BMW hydrogen-powered 7-series goes on a road trip

August 14th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


The BMW Hydrogen 7 — the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan — is hitting the road in an unprecedented cross-country journey in the U.S.

The car, which emits water safe enough to drink, will join other hydrogen-powered cars from the world’s leading automakers in the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour.

From August 11 — 23, the hydrogen powered convoy will travel from the US cities of Portland, Maine to Santa Monica, California with one goal: to call on congressional leaders to support the creation of a nationwide hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure.
The Hydrogen Road Tour is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association. In addition to BMW, participants include Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and VW. Also part of this broad coalition are hydrogen fuel providers Linde, BMW’s hydrogen fuel partner for the Tour, and Air Products.

What is most unusual about the Hydrogen Road Tour is the partnership between the world’s leading automakers, key federal departments, influential non-governmental organisations and hydrogen fuel providers to bring the reality of practical, clean energy to our nation’s legislators and the public. The tour will visit key members of Congress in their home states to allow them the opportunity to see and drive these cars.

BMW Hydrogen 7 is the only car on the tour that stores liquid hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources available producing zero emissions. Essentially the only tailpipe emission is water vapour.

The tour fleet will include the mono-fuel version of the BMW Hydrogen 7, equipped with a V12 internal combustion engine which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. It was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine.

The Hydrogen 7’s V12 mono-fuel produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, while not sacrificing performance. In fact, the tailpipe emissions are so infinitesimal they pushed the limits of current emission testing technology.

Independent authorities, including the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), have confirmed these results. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008 and found that not only were the emissions infinitesimally small but when running, the vehicle actually cleaned the air.
Recent studies have also confirmed the water emitted by the Hydrogen 7 is, in fact, safe to drink.

Exhaust from the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7 tested by FGL Environmental was found to be well within the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for safe drinking water standards. The Maximum Contaminant Limit, abbreviated MCL, is the maximum limit set by the EPA for chemicals found in drinking water. Results showed the MCL from mono-fuel H7 emissions to be in compliance with the health safety standards.

For more than a year, the BMW fleet of bi-fuel Hydrogen 7s has been an important milestone on the road to a hydrogen future, with more than 150 people driving nearly 2 million miles so far. The Pioneer Program, as it is called, has provided the flexibility of being able to gather real-world driving experience driving on hydrogen with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t run out of fuel. In addition to the BMW hydrogen pioneers, hundreds of people from academia, students, media, as well as the general public, have had the opportunity to experience the BMW Hydrogen 7.

Sporting options available for M6 and 6-series BMWs

August 12th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


The BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible are now offered with a new sports package aimed at enhancing driving dynamics and adding a more sporting appearance.

Available on all non-M derivatives, the Edition Sport package comprises a new contoured bonnet for an aggressive look, bespoke 19-inch light alloy wheels and M anti-roll stabilisation system for improved handling. The suspension enhancement will benefit Edition Sport model customers with the insertion of stiffer anti-roll bars for a 10 per cent firmer front axle and a 30 per cent firmer rear axle rear. This results in improved handling and a more composed ride during enthusiastic driving.

A Brushed Aluminium interior, Extended lighting and the opportunity to specify one of seven colours, of which Imola Red and Carbon Black are new to the 6 Series range, completes the offering. Building on this specification, BMW 650i Edition Sport Coupes and Convertibles also come with a Sports exhaust for enhanced engine breathing and aural pleasure.

The BMW M6 Coupe is to be offered with a competition package aimed at offering enhanced driving dynamics. The new package features a revised suspension configuration comprising a 12mm lower front end and 10mm lower rear, retuned Dynamic Stability Control and ABS settings, and a modified Variable M differential for greater cornering capability.

Visually, a competition package-equipped M6 Coupe has a new bonnet with precision lines for an increased sporting look and M double-spoke light alloy wheels with wider rims that are shod with new Pirelli P Zero Corsa System tyres.

BMW in New Zealand has yet to advise us as to whether we will be seeing any upgrades to the 6-series here.




Zero to 100km/h Seconds

Top speed

Combined L/100km

Emissions g/km

BMW 630i Edition Sport Coupe







BMW 630i Edition Sport Convertible







BMW 635d Edition Sport Coupe







BMW 635d Edition Sport Convertible







BMW 650i Edition Sport Coupe







BMW 650i Edition Sport Convertible








BMW revises the M3 looks: Power to stay the same

August 5th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


In the model year 2009 the BMW 3 Series Saloon, the four-door BMW M3 will feature divided rear lights with the brand-typical L-shaped contour. The two LED light clusters for the taillights and the indicator lights, which also feature LED technology, have a distinctive and high-quality appearance. The new rear end design is rounded off by modifications to the bumper and rear lid. The list of interior refinements includes a newly conceived fresh air grille located in the centre of the cockpit, a newly designed storage area under the armrest on the centre console and a pearlescent chrome light switch cluster.

The new start/stop button, also in pearlescent chrome, and the rotary controls for the air conditioning sporting the same design are not only featured in the BMW M3, but also in the Coupe and the Convertible. Likewise, from the autumn, all variants of the BMW M3 will be equipped with crash-active headrests that reduce the risk of cervical injury in the event of a rear end collision. The choice of exterior colours available for the BMW M3 will also be widened as from the autumn. The colour space grey metallic is now also available for the BMW M3 Saloon. Le Mans blue metallic is new in the range of colours offered for all body variants.

AC Schnitzer rocks the BMW X6

July 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


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


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


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.