AC Schnitzer rocks the BMW X6

July 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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AC Schnitzer has been a BMW fiddler for a long time now with subtle mods on most models over the years.

This AC modified X6 is something else though with huge 22-inch wheels and a flared body-kit coupled with a lower ride height thanks to a set of Nurburgring spec AC springs.

With the X6 it is a matter of taste, but if this goes as good as it looks, we will be very happy.

MINI SUV could be on the shared BMW-Fiat platform

July 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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News of the MINI SUV said to labeled ‘Crossman’ and to debut at the forthcoming Paris Motorshow could utilise the partnered platform from BMW and Fiat has come to light.

The platform is touted to be under consideration for the new Fiat Punto Grande, the Alfa Romeo MiTo and the MINI Crossman. It has been substantiated that the platform codenamed C-Evo will be used for the new Alfa 147 and could house either FWD and AWD set-ups.

While the look of the MINI Crossman has caused considerable debate, it looks unlikely that BMW won’t produce it. The big MINI is due out in 2015.

One million MINIs produced since 2001

July 18th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Since production began in 2001 Plant Oxford has seen over one million MINIs leave the plant destined for customers abroad. The one millionth MINI for export has now left Plant Oxford.

More than 80 per cent of MINI production is currently exported to almost 80 countries worldwide with the largest export market being the USA. The most recent sales figures have been the best in MINI USA’s history. In the first half of the year, MINI USA has reported sales of 26,400 cars, an increase of 33.6 per cent. The increase in MINI sales is indicative of the structural shift taking place in the USA, with MINI dealers reporting many customers moving out of their large cars like SUV’s and trucks into MINIs.

In the first six months of 2008, MINI recorded a worldwide increase in sales of 17.9 per cent compared to last year delivering 126,810 vehicles. The introduction of the MINI Clubman has contributed greatly to this success — every fifth MINI sold is a Clubman.

Plant Oxford employs 4,700 associates who work a three shift pattern producing up to 800 MINIs a day, seven days a week. An additional 2,100 associates work at the MINI pressing plant in Swindon and engine plant in Hams Hall near Birmingham; the three plants together form the MINI production triangle in the UK.

In addition, MINI UK will open the doors to a brand new model at MINIVERSITY, the Oxford-based car manufacturer’s home at the 2008 British International Motor Show.
Between 22 July and 03 August, the UK media and British public will have the opportunity to view first hand some of the smartest things to come out of Oxford in recent years.  MINI owners will have access to ‘The Union’, an area to meet others in the MINI community, while future customers can take a walk through the ‘Faculty of Engineering’ and discover the millions of ways to personalise a new MINI. The stand will also incorporate a Quadrangle-style area on which the entire MINI range will be displayed.

The most recent ‘graduate’ from MINI Plant Oxford, the brand new MINI John Cooper Works will be shown to the public for the first time on British soil.

Hamann hardens BMW’s 6-series

July 16th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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Hamann are famous for taking BMW’s best and making them better.

The treatment that Hamann has given the 6-series range makes them look like absolute stunners.

Hamann can modify any model within the 6-series range and give it more power and torque, not to mention some very handsome wheels to fill the lowered arches.

Electric MINIs to glide down Californian streets?

July 11th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Over the next months, the BMW Group will be carrying out various series of tests on electrically powered vehicles to determine the alternative drive of the future. Several hundred MINI vehicles are being prepared for this.

The cars, built in the Oxford plant, will be modified accordingly in Munich and fitted out for trials.

“This step will allow the BMW Group to gain an initial knowledge of how mobility can be achieved efficiently using purely electrically powered vehicles. Our task here is to combine the ultimate driving experience with an efficient electrified drive with practically no emissions”, underlined Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

The tests on alternative drives in a MINI body will be used over the next 12-18 months to refine the technology. Details about the drive concept and its marketing will be published towards the end of the year.

Rumours are abound that 500 such MINIs will be leased to members of the public in California for the trials.

BMW and Fiat contemplate getting into bed together

July 10th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

The BMW Group and Fiat Group Automobiles (FGA) are considering the possibility of co-operation in the areas of components and architectures for their Mini and Alfa Romeo vehicles.

As part of possible cooperation, BMW Group will provide FGA with support in launching the Alfa Romeo brand in the North American market.

A Memorandum of Understanding to this effect has been signed by Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Corporate and Brand Development, and Alfredo Altavilla, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Fiat Group Automobiles and CEO of Fiat Powertrain Technologies.

“We are currently examining with the Fiat Group possibilities for the joint use of components and systems in Mini and Alfa Romeo vehicles in order to achieve economies of scale and thus cost reductions within the framework of our Number ONE strategy”, Eichiner said on Monday in Munich.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles, said: “The proposed co-operation with BMW is a significant cornerstone of our strategy of alliances. We are delighted to work with such an esteemed and respected partner in the automotive industry with the clear objective of improving the competitive position of both parties.”

The two partners have agreed not to divulge details of the possible collaboration. The results of the cooperation discussions will probably be achieved by the end of the year.

BMW releases details on new 7-series out in November

July 7th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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The flagship of the BMW model range debuts in November with a host of world firsts and will initially be offered with a choice of three powerplants, one diesel and two petrol engines. The two petrol-powered cars will be offered with a long-wheelbase body too. All three engines produce more power yet use less fuel and produce less emissions than the models they replace.

The new BMW 7 Series can be specified with the world’s most advanced Night Vision system in a production car. BMW was the first manufacturer to fit Night Vision to a premium car and it has now upgraded this package to include a pedestrian recognition system in another world first. A control unit analyses video data of human behaviour as part of the Night Vision camera’s reach and can subsequently alert the driver if it detects a human is moving into the path of the vehicle.

G-Power produce BMW Z4 based barn stormer

July 4th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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A 300 km/h top speed, 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, 375 hp and peak torque of 420 Nm; These are the characteristics of the latest G-POWER development for the BMW Z4 3.0i.

In addition to the increase in power output of 144 hp for the 6- cylinder engine that normally produces 231 hp, G-POWER offers a complete tuning program for the Bavarian roadster consisting of: Aerodynamic body kit, light-alloy wheels, suspension modifications, high-performance brake system and exclusive interior components.

G-POWER offers supercharger-based systems for increased power output and has 25 years of experience in tuning BMW automobiles.

The new G-POWER EVO III supercharger system is an evolution, based on the well known systems for the Z4 2.2 to 3.0 six- cylinder engines of the BMW Z4. Its core is an ASA T1-12 supercharger from the all new “black-line” edition that features ceramic ball bearings for an increased rpm limit of the charger. Accordingly the boost rises to a higher peak of 0.6 bar  and is cooled down by a large air-to-air intercooler and controlled by a Dual Flow bypass system.

On the exhaust side the G-POWER EVO III system features a complete exhaust system with racing-headers and catalysts.  This measure optimizes power yield, throttle response and also ensures the engine’s thermal health. Specially developed mapping for engine electronics coordinate the perfect interaction of all new components.

The results of the G-POWER treatment are impressive: With 375 hp at 6450 rpm and 420 Nm torque at 4650 rpm the standard 231 hp strong BMW Z4 3.0i becomes a true eli”M”inator. With a sprint time from rest to 100 km/h of 4.9 seconds and to 200 km/h in 15.1 seconds the G-POWER G4 is level with the BMW Z4M and finally outruns it with a top speed of 300-km/h

The G-POWER EVO III supercharger system is available for all BMW Z4 3.0i with manual transmission, along with the numerous items from the extensive G-POWER tuning accessories lineup.