Tag: bmw group

By on April 15, 2019

mini electric concept

With governments strongly encouraging the growth of electric vehicles and automakers repositioning various brands to align with that goal, it’s worth a manufacturer’s time to examine the market. Mini, which BMW Group intends to evolve into an EV-focused nameplate, plans to release its first battery powered vehicle in 2020. However, before that occurs, the brand decided to commission Engine International for a little market research.

The firm conducted a general population survey of 1,004 presumably average Americans — all above the age of 18 and split equally by gender. Unfortunately for BMW, the results were less than promising. Most people still don’t seem to have a handle on what EVs offer or how they function. However, that might not necessarily be because they are clueless morons. Apathy undoubtedly plays a role here, especially as EV ownership remains relatively rare.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2019

mini electric concept

Automakers find themselves in the midst of a widespread electrification effort. However, the slow adoption rate of these vehicles has created some trepidation. Rather than roll out fleets of EVs en masse, most manufacturers have chosen to adopt platforms allowing for multiple powertrain configurations, relegating electrics to entirely new sub-brands or transforming lesser nameplates into EV brands.

Daimler is a good example of this. Mercedes-Benz has its EQ sub-brand, while Smart was rejiggered into a nameplate entirely focused on “electro-mobility.”

BMW Group will likely take a similar route with Mini. The brand’s first fully fledged EV is fast approaching, with the company repeatedly suggesting that it might reposition itself as an electric-focused nameplate. Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member and Papa Bear to Mini, Rolls-Royce, and BMW Motorrad (motorcycles), is the man responsible for overseeing the shift, and has offered up a tentative glimpse into Mini’s future.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

Cooperation is commonplace among automakers. Chrysler has worked with, or been purchased by, just about everyone at this point, but it’s far from the only manufacturer to get chummy with a rival company. Ford and Volkswagen are busy discussing their future together and Toyota tapped other brands to help it co-develop performance models like the 86 and Supra.

Despite their longstanding and occasionally bitter rivalry, Mercedes-Benz and BMW could be the next duo to cozy up to one another. According to German outlet Handelsblatt, BMW chairman Harald Krüger and Daimler management board member Ola Källenius are currently examining the possibility of an automotive alliance.  (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2019

Mercedes-Benz managed to hold onto its heavyweight title in luxury sales for the third year running, at least as far as the United States is concerned. Though the domestic match was close — BMW’s 311,014 deliveries in 2018 were only a few thousand units shy of Mercedes’ 315,959. In fact, BMW volume improved 1.7 percent against 2017 while MB sales were down 6.3 percent, with most of the ground being lost in the second half of the year.

During that same time frame, Tesla sales exploded. By year’s end, the luxury EV manufacturer had 182,400 domestic deliveries under its belt — nearly four times the volume witnessed in 2017.  (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2018

Mini plans to launch updated versions of its two most commodious models this summer. While many of the refinements are incredibly boring (like a new particulate filter that adheres to new European emission mandates), there are tastier aspects to cherry pick. For example, the Clubman and Countryman gain receive upgraded transmissions in Europe — which hopefully carries over North America, as well.

The change replaces the standard automatic with a seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission. Tragically, that unit has already made its way into the smaller Cooper hatchback and has proven excruciatingly slow in making its way across the ocean. Still, why you would buy a Mini 2-door and not option it with a contrasting roof and manual transmission is beyond us. The impractical little car’s saving grace is its fun factor and visual appeal, and you should probably lean into both if thinking of buying one.  (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2018

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. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2018

BMW smartphone sync

Keys have evolved quite a bit over the last century. Most cars don’t require that you use a traditional key anymore, and proximity sensors take away the need to even lock and unlock a vehicle’s doors. While some of us appreciate the satisfying sensation of pressing a button or turning a key, it’s grown unnecessary. But some automakers want to take things a step further and abandon keys altogether.

We’ve heard BMW mention this before. Back in 2017, the brand’s head of sales said the automaker was actively reassessing the practical value of car keys now that keyless entry is the norm. “Honestly, how many people really need [keys],” Robertson said. “They never take it out of their pocket, so why do I need to carry it around?”

Now, the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), which includes BMW, General Motors, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Audi, Lincoln, Apple, LG, Samsung, Panasonic, and more, has published the Digital Key Release 1.0 specification. The aim is to establish a standardized solution for the industry that enables drivers to download a digital key onto their smart devices and use it on every vehicle they own.  (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2018

For some reason, the British royal family remains pertinent in popular culture. We’re not sure what to attribute it to, either. Maybe it all comes down to the Queen’s smile or perhaps it’s just celebrity culture run amok. Either way, “the fam” is still totally relevant in the United Kingdom, even though no royal edicts have been issued for quite some time.

The United States’ obsession with the family is even harder to come to grips with. Despite breaking off from Britain in 1776, American supermarkets still have magazines featuring royal weddings on the cover. This obsession with regality doesn’t extend to other parts of the world — a shame, considering the Saudi Prince, Sultan bin Salman, recently held a wedding that included a parade of high-end autos, with 30 ice-white Range Rovers just for the bridal party. But we suppose that’s par for the course when you’re a multi-billionaire.

Britain’s royals, while still rich, don’t have the kind of scratch necessary to field an armada of cars for a princely wedding. It’s also not their style. But Mini decided to swoop in and capitalize on the Western World’s obsession with the joining of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by delivering a car celebrating the union.  (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2018

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. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2018

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. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2018

BMW i3 and i8

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.  (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2018

Sales of the Mini brand have been in a downward spiral since 2013 and U.S. dealerships want to know what expect in the future. Any prospects for the nameplate to grow into a volume brand appears to have been thrown out the window by BMW Group, and it’s now looking like it could shift into electrification.

Dealers, however, don’t know this for sure, and hope to gain clarity on the matter as the domestic market dives deeper into its appreciation for trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.

“I don’t think the dealers have a very clear vision of where the car line is going long term,” explained Jason Willis, member of the Mini National Dealer Council. “There is a lot of pride on being a small-car performance company, so my guess is we will continue to be a small-car company. But as far as electric and how we fit in, we’re still waiting to hear that plan.” (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2018

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

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.  (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

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