BMW reveals i3 and i8 concept vehicles (+video)

August 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s hotly anticipated i-brand has officially arrived with the first introduction of two concept models.

BMW has given out the first details and images of its i3 and i8 models before the concepts are shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Originally teased as the MegaCity concept, the BMW i3 electric car will be the first vehicle to be produced under the i brand and will arrive in 2013. Built for urban environments this high-tech machine uses an electric motor mounted on the rear axle for an output of 125kW with 250Nm of torque. Power will go through a single speed gearbox and the i3 will accelerate briskly from 0-100km/h in around eight seconds. Top speed is limited to 150 km/h.

BMW claims the i3′s battery pack can be charged to full in six hours and will get to 80% charge in just one hour using a standard socket. Expect details on battery capacity and range to be revealed soon. Continue reading “BMW reveals i3 and i8 concept vehicles (+video)” »

The Final Countdown?

July 31st, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Since last putting fingers to keyboard, my world has been rocked by a sudden death. A seriously flawed yet fabulous flame flickered out of existence, taking with it just a little brightness from this world.

Did I hear someone mention Amy Winehouse? I think not. While the tragedy of a young life being gripped and seemingly snuffed out by a cocktail of addictions is definitely something to be mourned, pitied and – if lessons are to be learned – in suitable time scrutinised and criticised, she never really rocked my world.

Instead, I have been touched on an entirely more personal level by the untimely demise of my much loved BMW which suffered from a sudden and terrible loss of coolant atop Auckland’s harbour bridge on Tuesday. Thankfully the force of gravity was enough to see it down the other side where it eventually returned to a temperature on the right side of thermo-nuclear and was tentatively returned to Grimley Towers. And there it remains; forlornly abandoned on the driveway, having managed the ludicrously expensive trick of simultaneously rooting both its radiator and head gasket.

Ordinarily, my head would take control of matters, ask my heart round for a cup of coffee and while it was looking the other way club it unconscious with a decorative table lamp. Then, free of the debilitating influence of emotion, a $1, no-reserve TradeMe auction would be started and the circling vultures of vehicle breakers encouraged to descend. But this is not an ordinary week, because as keen viewers of Prime will have noticed, Top Gear returned to our screens last Sunday. Continue reading “The Final Countdown?” »

BMW’s Vision ED concept car on show at Auckland Museum

July 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW NZ has put together a eye-catching exhibit for its striking Vision EfficientDynamics car that’s currently on show at Auckland’s Museum. The best part is that it’s open for public viewing all weekend (Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17).

Following an appearance at the Australian Motor Show the concept can be viewed for free at the Atrium end of the Museum.

The Vision EfficientDynamics car is scheduled for production in 2013 and is set to become the world’s first green supercar. It’s powered by a three-cylinder turbo-diesel with a hybrid synchronous motor at the front axle and a full hybrid engine at the rear axle enabling a maximum power output for the system of 241kW. This new technology allows the BMW VisionED to achieve a 0–100km/h sprint time of just 4.8 seconds while returning a very low economy figure of 3.76 litres per 100 kilometres, and a CO2 emission rating of just 99 grams per kilometre. Continue reading “BMW’s Vision ED concept car on show at Auckland Museum” »

BMW opens virtual tour of its Art Car program (+video)

July 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In a program that started 40 years, BMW has collaborated with world famous artists to create 17 art cars with each being a historic work of art. The cars are highly valuable but aren’t just for show, many of them have been raced, from Alexander Calder’s 3.0 CSL through to the latest M3 GT2 painted by Jeff Koons (pictured).

While some of the cars have gone on display in museums and exhibitions around the world, seeing all 17 cars at once is very rare. To mark the 40th anniversary of the art car program BMW has put the entire collection online through an impressive new website. On the site each car gets its own exhibit and film that outlines its creation, all laid out in a high-tech virtual museum. Continue reading “BMW opens virtual tour of its Art Car program (+video)” »

Next-gen BMW M3 may receive triple turbo power

July 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s M3 is always going to be an uncompromising sports machine, that’s something which will never change, but exactly how it achieves its performance has changed over the years. What started out with an inline-four was up-sized into a straight-six for two generations before a V8 was stuffed into the current model. It’s no surprise that there is much speculation about the next-generation M3 with it expected to return to a straight-six format but that won’t mean a decrease in power.

If recent rumours are to be believed, the upcoming M3 will come packing a triple-turbo straight-six powerplant. The rare arrangement may include two traditional turbochargers powered off exhaust gases but also a third electric turbocharger. Total power output would increase to around 335kW compared to the current V8 model’s 308kW. There will also be more carbon fibre used to keep weight down, much like the M3 CRT (pictured). Continue reading “Next-gen BMW M3 may receive triple turbo power” »

Edo Competition tunes BMW M5 Touring ‘Dark Edition’

July 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new M5 has officially been unveiled and while it’s undoubtedly more modern and progressive than its predecessor, many enthusiasts are going to miss the V10 charm of the older model.

German tuners Edo Competition are celebrating the outgoing M5 with one final hurrah and have created a special M5 Touring for the occasion. Called the M5 Dark Edition, this wagon is modified with a specially tuned version of the 5.0-liter V10. It’s been upgraded with a recalibrated ECU, high-flow air filters and catalytic converters and a new  high-performance exhaust system.

Total output has been boosted from 373kW and 521 Nm to a beastly 413kW and 560 Nm. The sinister M5 Dark Edition can sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds (0.5 seconds faster than the standard model) and the 100km/h -200km/h acceleration in under 10 seconds. The pesky limiter has been removed so this M5 Touring can reach a terrifying top speed of 305km/h.

Cosmetically there’s a new aero kit including a front lip with additional lights, a rear diffuser to house the bespoke exhaust tips and a roof wing. Packing out the guards are 20-inch alloy wheels painted in black with a sliver rim and wrapped in thin Dunlop tyres. Continue reading “Edo Competition tunes BMW M5 Touring ‘Dark Edition’” »

BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept going on show in NZ

June 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s striking Vision EfficientDynamics car, is coming to New Zealand for a special one-off appearance and will be put on display at the Auckland Museum from Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17.

The high-tech machine will be part of next week’s Australian Motor Show and will pop in to NZ after, so it’s a great chance to see a groundbreaking concept car for free.

“The BMW VisionED represents the future of BMW mobility and unlike other concept cars, which often never see the light of day, the BMW VisionED is confirmed to go into production in 2013 and will be known as the BMW i8,” said the Managing Director of BMW Group New Zealand, Mark Gilbert.

“This ground-breaking model is a showcase of BMW technology and provides strong indications of drivetrain technology and the level of connectivity all future BMW models will feature.” Continue reading “BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept going on show in NZ” »

Mini Coupe Gets Me In A Lather

June 25th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

During my weekly forage at the big yellow comestibles shop I decided to splash out on a bit of a retro indulgence that – as far as my reasonably limited memory can remember – has never actually made it into the shopping trolley since my ownership was transferred to the current Mrs Grimley.

A bar of soap.

Before the more hygiene fixated amongst you abandon Car & SUV forever in protest at my lack of personal cleanliness, rest assured that on a day-to-day basis I am nothing short of pine fresh. Thanks largely to the input of the female inhabitant of Grimley Towers, at any one time our shower room has enough examples of foamy grooming products to turn the Tasman Sea into a bubble bath; but until now we have always shunned the humble soap cake.

And it only took a single application of my new purchase to tell me why. Thanks to clever people in laboratories and the selfless suffering of their guinea pigs (which probably are guinea pigs) the usual lotions and potions involved in my cleansing rituals are capable of disguising the 31 years of neglect that my flesh has been subjected to. A concoction of plant extracts and technical whizzery leave me emerging from every shower feeling like the victim of a drive-by moisturising.

Clean Up Your Act BMW

Soap does not do this. One quick wash was enough to leave me convinced that my skin had somehow been removed and replaced with some two sizes smaller and twenty years older. Every doorframe became a Krypton Factor-esque challenge as I was sure the slightest brush of my newly abrasive forearm would have been enough to remove the paint. I felt tight and weather beaten, but most importantly of all I felt properly clean.

Now, despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m not stupid. I know that scientific evolution ensures the shower gels of today are light years ahead of a classic block of Lifebuoy and will keep me looking less terrible for longer, but it doesn’t really matter. Despite the fact it is old fashioned, I love the single minded purposefulness of soap; you get clean and that’s your lot. Want to be smooth too? Buy some moisturiser. By only going about one task, the end result just seems to be that bit more focussed and pleasing.

And that’s why I’m beginning to fall out of love with Mini. Continue reading “Mini Coupe Gets Me In A Lather” »