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.

BMW M-division delivers 300,000th vehicle in 30 years

June 20th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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Munich. 30 years, 300 000 vehicles and a BMW M3 Coupe — these are the most significant earmarks of a remarkable anniversary. Three decades after commencing with the assembly of their first series production model, the BMW M GmbH has now delivered its 300 000th vehicle. The alpine white BMW M3 Coupe was handed over to a customer in Regensburg. This East Bavarian town is also the location of the BMW plant in which the high-performance sports car is produced.

The anniversary vehicle marks a further milestone in the success story of the BMW M GmbH. The number of customers who choose to purchase a BMW M model still continues to grow. Nevertheless, driving a car boasting the M logo remains an exclusive experience. In the year 2007, BMW M GmbH automobiles accounted for around one percent of the BMW Group’s overall turnover worldwide.

The tremendous success of the BMW M GmbH began with a limited production car. In 1978 the company, which was established six years previously as the BMW Motorsport GmbH, presented a mid-engine racing car, featuring a straight six-cylinder power unit that was utilised in the newly founded ProCar series. The car was also produced for reasons of homologation with a 204 kW/277 bhp road version. The two-seater car, which had long become a legend and which, in its anniversary year, was recently abundantly honoured at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2008 at Lake Como, was the fastest German series production sports car when launched. 445 BMW M1 cars were produced up to 1981, one of them being the Art Car designed by Andy Warhol.
Other models included in the range as from 1984 achieved considerably higher production figures. It was then that the BMW M GmbH corporate philosophy, which is still applicable to this day, was established. The aim was to develop high-performance automobiles, which were suitable for everyday road traffic and would fascinate through discrete aesthetics and drive and suspension technology directly inspired by motor racing. This applied unreservedly to the first BMW M5 with a 210 kW/286 bhp straight six-cylinder power unit for example. Thanks to its performance and its understatement factor, the saloon car was extremely popular amongst business travellers.

Two years later, a further M model laid the foundation stone for a new vehicle category. The BMW M3, ancestor of the current fourth model generation, caused a stir both on the road and on the racetrack. It is the most successful touring car ever utilised in motor sports, also becoming a huge commercial success within a very short time. 17,000 first-generation BMW M3 automobiles alone were sold. To this date, the car, which is currently available as the BMW M3 Coupe, the BMW M3 Saloon and the BMW M3 Convertible, accounts for the largest proportion of overall BMW M GmbH vehicle sales.

During the course of the first ten years, around 35,000 BMW M automobiles were put on the road. In 1994, five-digit figures were achieved for the first time within a year. Since then, record sales figures have been consistently achieved, with sales of all BMW M GmbH models continuing to rise further with each new generation. Worldwide purchases of the new BMW M3 alone exceeded 4,000 in the first four months of the current year — even before the market launch of the BMW M3 Convertible and the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic. The USA is the most important market for BMW M automobiles, and on the European continent the high-performance sports cars are much coveted in the UK, Germany and Italy.

The vehicle portfolio of the BMW M GmbH currently comprises nine models, all featuring engines with individual characteristics derived from the high-revving concept. The BMW Z4 M Roadster and the BMW Z4 M Coupe boast a straight six-cylinder with 252 kW/343 bhp, the BMW M5, and the BMW M5 Touring, the BMW M6 Coupe and the BMW M6 Convertible all feature a 373 kW/507 bhp V10 engine. Both power units are series winners of the “International Engine of the Year Awards”, which the new 309 kW/420 bhp V8 engine utilised in the BMW M3 was also able to seize in its category this year.