BMW

It wasn’t long ago when there was only a handful of BMW M cars to choose from. BMW’s Motorsport division has sold the legendary M3 and M5 for over 25 years, with others along the way such as the M6, M Coupe and M Roadster. However, recently BMW’s high-performance brand has expanded and multiplied, completely changing their “M” (marketing) strategy, with the unveiling of the X5M and X6M SUV’s and 1M Coupe.

BMW M has also made a dramatic change in the types of engines used within the last 3 years, and this is reflected in the four new diesel vehicle. Gone are the days of Motorsport’s naturally-aspirated engines. With the introduction of the X5 and X6M BMW moved away from the traditionally higher-revving, but less fuel efficient naturally aspirated engines in favor of forced injection, known internally as TwinPower Turbo technology. TwinPower effectively combines the air entering the turbocharger in a way that gives you twice the power equivalent of conventional turbocharging.

Enter “BMW M Performance” models. The M550d xDrive Sedan, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d diesels will spearhead this new model lineup. These vehicles are based on the current model lines, but as the name implies have been developed and improved by BMW M division. Changes to the engines, transmission, suspension and chassis result in increased performance, improved handling, practical everyday usability and excellent fuel economy.

Powering the M Performance lineup will be a new inline, six-cylinder diesel engine. Along with a 3.0-liter displacement the engine is aided by three, yes…three turbochargers. This, when paired with a diesel’s ability to produce massive amounts of torque result in 381 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque. Power is transferred to the wheels via an eight-speed sports automatic transmission with enhanced gearshift dynamics. Zero to 62 MPH performance figures vary from 5.4 seconds for the X5 M50d, to only 4.7 seconds in the M550d Sedan.

On the more economical side the new tri-turbo inline six achieves between 30.5 MPG in the X6 M50d and 37.3 MPG in the M550d xDrive. These numbers are possible due to an auto stop/start function and an ECO PRO mode.

Esthetic adornments on the exterior include exterior mirrors and air intake bars painted in Ferric Grey paintwork and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes. Nineteen-inch M alloy wheels come on both the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan, Touring and X5 M50d. The X6 M50d gets 20-inch M alloy wheels and exclusive 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Ferric Grey available as an option for all models.

Unique interior styling feature gearshift lever with M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles and BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite. Two trim choices are available, Brushed Aluminium Shadow in the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d or Aluminium Hexagon in the BMW M550d xDrive. The M sport seats are finished in Nappa leather and Alcantara with contrast stitching and embossed M logo.

The four new diesel M vehicles are scheduled to go on sale in Europe beginning this summer, but whether or not these are destined for U.S. shores is yet to be determined.

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Color. This word can be described as many different things, such as vividness of visual appearance resulting from the presence of brightly colored things. In the case of BMW enthusiast and BMW CCA racer Miguel Aponte-Rios’ 1989 E30 M3 race car it describes an over-the-top artistic individual expression of automotive art and represents one man’s long-term love affair with a car from his youth.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

“The love for the E30 started back when I was in high school,” said Aponte-Rios.

Although he had always been a follower of all things fast and four-wheeled Aponte-Rios lacked the means to purchase the cars he wanted in his native Puerto Rico.

“I was into cars in Puerto Rico as much as I could. I could never afford anything. I had a Chevrolet Z24 Cavalier convertible,” he said, chuckling to himself. “That was my first ‘sort of’ fast car.”

Luckily, his time in the Z24 would be forgotten. Everything changed when his older brother received the very first E30 M3 to arrive on the island.

“As soon as it came in I just fell in love with it,” he said. “I was always drawing it, you know. As a teenager you’re always drawing stuff in class, it was all E30 M3s.”

His older brother might have owned one of the most desirable cars in the entire country, but it didn’t mean Aponte-Rios could take part in the driving pleasure or experience what the car was all about, as his brother refused to let him drive the car.

This problem went away when his brother had a change of heart during Aponte-Rios’ first week of college, letting him take the iconic M3 for the weekend. After getting a proper dose of BMW newest 4-cylinder creation he vowed to get one of his own.

FROM Z3 TO E36 WIDE BODY

As the years passed and Aponte-Rios moved from Puerto Rico to the United States his dreams of owning an E30 M3 took a back seat to other priorities. It wasn’t until a fateful move to Boston, Mass., from the Pacific Northwest in 1999 that would reignite his enthusiasm and uncover a newfound passion for autocross and racing. While living in the area his roommate encouraged Aponte-Rios to take his 1998 Z3 with a 2.8-liter, inline six cylinder to autocross events in the area. After taking his roommate up on the offer and attending a meeting at HMS Motorsport in Danvers, Mass., Aponte-Rios decided to give autocross and other performance driving events a shot. It didn’t take long for him to become hooked.

“I went to my first autocross with the Z3 as it was, and it was just completely awesome,” he recounted. “Within six months I had the HMS roll bar, two racing seats in the car, HMS harness, I started looking at suspension, all this stuff.”

After autocrossing for a few years Aponte-Rios started to get drawn to the racetrack, eventually becoming a certified high-performance driving instructor. During this time, while he was spending more and more time on the track, he moved from the Z3 to an M Roadster. After the M Roadster Aponte-Rios bought a 1995 3-series wide body, replacing the original race engine with a more powerful S54 sourced from a ’01-’06 E46 M3. The E36, with a strong power-to-weight ratio, was a perennial contender at BMW CCA club races and other sponsored races at such racetracks as New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), Watkins Glen, New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) and the Monticello Motor Club.

CHANGE OF FORTUNE

Regardless of his success with the wide body, Aponte-Rios was consistently faced with being overly quick compared to other cars he was racing against. Longing for a return to hard-nosed, fierce competition with fellow enthusiasts Aponte-Rios looked for something “challenging,” something other than simply mashing the throttle and pulling away from his competitors.

“With the wide body, in some ways, it was easier because the car was so fast,” he said. “A lot of times it got sort of boring.”

For years the Founder and President of Turner Motorsport, Will Turner, owned his own personal Alpine White E30 M3 track car. Aponte-Rios had urged Turner to sell him the vehicle, which sat unused for approximately four years, but to no avail. Even with the prospect of acquiring the car in doubt, Aponte-Rios told Turner he wanted to be the first one to know if the car was to come up for sale.

“I told him (Turner) when you decide to do it, I don’t care what happens, I want it,” he said.

Then, as Aponte-Rios debated what to do to improve and progress with his overall driving skills an Internet ad appeared that changed everything.  It just so happened that during this time Turner had decided to post his E30 M3 track car for sale online.

During the same time Aponte-Rios contacted a fellow driving instructor in New Jersey who had been “obsessed” with the wide body every time the car visited NJMP. Then, poof, as if by magic, just 24 hours after the phone call Aponte-Rios’ E36 wide body was gone to a new owner, leaving him with only one thing left to do, buy Will Turner’s E30 M3.

“It was hard seeing the wide body gone,” he said.

But his disappointment was short-lived as 36 hours after seeing the E36 leave on a trailer for the last time he was sitting in Will Turner’s office completing the paperwork for the purchase of the car he had wanted for more than 20 years.

“It was, sort of, meant to be I guess,” he said. “It just felt right, and it’s something I’ve always wanted since I was young.”

NEARLY STOCK, J-STOCK

The car he had drawn endlessly during high school was now sitting in his garage, but Aponte-Rios had to decide what he wanted to do with the car. When purchased the M3 was in its original BMWCCA J-Stock racing configuration, meaning the vehicle was largely unchanged in many respects, especially the motor. The 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder S14 engine was completely untouched, except for a performance chip, while the rest of the car was outfitted with relatively minor modifications needed for track use and to operate within class guidelines. These included J-Stock suspension, Borla Cat-Back Exhaust, reinforcements to the front and rear sway bars and subframe, beefier differential mounts, carbon fiber brake duct system, stainless steel brake lines and a full roll cage. The exterior of the vehicle had recently been treated to a brand-new paint job in the original color. Alpine White has been a classic and popular paint color on BMWs for decades, with many factory-sponsored race cars donning the snowy white shade. Regardless of the shiny new paint, Aponte-Rios was again drawn to his childhood and the BMWs of yesteryear for inspiration.

CREATING AUTOMOTIVE ART

Whether it was roll bars and racing seats on his Z3 or an extreme wide body kit on his E36, Aponte-Rios has always pushed for individuality in his cars.

“Throughout the history of the cars that I’ve had I’ve always tried to be unique in one way or another,” he said. “With the E30, it was the past of BMWs that was calling.”

With that thought in mind and a literal “blank canvas” standing before him Aponte-Rios decided to create his own interpretation of BMW art.

“I still remember during those early years when all the art cars started coming out. I figured to do something unique with the car, do something related to BMW Art Cars,” he said.

To put his plan into action Aponte-Rios contacted Image 4, a graphic design firm based in Manchester, N.H. The company owners, Jeff and Liz Baker, were more than willing to take on the project, especially considering their background as Spec Miata racers. As Aponte-Rios began to explain his visions about what he wanted the car to look like, designer Amanda Christensen started to draw potential designs for the vinyl wrap that would eventually cover the car. The final design for the car had two different symbolic meanings. The first had to do with Aponte-Rios’ appreciation for BMW Motorsport and the history of the brand.

“It has some meanings hidden in there. One of them is if you really look at the colors that are in it, it evokes the original, very early BMW Motorsport colors,” he said.

Second, and more importantly, the design and where the colors originate from on the car reinforced Aponte-Rios’ belief that good, fast driving on the racetrack all starts with the front driver’s side wheel and tire.

“To me the most important tire and wheel on the car is the driver’s front side. I feel like that’s the one that dictates everything. How close you get into a turn, how fast you go through a turn,” he said.

Work on the E30 M3 commenced on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Image 4’s headquarters with the laying and application of the vinyl graphic and continued for two full days. When Aponte-Rios brought the car to New Hampshire Motor Speedway the following weekend to take part in the BMW Autumn Festival and to race in various BMWCCA club races, a significant amount of fans and fellow racers stopped by the garage to inquire about the newly redesigned M3. And they did so with good reason. Aponte-Rios’ artistic rendition of BMW art is truly something to behold.

“I don’t want something that you go around the car and it’s all the same. I wanted something that looked different every corner you looked at it,” he said.

And that is exactly what Image 4 created. The sheer amount of color that emanates from the front driver’s side wheel arc looks like an explosion of color not seen since Jackson Pollock last picked up a paintbrush. As the design moves outward from the point of origin the geometric shapes and lines become wider and more pronounced in size, ending on the passenger side rear bumper. The characteristic flared fenders, front bumper and legendary round headlights give the E30 an aggressive appearance that compliments its otherwise outgoing and colorful personality.

A RETURN TO RACING

With the artistic transformation and other upgrades complete Aponte-Rios was finally ready to realize the original mission he had set forth before buying the E30 M3, to return to competitive and fulfilling racing with BMWs, particularly other E30 M3s. Prior to racing the car at New Hampshire Aponte-Rios expressed his excitement in having to fight for position and face greater obstacles in overcoming his competitors on the track.

“With the E30 I feel like it’s definitely going to be more challenging,” he said. “It’s a totally different car. It’s not a ‘put your foot down and go’ car, it’s a momentum car, so the braking going into a turn, exiting a turn, driving through the turn is completely different.”

Before the series of club races at NHMS Aponte-Rios’ M3 had been moved from its former J-Stock class designation to M3T (M3 Touring), a higher class allowing drivers to make substantial changes and modifications to the vehicle’s engine, suspension and to reduce the overall weight. However, as the race began on the afternoon of Oct. 22, Aponte-Rios’ M3 was only placed in M3T due to a carbon fiber rear spoiler added following the purchase. In spite of the lack of modifications, Aponte-Rios and his E30 M3 claimed top honors for the M3T class in the three races he participated throughout the weekend, posting at best lap time of 1 minute 14.8 seconds.

A FUTURE IN M3T

With the 2011 race season at an end for Miguel and his artsy M3, the car has begun to be prepared for the next round of appearances in the spring.

The first modification was to drastically drop the curb weight. All non-essential items from the interior and engine bay, such as the AC compressor, AC lines, power steering and heaps of plastic will be removed. Following the reduction of clutter on the interior the S14 power plant will also be removed and will undergo a large overhaul, increasing the output and making the car more suitable for M3T competition. It will include the addition of race cams, reprogramming of the electronic control unit (ECU) and other modifications allowed in the class. The E30 M3 will also be fitted with a host of improved and original OEM components to make the vehicle handle, stop and accelerate properly including coilover suspension, Eibach springs, stock brake rotors with racing pads on all four corners, fully-built 4.45 racing differential and a lightweight clutch and flywheel.

Despite the vibrant exterior design, under the hood and in the cockpit the car will retain its original color with a fresh coat of Alpine White paint. Ironically, it’s a straightforward switch that gives some contrast to this otherwise outrageous, one-off M3. The valve cover will be painted Alpine White.

Although BMW produced over 18,204 units worldwide, 5,300 in North America Aponte-Rios’ E30 M3 is special. It has an unequaled combination of provenance as a racing car, historical significance as a road car and one-off artistic styling; it’s truly one-of-a-kind.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

E30 M3s seem to lend themselves to extreme modifications, particularly under the hood. But what about the exterior? When was the last time an E30 M3 really took your breath away, making you stare in dumbfounded amazement with your mouth agape? Well, if your answer to that question is “never” or “not in a really long time” stay tuned. GermanAutoNews is covering the transformation of BMWCCA and SCCA club racer Miguel Aponte-Rios’ 1989 E30 M3 race car into a one-off art car.

“Throughout the history of the cars that I’ve had I’ve always tried to be unique in one way or another,” said Aponte-Rios. “I still remember during those early years when all the art cars started coming out. I figured to do something unique with the car, do something related to BMW art cars.”

The transformation will take place this week at “Image 4″, a locally owned graphics and design firm in Manchester, N.H., with the car making its world debut during a Boston BMWCCA event at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this coming weekend. Full coverage of the debut along with a full-length article will be available next week.

Along with its soon-to-be aesthetic significance this particular E30 M3 has an extensive race history. The car was previously owned and raced by Will Turner, owner of Turner Motorsport in Amesbury, Mass. It competed in BMWCCA J-Stock events throughout the Northeast, winning at such tracks as Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen, VIR and Mont Tremblant.

Although the transformation hasn’t been completed yet, we were able to get some shots of the car before it goes under the knife. Enjoy!

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

The sixth generation of the BMW 3-series has been revealed in Munich. The new 3-series is larger, lighter and more efficient than all previous generations, yet still promises to deliver the spirited driving experience which has become synonymous with the BMW 3-series.

The dimensions of the new 3-series have grown in nearly all aspects. The track has increased by 37mm in the front and 47mm in the rear, while the length and wheelbase have expanded by 93mm and 50mm respectively. In addition to changes in size the F303-series will be offered in three unique model variants, the Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line, with each designed and engineered to cater to a particular customer in a more intimate manner.

Under the hood, the new 3-series will be available with four different engines, all of which feature BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine choices include two gasoline and two diesel units. A 3.0-liter inline six will continue to power the 335i and 335i xDrive, while the 328i receives the turbocharged, four-cylinder that was unveiled in April, along with the 2012 Z4 sDrive28i.

An optional eight-speed automatic transmission is the first to be used mid-sized luxury segment and promises to offer greater efficiency and decreased emission when compared to the standard six-speed manual transmission.

Despite the changes in power the new 3-series claims to maintain a fuel-efficient and economical profile. BMW EfficientDynamics have incorporated Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, Optimum Shift Indicator and situational operation of certain components into the latest 3-series. Those, along with a new Driving Experience Control button allows the driver to improve the total efficiency of the vehicle to an even greater extent.

With the introduction of the new 3-series BMW seems to be making a concentrated effort to make its vehicles more appealing to different demographics of potential buyers. With the Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line, as well as the optional M Sport Package, BMW seems to have covered all of the bases. The first impressions were impressive, but the verdict is still out on the sixth generation 3-series. Only time will tell if the finished product lives up to its dramatic premiere presentation.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

In the world of motorsports specific names instinctively come to mind. Manufacturers such as Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have developed a reputation on their ability to transfer on-track victories into the successful marketing and sales of production cars. As the saying goes “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”

Few vehicles in automotive history have done this more effectively than the BMW 3-series. Since the first 3-series rolled off the assembly line on May 2, 1975 its race and road-going cars have been inextricably linked. BMW Motorsport GmbH, which was established in 1972 began racing the new 3-series as soon as they were able to produce a track-ready vehicle. By 1978, just three years after the car’s initial launch, the 3-series had already cemented itself as a perennial title contender in a number of races and championships.

The close relationship between road and track versions of the 3-series would again make its presence known in 1985 with the introduction of what would become one of the most successful touring cars in history, the BMW M3. Again, it didn’t take long this special motorsport-derived version of the 3-series to make its way to the racetrack. In 1987 the E30 M3 began racing in touring car championships throughout Europe. The E30 M3 would go on to claim a total of 1,436 victories throughout the world, including the two titles in the no-holds-barred Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), two European Touring Car Championships (1987, 1988) and the World Touring Car Championship in 1987.

Besides winning overall manufacturers and drivers titles the BMW 3-series has also become a staple in long distance endurance races such as the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Multiple generations and variations of the 3-series, from the 320i and 325i to the M3 GTR V8 and M3 GT2 have claimed the crown at the ‘ring and other prestigious racetracks around the world.

More than 35 years have passed since the 3-series was first unveiled to the world. Although the manufacturers and drivers have changed the philosophy for BMW’s most popular model line has not wavered. BMW continues to enter the 3-series in a number of racing series in both the United States and abroad. As in years past, 2012 will mark a new chapter in the history of the renowned 3-series. Following years of absence BMW will return to the German Touring Car Championship with the all-new BMW M3 DTM.  In addition the 3-series will continue to be raced by BMW factory teams and private operations in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Road Racing Series.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Power to weight ratio in everything in racing. Less weight allows a vehicle to accelerate with less friction and drag, making it quicker and faster. Lowing the weight of a car also its improves, agility, responsiveness and overall handling. BMW Motorsport, established in 1972, has a long tradition of taking their regular street cars and creating lighter and more nimble versions. The past lightweight M3′s include the iconic 3.0 CSL as well as lightweight M3s developed for both the E36 and E46 chassis production runs.

This past weekend, in anticipation of the Nurburgring 24-hour race BMW M unveiled their latest slim and trim creation, the BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology). Unfortunately for U.S customers the M3 CRT will only be available to those in the European market.

Unlike the two previous production lightweight M3′s, BMW M chose to use the E90 M3 four-door chassis as the basis for the M3 CRT. This M3 has trimmed down thanks to a substantial portion of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The hood of the M3 CRT is made of CFRP, making it 50 percent lighter than the steel equivalent on the regular E90 M3. The innovative material is also used in the construction of the vehicles seats. The M3 CRT supports its passengers with bucket seats composed of recycled-paper honeycomb and an exterior covering of CFRP. The final spots where CFRP is utilized is on a portion of the front lip used to channel air, and on the rear spoiler. All of these weight reductions allow the M3 CRT to have an unladen weight that is 99 lbs less than the standard M3 sedan. According to BMW, if you take into account the interior changes the weight savings total 154 lbs.

In accordance with the rest of the vehicle BMW Motorsport has placed a special, enlarged version of the naturally-aspirated V8 power plant in the M3 CRT. The engine, which can also be found on the M3 GTS, has been increased from 4.0-liters to 4.4-liters. Both horsepower and torque have also been increased because of this. At its peak the 4.4-liter punches out 450 hp at 8,300 rpm, with the maximum torque of 324 lb-ft ready to go at 3,750 rpm. All 67 units of the M3 CRT feature the seven-speed M double-clutch transmission (DCT) with launch control. The added horsepower combined with the reduction in weight give the M3 CRT a power-to-weight ratio of 7.7 lbs per horsepower.

The M3 CRT only comes in one color, BMW Individual Frozen Polar Silver metallic with Melbourne Red accents on the side kidney grills and hood vents. The interior offers the same individual touches with special aluminum grain on the door panels and trim pieces. Rounding out the interior is an Alcantara-covered M steering wheel, and special Sakhir Orange and Black two-tone design that covers the lightweight bucket seats.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

With the first generation of the 1-series in the rear view mirror BMW has unveiled the second generation of their smallest and most fuel efficient vehicles. The second generation (F20) promises to deliver a strong combination of efficiency, luxury, performance and aggressive styling.

BMW has chosen to stay consistent with the push to bring turbo technology to a growing number of their vehicles.  For the first time all models of the 1-series, including both gasoline and diesel engines feature BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology package, with twin-scroll turbocharger, high precision injection, Valvetronic and Double-Vanos variable valve control.. Five new 1-series models, two gas-powered and three diesels have been unveiled so far.

The 116i and 118i are the two gasoline-powered versions, with the diesel 116d, 118d and 120d rounding out the lineup. The 116i and 118i both feature a 1.6-liter four-cylinder in-line engine, producing 136 hp and 170 hp respectively.

The remaining three diesel variants all share the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder in-line engine. These also have the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology package and variable-geometry turbocharger with common-rail, magnetic-valve direct injection. Horsepower output varies from 116 hp in the entry level 116d to 184 hp in the 120d.

Not only do these engines feature the very latest in technology, but they’re also extremely fuel efficient. The 116d gets a  estimated 65.6 mph combined, significantly better than a Toyota Prius which gets 50 mph under the same conditions.

Although the new 1-series is loaded with Star Trek-like technology under the hood it’s not limited to just that area of the vehicle. The fuel-efficient engine can be mated to an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. It also has an Automatic Start/Stop function in both manual and automatic transmissions and ECO PRO mode which is activated using the driving experience switch.

To round out the new 1-series BMW has changed the dimensions to allow for more comfort and sportier styling.  The body has been expanded by 85 millimetres, wheelbase is 30 mm longer,  front track is 51 mm wider and rear track 72 mm wider. The interior height is unchanged, but the width has been expanded by 17 mm to give it a more spacious appearance. The result of all of these changes is 21 mm more rear legroom and a luggage compartment expanded from 11 to 23 cubic feet.

BMW did not opt to bring diesel or entry-level versions of the first generation 1-series to the U.S. It is still unclear whether or not BMW will change its marketing strategy and bring these new fun and fuel efficient BMW’s to the U.S. market. Hopefully they do, because 65 mpg, a manual transmission and turbocharged engine sound like the essence of getting the most bang for your buck.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Insideline.com has dynoed the BMW 1M, and the results are impressive. According to insideline’s test, their 1M put down 331 hp 5,150 rpm and 362 lb-ft of torque from 2,500-4,500 rpm (at the wheels). In contrast to insideline’s test, BMW factory rated the 1M as having 335 hp at 5,800 rpm and 332 lb-ft from 1,500-4,500 rpm.

Now, before you go off the deep end and claim the dyno numbers are impossible because no car loses just 4 hp and 7 lb-ft from the crank to the wheels, just wait a second. There is an obvious explanation to these numbers. BMW has taken a page from the Porsche handbook and has significantly underrated the horsepower and torque numbers of the 1M.

But does it really make a compelling enough argument to warrant buying one over a M3. Well, when compared to E92 M3, which has a factory rated 414 hp at 8,300 rpm and 295 lb-ft at 3,900 rpm, the 1M might be down on horsepower. However, it makes up for it in other areas. Based on factory numbers, the 1M has an additional 37 lb-ft than the M3 and it has the advantage of weighing 342 lbs less than the top-of-the-line 3-series.

The M3 and 1M are two completely different animals. One has a traditional M-derived 4.0-liter high-revving, naturally-aspirated v8 that needs to see high rpms to achieve its peak horsepower output. On the other hand the 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine in the 1M is a totally different power plant altogether, varying from the S65 in almost every way.

So which one would you rather have in your garage?

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

What do you get when you take an E30 M3 in pristine condition, add a list of modifications as long as the Great Wall of China, some windy back roads and an experienced driver? A memorable experience, that’s what.

When GermanAutoNews was offered the chance to take a ride in an E30 M3, it didn’t take much time to come up with a decision. After all, this is the E30 M3 we’re taking about, a car synonymous with the S14, a high-revving inline four-cylinder that loves to be pushed above 3,000 rpm, and impeccable handling thanks in part to the vehicle’s 52 to 48 weight distribution. However, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill E30 M3. In fact it’s about as far from the stock North American spec E30 M3 as it could possibly get.

This special E30 M3 was built by Turner Motorsport of Amesbury, Mass. To make this M3 stand out from the pack Turner went all-in with just about every option or upgrade available including a 2.5-liter stroker kit, stage 3 ported/polished head, Evo 3 throttle bodies, Evo 2 camshaft, B&B Triflow muffler, heavy duty clutch, lightweight flywheel, coilover suspension and a whole host of other improvements.

All of these improvements were evident as the M3 rounded the corner of Haigis Mall at UMass Amherst. The vehicle’s exhaust gave off a subtle yet undeniable drone as it made its way toward our camera, and the suspension could be seen trying to keep up with the never-ending bumps and dips that are much too prevalent around the UMass campus. The final component to be experienced before even entering the vehicle was the award-winning sound system, featuring two Focal 27VX 11″ subwoofers,  165EX 3-way and 136EX 2-way speakers and Precision Power 4400 and 2600 amplifiers.

As the ride began we hoped the owner and driver of the M3 would drive the car like it was supposed to be driven. And it didn’t take long to figured out the owner wasn’t intent on leisurely driving around town, all the while being careful to stay under 3,000 rpms and stay at the recommended speed limit.

Actually, from the moment we left the first stoplight it was apparent this was going to be a fun ride. So we fastened our seat belt and away we went. The 2.5-liter S14 screamed with ever-growing intensity as it roared towards redline, while the heavy duty clutch gave the ride a sudden and attention-grabbing snap as it ripped into the next gear. Both upshifts and downshifts came quickly, maybe even somewhat harshly, courtesy of the five-speed Dogleg transmission and upgraded drivetrain.

The stiff and tight suspension, featuring coilovers along with upgraded camber plates, control arms, strut braces and sway bars made taking corners at high speeds a thing of beauty. There was practically no bending and no nose-diving whatsoever when carving through a corner. The 52 to 48 front to rear weight distribution really showed its worth on the back roads, allowing little to no understeer or oversteer.

As we made our way back toward the campus we really showed the under-appreciated power of the 2.5-liter S14. In today’s high-end, high-performance car industry, where more and more vehicles are approaching or eclipsing 500 horsepower, the 270 provided in this M3 might seem like a pathetic amount. I mean really, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 hp, but that doesn’t matter. The Sonata might have more horsepower, but the S14 delivers all 270 horses to the driver in an unforgettable crescendo of noise and emotion. The S14 screams and howls in ways modern engines just can’t match. In a world where naturally aspirated engines are increasingly being discontinued in favor of forced induction units, the S14 stands alone as one of the truly great naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines of all time.

Our ride in the E30 M3 showed us something. It isn’t the most powerful, quickest or most eye-catching vehicle we have been in. However, when push comes to shove it just might be the best. It combines a raw, un-computerized experience, something that is becoming harder and harder to find in today modern vehicles, and something we will not soon forget.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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By Matt McCarron

Yesterday a Russian Web site leaked photos of the official F10 M5 concept car.  The CEO of BMW Motorsport, Kay Segler is standing next to the M5 in the photo below. More photos of the car are available here. http://bit.ly/gch4Xr

Lets here what you think about the F10 M5 concept.

F10 M5 concept car: Courtesy m5board.com

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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By Matt McCarron

BMW Motorsport has secretly developed a number of one-off vehicles deep inside the bowels of Munich over the years. Some of these vehicles, from the ill-fated E34 convertible, E39 M5 touring and M8 have been exposed over time.

Today BMW M unveiled their most recent and public one-off vehicle. The BMW M3 pickup truck was finally revealed after months of candid spy photos have been distributed over the Internet. The one-off M3 has the same high-revving V8 as in the other three versions of the current M3, producing 420 hp. However, unlike the other three variants, the M3 pickup has a rear axle load capacity of 990 lbs. The roof of the M3 pickup is also unique in that it has a removable targa covering.

It’s probably a good thing the M3 pickup will be the one and only M3 to feature a tow hitch and, according to BMW, be able “to carry up to 20 standard 46-inch golf bags.”

Unfortunately, like all of the other secret one-off creations that have emerged from BMW’s motorsport division, the M3 pickup truck will once again recede into the secret storage rooms within BMW headquarters.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Matt McCarron

The latest incarnation of the BMW 6-series coupe has been released, and will make its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show next month. The new 6-series, BMW’s largest and most expensive two-door vehicle will be in direct competition with the likes of the Mercedes E550 coupe, and Jaguar XK.

2012 BMW 650i: Courtesy of BMW

The top-of-the-line 650i features a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, producing 407 hp from 5,500-6,400 rpm and 442 lb-ft from 1,750-4,500 rpm, and the 640i features a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six producing 320 hp at 5,300 rpm and 331 lb-ft from 1,300-4,500 rpm. Both power plants are capable of excellent fuel economy. The 4.4-liter V8 gets a combined 27.2 mpg, while the even more fuel-efficient 3.0-liter inline-six gets a very impressive combined 36.7 mpg. The increased efficiency in the 640i is made possible by an automatic start-stop feature and BMW’s ECO PRO driving mode. Both models feature a eight-speed automatic transmission.

The length and wheelbase are 75 mm longer, the width has increased by 39 mm and the height has been reduced by 5 mm. The new 6-series has a newly developed chassis with electronic power steering and drive dynamic control standard. Integral active steering, dynamic damper control and adaptive drive are also available as an option.

This 6-series also offers a number of luxury and convenience features including: BMW iDrive control system with freestanding control display, heads-up display complete with high-definition, full-color-spectrum graphics, rear-view camera, night vision and parking assist.

The new 6-series is expected to start appearing in U.S. showrooms in the late summer to early fall, with the all-new M6 making its first possible appearance in the final months of the year.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com


By Matt McCarron

BMW Group has announced the creation of their latest sub-brand, BMW i.  BMW i, will be focused on the production of sustainable and environmentally friend transportation vehicles.

“BMW i represents a new movement in premium mobility…,” said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose-built for sustainable, premium mobility. It’s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility.”

BMW will begin production of BMW i vehicles in 2013 with the BMW i3 and i8. The i3, which was previously named the “Megacity Vehicle”, will be the first BMW series car to be an electric-only vehicle. The other upcoming BMW i creation, the i8, will combined both electric and gasoline power. This will allow the i8 to perform double duties as a mode of transportation. An individual can operate the i8 either as a plug-in electric vehicle, or utilize the gasoline engine to give the car greater performance.

Aerial view of BMW Leipzig Plant: Courtesy BMW USA

In addition to creating a greater range of potential customers, BMW Group is also expecting BMW i to allow the manufacturer to expand on its current selection of technological components it puts into its vehicles. Already existing options such as BMW ConnectDrive will be expanded to be compatible with the growing array of mobile devices being used in today’s globally connected society. BMW Group has already starting arranging business partnerships with U.S. based companies in order to make this vision possible. New York-based company “My City Way” will offer a mobile application that gives drivers of BMW i vehicle detailed information of things like available parking spaces in their direct vicinity and intelligent navigation systems.

The BMW i3 and i8 will be manufactured at BMW’s Leipzig, Germany plant. BMW expects the sub-brand to generate 800 new jobs, due to expansions and improvements that need to be made at the plant before the i3 and i8′s launch in 2013.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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By Matt McCarron

Motor Trend announced yesterday the upcoming F10 M5 will be the first M5 in the history of the motorsport division to have a fully automatic transmission, with manumatic controls. This might come as quite a shock to many BMW M enthusiasts, many of which thought the F10 M5 would be equipped with either BMW’s Duel Clutch Transmission (DCT) or an updated version of the Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), the latter being featured on the E60 M5.

BMW F10 M5 in Sweden: Courtesy http://www.motorauthority.com

The announcement of the automatic-only transmission is only the latest in a series of changes and developments that will make the new M5 very different from its predecessors. All previous generations of the BMW M5 have featured manual transmissions. The E28, E34 and E39 M5′s were only offered with a traditional manual transmission. The most recent generation, the E60 was developed for use with the SMG. However, after BMW received numerous letters from the U.S., insisting the car have a manual option, BMW chose to acknowledge their customers and offered the car with the option. All European-spec E60 M5′s were SMG only vehicles. In addition to the automatic-only transmission, the F10 M5 will also be the first M5 to utilize forced-induction technology. The F10 M5 will be powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8.

These two changes, the automatic transmission and forced-induction engine have forced BMW M to take a considerable, calculated risk with the F10 M5. Since BMW M began to produce production vehicles in the early 1980′s, their cars have been associated with having certain characteristics that distinguished M cars from the competition. Namely being naturally aspirated high-revolution engines, and features, such as a manual transmission, allowing the driver to be as connected to the vehicle as possible.

In choosing to move away from naturally aspirated engines and manual transmissions BMW risks losing some of their clientele, but might be able to attract new customers in the process.  Is it possible for a company to change many aspects of their philosophy, and keep true to their overall mission? BMW enthusiasts, M owners and the automotive industry will just have to wait and see.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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By Matt McCarron

The Super Bowl is known for its advertisements, and for the amounts of money corporations invest into them. Last night’s Super Bowl XLV was no exception. However, there was one difference, namely being the type of corporation choosing to invest in multiple Super Bowl ads. BMW group and BMW North America lead the way with two prime-time ads. It was the first time in 10 years BMW had produced an advertisement specifically for the Super Bowl.

BMW 335d Sedan with Advanced Diesel Technology

The first of BMW’s ads illustrated the company’s commitment to producing a number of its vehicles in America. They did this along with debuting the all-new X3. The Spartanburg, S.C. production facility produces every X3, X5 and X6 SUV in the world. The plant, which following a 2008 expansion, is now spread over four million square-feet of facilities. BMW invested over $1 billion in the local economy directly following the stock market collapse in 2008. While America manufacturers, such as General Motors and Chrysler were being bailed out by the America public, BMW decided to expand its North America base. In the 16 years since the Spartanburg, S.C. plant opened its doors in 1994, more than 1.7 million vehicles have rolled off the assembly line. In 2010 159,284 vehicles were produced.

The second of BMW’s commercials highlighted BMW’s movement towards their Advanced Diesel Technology. BMW has developed a unique cleaning system that make the days of dirty, smelly diesel engine obsolete. In addition to the cleaning system, BMW engineers have created a sequentially operated twin-turbocharged inline-six engine for the X5 xDrive 35d. The engine is capable of producing the torque of a V8, with efficiency as a four-cylinder.

BMW Advanced Diesel Technology is available on the 335d and X5 xDrive35d. The 335d is powered by a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine, producing 265 horsepower, 425 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm, and gets an estimated 36 mpg on the highway. The X5 xDrive35d has the same power and torque figures as its sibling, but only gets an estimated 26 mpg on the highway.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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Videos Courtesy of BMW.

By Matt McCarron

High performance and fuel efficiency are not something that tend to go hand in hand. However, German manufacturers, particularly Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW Motorsport have embarked on a new quest. It’s no longer acceptable to have the car with the most horsepower and torque, or the one with the largest displacement engine. In today’s ever-evolving high-performance race to produced the world’s best super sedan, it’s much more important to leave the competition in the dust, and do it in a cleaner and more fuel-efficient manner.

There are three German manufacturers who produce a high-performance version of their standard family hauler. And although all three, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW can claim to have the highest performing and cleanest burning engine, and subsequently the best vehicle, this comparison will only focus on two of the three. The major reason for this is because the Audi RS6 isn’t offered for the U.S. market. The Audi S6 is a very capable vehicle in its own right, but it really can’t compete with the likes of the CLS63 AMG and upcoming BMW F10 M5. For the record, the Audi RS6 officially gets a combined 17 mpg in Europe and is powered by a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V10, producing 580 hp at 6,250 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm.

The new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged AMG engine: Courtesy of M-B USA

Mercedes AMG seems to have fired the first shot in the latest super sedan war. In November 2010 Mercedes AMG revealed their all-new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, replacing it’s predecessor, the 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8. The 5.5-liter twin turbo offers a 33% increase in fuel efficiency over the 6.3 NA, resulting in an estimated 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. The 5.5-liter also produces more horsepower and torque, with 518 hp and 516 lb-ft respectively, 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package, as opposed to the 507 hp and 465 lb-ft from the old power plant.

Although Mercedes AMG has been the first out of the gate in the sedan race for the U.S. market, their competition, namely BMW Motorsport have been busy in the secretive depths of Munich and Garching, preparing their answer to the 2012 CLS63 AMG, the all-new BMW F10 M5. Although details of the upcoming ‘bahn-burner have been numerous, few have been concrete. However there are certain things that seem to have been figured out. The F10 M5 will be powered a highly tuned version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that currently powers the X5M and X6M. Horsepower estimates range from the upper 500′s to even 600 hp.

In a September 2010 interview with Kilometer Magazine, BMW Motorsport CEO Dr. Kay Segler said the F10 M5 will reduce CO2 emissions by 20-25 percent. “We had very clear targets, and we worked toward those targets. Twenty to twenty-five percent less CO2 output, day-to-day car and a pure sports car in one, and a beautiful design as well,” said Segler.

The location of the F10 M5 debut is still uncertain. However one thing is for certain, the fast-paced race to produce the greatest super sedan seems to be escalating, and is getting more intense with each passing day. Unfortunately, the verdict on the world’s best super sedan will have to wait for the foreseeable future, or at least until enough automotive journalists have had the chance to drive the F10 M5 to make an educated decision.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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Video Courtesy of M5board.com

By Matt McCarron

For the first time since 1999 BMW will offer the U.S. a four-cylinder engine as part of its power plant lineup, and while the four-cylinder isn’t as famous as BMW’s inline-six, it still brings back some great memories.

The inline-four cylinder S14 is perhaps BMW’s most iconic engine of all-time. The 2.3 liter version powered the legendary E30 M3 in the U.S., and Evolution I and Evolution II homologations in Europe. The final and subsequently larger 2.5 liter powered the 600 examples of the Sport Evolution in 1990. This is the S14 we’re talking about, an engine that powered the E30 M3 to numerous titles, including two Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) championships, two European Touring Car Championships and the World Touring Car Championship in 1987.

Courtesy of BMW USA

The new four-cylinder engines debuting for the U.S market in 2011 will still have four cylinders, of course, but will have a twist, quite literally in fact. The new generation will feature a twin-scroll turbocharger system with high-pressure direct-injection along with BMW’s Valvetronic intake control system. The result of all this added technology is a maximum power output of 240 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 1,250 rpm.

BMW claims the new four-cylinder engine will offer the same power output as a traditional naturally aspirated inline-six engine. This is partly due to the all-aluminum crankcase and a whole host of other high-tech engineering, resulting in a more efficient and cleaner running and burning engine.

With 240 horsepower the new four-cylinder will definitely have more than enough power and acceleration to make quick runs to the grocery store, or a spirited jaunt on a back country road for that matter. Another aspect to a small displacement engine’s appeal is getting more bang for your buck. Whether it’s the turbocharger or the fear of gasoline prices being projected to rise significantly throughout the year, people want to know they’re getting a good deal and something made to last. And the new BMW four-cylinder engines seem to be a smart choice, both for those searching for more economical and fuel-efficient, while not having to give up the trill and excitement of passionate driving.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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Here is the BMW E92 M3 Coupe at the New York International Auto Show in April 2010. The car features a 4.0 L V8, producing 414 HP at 8.300 RPM.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

2 Responses to “BMW”

  1. John Watkins March 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Although EPA regulations are much to blame, I still fear seeing BMW travel down the turbocharged road…and would hate if they lost their true characteristic of naturally aspirated, high revving finely crafted motors. As for the automatic transmission on the F10 M5, I guess whatever shifts fastest is technically the best. But i know many people who would sacrifice that extra second in order to bang a couple gears and feel more in tune with the super saloon.

    • germanautonews April 2, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      Actually, the automatic transmission report by Motor Trend was incorrect. The F10 M5 will have a double clutch (DCT) transmission. However the transmission will also feature a full automatic mode that the driver can choose if they wish. I don’t think that will be utilized very often, if ever.

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