Chicks dig BMW 5-Series and Citroen DS3 – it’s official

April 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Many men spend time wondering what exactly is the best car to own if you want to impress the ladies. A Kermit green Series 2 Mazda RX-7 may have done the trick twenty five years ago, but in 2011 women are more impressed by style, economy and practicality. So if you want to win some points pick up your date in a BMW 5-Series or a Citroen DS3.

Because us men were never going to uncover these important results ourselves a crack team of woman motoring writers from around the globe recently held the annual Women’s World Car of the Year for 2011. The voting finished so close that the supreme award produced a dead heat between the BMW 5 Series and the Citroen DS3. So gents, if you’re on a budget go for French style in the DS3, if your cashed-up, then spring for the current 5-Series BMW and don’t cheapen out of the leather trim.

Category winners and runners up in the competition included:

Family Car Winner  – Volvo S60
Runner up – Kia Sportage

Sports Car Winner – Aston Martin Rapide
Runner up – Audi TT

Luxury Car Winner - BMW 5 Series
Runner up – Jaguar XJ

Economical Car Winner - Citroen DS3
Runner up – Mini One Diesel Continue reading “Chicks dig BMW 5-Series and Citroen DS3 – it’s official” »

BMW officially reveals production ready 2012 M5 concept

April 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following a series of leaked photos from a press event in Germany, BMW has officially released details of its much anticipated M5 sports sedan. Due for its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2011 in China later this month, official images and details have just become known.

Apparently, the Concept M5 is around 99 percent production ready, so the production model should look almost identical to the vehicle in the official images.

In terms of power the fifth generation of the M5 has a new twin-turbocharged V8 engine waiting under the bonnet. BMW has confirmed that the engine is a development of its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 which outputs 414kW and 680Nm of peak torque, but in M5 guide it will be tweaked to deliver more power. For now, the German company is staying tight-lipped on exact performance numbers.

What BMW has said is that compared to the fourth generation of the M5’s  V10 power unit, the freshly developed V8 turbo has a significantly increased output level. The upcoming M-car also has greater fuel economy and lower emissions than its predecessor. Continue reading “BMW officially reveals production ready 2012 M5 concept” »

Mini counting down to international motorsport return

March 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The wait is almost over for the return of Mini to the international motorsport stage. This season, the new Mini WRC Team will compete at selected rounds in the FIA World Rally Championship. The initial aim is to gain valuable experience, in order to be perfectly prepared for the complete 2012 World Championship season. The Mini John Cooper Works WRC has been developed by Prodrive, based on the Mini Countryman. It’s equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine derived from the Mini production models, which was developed by BMW Motorsport for use in a series run according to FIA Super2000 regulations, including the World Touring Car Championship. Beside its works involvement with the Mini John Cooper Works WRC, Prodrive is also supplying customer cars to private rally teams.

“The FIA World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand,” says Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW Group. “Experience is a very important factor in motorsport. For that reason it is essential we learn as much as possible within a very short time, in order to make up ground on our rivals. The new regulations mean the gap to the top is smaller than it would have been at another time. We want to annoy the opposition as soon as possible.” Continue reading “Mini counting down to international motorsport return” »

BMW announces NZ pricing for new 6 Series Convertible

March 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s new 6-Series has been launched with some serious momentum into the NZ market. First we saw the new 6-Series convertible closely followed by the coupe. Now pricing has been announced for the drop-top model and comes in at $248,500.

Open-top motoring isn’t all you get in the new 6-Series convertible it’s also more powerful and has greater torque than its predecessor with improved fuel economy.

Powering the BMW 650i is a 4.4-litre eight-cylinder engine which develops a maximum 300 kW and peak torque of 600 Nm.  It is partnered with an eight-speed Sports automatic gearbox as standard.

“The new BMW 6 Series Convertible is styled to reflect the epitome in design and is the ultimate in luxury top-down performance,” said the Managing Director of BMW Group New Zealand, Mark Gilbert.

“It is a driver orientated executive express which will have particular appeal for enthusiasts and those who demand the ultimate in terms of performance motoring.”

An impressive list of standard features includes adaptive drive, rear-view camera with surround view, Head-Up Display, adaptive headlights, Navigation Professional (featuring a large 10-inch colour screen) and front comfort seats with heating and ventilation functionality.  The roof takes 19 seconds to open and can be operated at speeds of up to 40km/h. Continue reading “BMW announces NZ pricing for new 6 Series Convertible” »

BMW launches all-new more powerful X3 into NZ market

March 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has unveiled its all new X3 at a press event held on Australia’s Gold Coast. The new model will go on sale in New Zealand from the middle of March and comes boasting enhancements in technology, design, performance and driving dynamics.

The second generation X3 looks very sharp with a modernised design that features a contoured bonnet, xenon headlights and an upswept windowline. Dimensionally the new X3 is wider and longer than its predecessor but still sits neatly between the X1 and X5 in terms of size. It is also 25kg lighter than the first-gen X3, an impressive result considering it’s larger and carries more kit.

In terms of power two engine variants will be available in the New Zealand line-up and they’re both diesel.

The new BMW X3 xDrive20d features a four-cylinder in-line diesel engine with output of 135 kW, and 380 Nm of torque. Acceleration to 100 km/h takes 8.5 seconds which is brisk for an SUV and is made more impressive by the X3’s fuel consumption of just 5.6 litres/100km.

The higher-spec BMW X3 xDrive30d boasts a three-litre six-cylinder in-line diesel engine with an output of 190 kW and 560 Nm of torque. The car accelerates from 0–100 km/h in just 6.2 seconds, yet EU fuel consumption is only 6.0 litres/100 km.

The BMW X3 xDrive20d will have a recommended retail price of $87,900 and the more powerful BMW X3 xDrive30d a recommended retail price of $108,500. Continue reading “BMW launches all-new more powerful X3 into NZ market” »

BMW reveals new shark-faced 2012 6-Series Coupe (+video)

March 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Images and info on BMW’s 2012 6-Series Coupe has been revealed ahead of its official debut at the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2011 show.

Looking more purposeful and with tighter lines than previous model the new 6-Series is designed to be the ultimate dream car. The coupe features a “shark nose” front-end with bi-xenon headlights and a large BMW signature grille. Along the flanks, the 6-Series profile boasts frameless windows, chrome accents, and a low roofline. At the rear, there’s dual exhausts, LED taillights, and a trunk lid with an integrated spoiler.

At 4,894mm long, 1894mm wide and 1,369mm tall, the 2+2 coupe is 75mm longer, 39mm wider and 5mm lower than its predecessor. It also rides on a 75mm longer wheelbase at 2,855mm, which should improve space for the rear passengers. Boot capacity stands at 460 litres.

Inside, the design is the same as on the soft-top model, with a more driver-orientated cockpit and the large display on the center console standing out. Other highlights include Dakota leather seats and a freestanding 7-inch iDrive display. Goodies on the options list include heated/ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and GPS navigation with an upgraded 10.2-inch display.

In the safety equipment department the new 6 is advanced with a heads-up display, rear-view camera, night vision assist (with pedestrian recognition), parking assist, and a lane departure warning system all included as standard.

When the new 6-Series coupe arrives in New Zealand it will be sold with BMW’s stonking V8 engine. This twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine outputs a healthy 300 kW and produces 600 Nm of torque. It allows the coupe to run from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Fuel economy is impressive as well with the 6-Series achieving 10.4 L/100km combined and emissions are 243 g/km. Continue reading “BMW reveals new shark-faced 2012 6-Series Coupe (+video)” »

BMW releases first teaser video for next M5

March 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The F10 BMW M5 isn’t too far away from being revealed and it comes carrying the burden of high expectations. To whip BMW fans into near fever-pitch the German automaker has released a tantalizingly short and suitably mysterious video clip of the latest M car in action. As with many other BMW M teaser videos, there’s very little to see and it all happens so quickly, making the soundtrack the most important element.

While there’s been a lot of cheeky spy shots of the next big M car, this is the first official video BMW has produced. By the sound of things, the car’s 430kW twin-turbo V8 is an absolute beast and might be worth all the hype it gets.

Check out the teaser video below. Continue reading “BMW releases first teaser video for next M5” »

BMW confirms new ‘i’ eco-friendly sub brand

February 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The BMW Group has just confirmed its new sub-brand called “i”, which it will use to market a fresh range of eco-friendly vehicles including regular and plug-in hybrids, and pure electric models.

The first models to be launched under the new sub-brand won’t arrive till 2013 and will be called the BMW i3 and i8. The i3 is set to be an all-electric city car, that will be based on the Megacity Vehicle. The i8, is a more exciting plug-in hybrid sports car based on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept study unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Both new models will be based on BMW’s latest construction concept called LifeDrive that makes use of an aluminium chassis to house the powertrain, while the passenger cell consists of high-strength but extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

“Both cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems,” explains Klaus Draeger, the BMW Board member responsible for development. “We used the innovative architecture and CFRP to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries. For our customers this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power.”

While BMW did not disclose further details about powertrains during the announcement, the company recently revealed that the 1-Series ActiveE’s electric synchronous motor with 168HP (125 kW) and 250 Nm of torque which will be used in the i3. Continue reading “BMW confirms new ‘i’ eco-friendly sub brand” »