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” »

First video released of 2012 BMW M5 driven in anger

June 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The first video of the 2012 BMW F10 M5 getting given some stick on the track has just been released by the German manufacturer.

The video features a fully undisguised example being pushed through some turns on a racetrack somewhere in Europe. There are also some shots taken inside the cabin which gives a real sense of the speed this sports sedan is capable of and the soundtrack of the V8 engine is reason enough to check out the clip.

Performance figures are impressive from the F10 M5′s 4.4-litre twin-turbo motor with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.4 seconds, 0-200km/h (124mph) in 13.0 seconds and a limited top speed of 250km/h. If you’re hell bent on going even faster the optional M Driver’s package raises top speed to 305km/h. Continue reading “First video released of 2012 BMW M5 driven in anger” »

BMW reveals official details and images of 2012 M5

June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With leaked photos doing the rounds online, BMW has decided to drop the official images and details on its fifth generation 2012 M5.

The much-anticipated super saloon comes packing BMW’s a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine behind its double kidney grille. It shares this powerplant with the X5M and X6M high performance SUVs and the V8 replaces the previous M5′s exotic 5.0-litre V10 unit. The new high-revving engine packs a heavyweight punch with power output of 415kW and peak torque of 680Nm. This marks a huge 30kW and 150Nm increase over its predecessor. Fuel consumption has also been improved with a quoted figure of 9.9l/100km combined.

Transferring power to the rear wheels is a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission linked up to an electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential. A manual transmission is expected to be added at a later date.

Performance figures are impressive with the new M5 sprinting to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, 0-200km/h (124mph) in 13.0 seconds and a limited top speed of 250km/h. If you have to go even faster the optional M Driver’s package raises top speed to 305km/h. Continue reading “BMW reveals official details and images of 2012 M5” »

AC Schnitzer builds Eagle concept – world’s fastest Mini (+video)

June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Being the fastest of the bunch is seldom a bad thing, extra speed usually equals extra kudos. This fact hasn’t been wasted on the BMW Group which recently set about building the world’s fastest Mini.

Called the Eagle concept car, this mean Mini was pieced together by specialist BMW tuner AC Schnitzer. To prove its ability and take its place as the Asafa Powell of Minis, the concept was taken to the Hockenheim circuit where it turned in a cracking lap time of 1:13.34. To put things into perspective a standard issue Ferrari California achieves a time of 1:13.5 and a Porsche 911 Turbo 1:14.6 – so the Mini was very rapid indeed.

The Eagle is based on the standard John Coooper Works platform and uses a modded version of its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Power output is fairly modest at 194kW but the vehicle’s weight has been further reduced by 80kg. Other tweaks include height adjustable racing suspension and sharp 18-inch alloys with sport tyres. Continue reading “AC Schnitzer builds Eagle concept – world’s fastest Mini (+video)” »

BMW reveals all-new 2012 1-Series range

June 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With leaked images of BMW’s brand new 1-Series hatch circulating online since Friday the Bavarian carmaker has made the call to release a full set of photos and official details.

BMW’s compact car is now larger and sports fresher looks while also introducing a new range of engines. The all-new 2012 1 Series is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year with the code-name F20. It will sit on the same platform that underpins the upcoming new 3 Series and will be larger than its predecessor in every dimension except height. The first variant on show will be the volume-selling five-door hatchback but the range will also include a three-door hatch, coupe, cabriolet and possibly a longer Gran Turismo version.

The new sheetmetal has extensively revised styling with more prominent creases and a dramatic front-end that includes an even larger kidney grille and frowning headlights that push back into the wheel guards.

Inside, higher-grade materials are used and there’s apparently more attention to detail. A larger centre console houses fresh switchgear and there are new steering wheel designs. The latest version of BMW’s iDrive system is an optional extra. Continue reading “BMW reveals all-new 2012 1-Series range” »

BMW X3 xDrive 20d 2011 Review

June 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s first generation X3 had life fairly well sorted. It was comfortably placed in the X-Series range beneath established big brother the X5 and the sportier X6. But life changed for the X3 with the birth of the X1 into the X-family. In response the new X3 would have to grow in size and refinement to create itself a new groove in the range. With this realignment in mind BMW has launched its second-generation X3 model for 2011. In the role of middle child the X3 is now bigger, handles sharper and has improved fuel economy. Car and SUV had a test drive in the new diesel-powered X3 20d to document its coming of age.

In terms of body proportions there’s definitely been a growth spurt for the X3 with a 28mm increase in width and a 11mm higher ground clearance at 212mm. There’s minimal change in height but at 4.65 metres in length and a widened track the X3 is dimensionally very close to the original X5. Despite the extra bulk and more equipment the new X3 is 25kg lighter than its predecessor – an impressive result for BMW engineers. Continue reading “BMW X3 xDrive 20d 2011 Review” »

Vorsteiner gives BMW’s 5-Series a makeover special

May 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Aftermarket styling specialists Vorsteiner has just dropped some images of its latest aerodynamics package for the 2011 F10 BMW 5 Series. Along with the images comes claims that the VMS Conversion can elevate your BMW 5-Series to a higher level of style, sophistication and performance. Details on how exactly the body kit and new rims does that hasn’t been stated but the images look cool – if you’re into doing that sort of thing to a premium luxury cruiser.

Upgrades include a new bumper with large air vents and a carbon fiber front spoiler lip. There’s also deeper side skirts and a set of light alloy wheels, with a white finish and a 10-spoke design. Rear styling is even more dramatically changed with a replacement diffuser and a large boot lid lip, both pieces are made from carbon fibre. The exhaust system has also been replaced with twin, large rectangular tail pipes showing intent. Continue reading “Vorsteiner gives BMW’s 5-Series a makeover special” »