, if you will, a buyer who wants more space than a regular BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (which is actually a sedan) but wants greater cargo flexibility than the BMW 7 Series affords; a buyer who doesn’t want a full-blown family friendly X5 “SAV” but requires a liftgate of some sort; a buyer who finds the X6 too tall. BMW now has a car for that buyer.
In America in the fall of 2017, that car will be the $68,895 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo, propelled by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.
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- Syke Nine comments and Tassos hasn't jumped in screaming about what a garbage car this is?
- The Oracle The Spyder and Ryker platforms are great for folks who want an open air experience but may not want it on 2 wheels. I’ve had a Spyder RS-S since new in 2012 and it’s a fun machine with the manual transmission. When ridden hard, fuel economy goes well below 36mpg, but 2-up riding is great and the frunk is great for running errands.
- The Oracle These pricing pressures have been around for decades and the traditional ICE supply base is about to be upended.
- Druni Thanks. Great.
- NaMiNo Thanks for the recap, Tim! It's always interesting to get a glimpse of what's happening at auto shows. The focus on EVs aligns with the industry's growing shift towards electrification. And optimism about the future, along with more vehicle debuts, is a good sign for the automotive world. I always go to site here for more writting ideas for my blog. Your photos tell the story beautifully, even with auto-show lighting challenges.