BMW: 2014 M235i Coupe review

September 1st, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

I stepped out of the BMW M4 (read the review here) and into the M235i expecting a significant downgrade, but I was wrong. The M235i is the swift dagger to the M4’s broadsword; it feels lighter and sharper and less likely to require two hands.

The M4 is capable of wreaking much more havoc, but the M235i is still a weapon wielded in the right hands given that it comes with a three-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 240kW and 450Nm of torque. This means a 4.8-second dash to 100kph and enough overtaking power to give the traction control something to think about at 70kph. Continue reading “BMW: 2014 M235i Coupe review” »

BMW: 2014 M4 Coupe review

August 26th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The M4 is like someone took my shopping list, bought everything on it but on impulse sneaked in an extra packet of bacon. And I like bacon. It’s got the power and the noise, the looks and the toys to keep me happy. I don’t need rear seat practicality and I will put up with the tight squeeze in the boot because this is a coupe and that’s what coupes do: they make compromises in carrying capacity in order to look nicer. Continue reading “BMW: 2014 M4 Coupe review” »

BMW: 2014 116i Innovation Edition quick drive

June 28th, 2014 by Robert Barry

DSC_0023What’s not to like about a compact premium rear-wheel-drive hatchback, especially when it comes laden with lots of additional equipment at no extra cost? Continue reading “BMW: 2014 116i Innovation Edition quick drive” »

Road Tests / Car Reviews: BMW X5 M50d 2014

April 21st, 2014 by Robert Barry

DSC_0066For those people who wanted to buy a large luxury SUV (or SAV in BMW parlance), the biggest conundrum was did they plump for the diesel version or the petrol version.

Obviously at this end of the luxury market paying for fuel was not necessarily a large consideration for buyers, it was more about which fuel suited their lifestyle and vehicle use. Continue reading “Road Tests / Car Reviews: BMW X5 M50d 2014” »

BMW 320d Touring xDrive 2013 Review

October 17th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Four-wheel-drive station wagons are good if you like skiing and other outdoor pursuits – you lead a life a little less boring. Your adventures might see you on softer or more slippery ground, but you don’t want to have the inconvenience, sloppy handling and poor fuel economy of an SUV.

BMW-320d-xDrive-Touring-rear-quarterThe 320d comes with xDrive which is BMW’s all-wheel-drive system. This means that the 135kW 2-litre turbodiesel has no chance of overwhelming the available traction, even though there’s 380Nm on tap. It also means it scores a slippery 0.32 coefficient of drag which leads to some fairly frugal motoring: 4.5l/100km (when using the Eco Pro mode, which can reduce fuel consumption by 20% if you follow its tips, too).

BMW-320d-xDrive-Touring-front-interiorEco Pro adjusts the accelerator pedal and gearbox parameters. Shift points are changed, heating and climate control systems are modified to take less power from the engine, and you are given feedback on the display as to how much Eco Pro is contributing to fuel consumption savings.

Consumption is also enhanced by the auto stop/start function, which stops the engine when you are stationary, and brake energy regeneration which captures energy when braking and helps charge the battery. Capturing braking energy means that the engine has less load under full acceleration because it doesn’t have to charge the battery at the same time.

Put it in sport mode, and you should be able to achieve 0-100kph times of around 8 seconds as the 8-speed gearbox swaps its super-slick cogs. Continue reading “BMW 320d Touring xDrive 2013 Review” »

BMW X1 sDrive20d 2013 Review

January 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Back in 2009 BMW launched the first ever luxury compact SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Today, that segment is a bit more competitive with the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3. Even second-tier compact SUVs such as Mazda’s top-of-the-line CX-5 AWD Diesel Ltd nip at the heels with comparable specification, if not brand cachet.

And that gives BMW good reason to perform a refresh on the BMW for 2013. They call it a Continue reading “BMW X1 sDrive20d 2013 Review” »

BMW 320d 2012 Review

October 27th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The entry level model to BMW’s 3 series is surprising, mainly because if you’ve driven older base model 3s like the 318s from a few years ago you’d be expecting something kind of lacklustre and limp.

This obviously didn’t sit well with BMW. The base model is likely to be the best-seller, especially in Europe, where diesels are far more accepted, and you want to put your best precisely engineered Germanic foot forward.

BMW has cranked up Continue reading “BMW 320d 2012 Review” »

BMW 650i 2011 Review

February 14th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The halo coupe in BMW’s range has been reworked. The controversial looks of the 6 Series that was reborn in the mid-2000s have thankfully gone, and have been replaced by a car whose design is beautiful and sleek, finally matching its contemporaries.

If you are flush enough to be in the market for a car that starts at $236,000, there’s not that much choice – only Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati and Mercedes make serious contenders at this price – and you can’t really go wrong anyway. Your purchase is not a practical one. If it was, you wouldn’t buy the BMW 650i, because the boot size is average, the two back seats have no legroom, and you will spend more money at the petrol station than if you buy the almost as sleek diesel Audi A5 for half the price.

But you have elevated yourself above practicality. The aforementioned foibles are irrelevant as this is a sports tourer, and it’s also unlikely to be your only car. You don’t need function, you need aura combined with power and comfort. The BMW emanates that profusely. With the M design pack (20 inch alloys, M leather steering wheel, M aerodynamics package, etc) this car is a stunner. It’s longer than you expect, and that just adds to its presence, making it look lower and more muscular. In fact, the photos don’t do it justice. I found myself more often than not glancing back at the BMW, admiring it when walking away from it. Continue reading “BMW 650i 2011 Review” »

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