2012 BMW 1-Series arriving in NZ next month – from $46,600

September 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all new 2012 BMW 1 Series is scheduled to go on sale in New Zealand on October 28. The second-generation 1-Series comes offering more fuel efficient engines, new features and a segment-first eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.

The price of the 116i manual, featuring an entirely new 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, will start from $46,600 drive-away. The new base-model boasts the same power output of the previous entry model, the 118i, despite using 24 per cent less fuel (5.7 litres/100km).

The new-generation turbo engine accelerates the 116i from zero to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds – compared to 9.4 seconds for the previous 118i.  Torque output is also up from 180Nm to 220Nm while carbon emissions are down from 174g/km to 132g/km.

Standard kit on the 116i include a 6.5-inch free-standing flatscreen colour display, handsfree Bluetooth functionality including USB, MP3 compatible CD player, cruise control with brake function, auto Start/Stop function, keyless engine start, 6-speaker stereo system, iDrive controller, favourite buttons and freshly designed 16-inch alloy wheels. Continue reading “2012 BMW 1-Series arriving in NZ next month – from $46,600” »

BMW 1 Series M Coupe 2011 Review

August 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 BMW 1-Series M Coupe is certainly special, a one-off offering from the M-division that has raised suspicion from purists and excitement from badge fans. But what exactly makes it so unique? Is it because by being based on BMW’s entry level 1-Series a new M-car is more affordable than ever before? Or is it because of the 1M’s turbocharged engine and M3-borrowed running gear? Or maybe because it will be built for just one model year with only 14 units making their way to NZ? Or does it just go totally hard? Car and SUV had a chance to pilot the new 1-Series M on a rapid-paced voyage of discovery for the answers.

It hasn’t been an easy birth for the 1M, some have labeled it a parts-bin car because of its extensively shared components with others saying it’s cheapening the M range with its budget 1 Series donor body. But neither of these accusations is accurate. True the 1M is the new lightweight of the M Division stable but it’s quick, feisty and can throw a heavy punch when provoked. Continue reading “BMW 1 Series M Coupe 2011 Review” »

BMW’s future i4 and i5 eco vehicles to fill out range

August 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s recently revealed i sub-brand is one of the most exciting and ambitious moves in the automotive world recently (read news) and will expand after the i3 and i8 go on sale in the next three years.

What’s next? Well the following models will be the i4 and i5 which are rumoured to be a smaller coupe and a family focused four-door sedan.

Both the i4 and i5 models will have a carbon fiber reinforced plastic “Life” bodye to keep weight down and use variations of the drivetrains powering the i3 and i8.

Apparently the i4 will use the same underpinnings as the i3, but will drop the rear doors and seats to become a two-seater with a lower roof, wider track and a increased dynamic ability. Power will likely come from a tweaked version of the  i3’s electric motor, with the same optional range-extending engine mounted out back. If the i4 is created in this way BMW will have a more affordable two-door option in its range. Don’t expect to see the i4 roaming streets for about five or six years. Continue reading “BMW’s future i4 and i5 eco vehicles to fill out range” »

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” »