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” »
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” »
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” »
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)” »
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” »
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” »
February 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
BMW has shown off the first images of its Vision ConnectedDrive concept, ahead of a official debut at the Geneva Motor Show.
The roadster design concept is a base to showcase BMW’s advanced driver assistance and mobility networking systems to demonstrate what is possible now and what will be possible in the future.
In terms of design it’s a radical machine which uses BMW’s “layering” approach that breaks up large surfaces with lines and detailing to give a more organic appearance. The concept features a wide grille, huge air intakes, frameless windscreen, and a transparent area running down the bonnet that symbolises the “driver’s focus on the road ahead and on the concentration of information that is flowing in the opposite direction, towards him.” The concept also has electro- mechanical retracting doors which give a nod to the Z1.
Inside, the cabin is divided by a flowing center console which houses many of the conventional controls. In front of the driver is a fully programmable instrument cluster which makes use of a heads-up display that shows various vehicle information. But wait, there’s more, smartphones will instantly link to the vehicle as soon as you enter the cabin. This will mean drivers have full access to all of their apps, messages and address books. While all that doesn’t sound so space age, the system also boasts an augmented reality interface which can be shown on the head-up display and used to automatically drive the car without human interaction. That might sound unbelievable but according to BMW, one day you could go to a restaurant, exit the car, and the vehicle would use the internet to locate a parking garage, drive to it, and park itself. The applications for this sort of technology are near limitless, instead of going to the restaurant you could just send the car to pick up your dinner while you sit at home watching TV. Brilliant.
The concept’s drivetrain remains a mystery for now, but it is expected to be all electric. More will be revealed next month, leading up to the Geneva Show till then check out a promo video and some images in the gallery below. Continue reading “BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept showcases latest tech (+video)” »
February 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
BMW’s new 6-Series coupe is preparing for it’s grand reveal at the upcoming 2011 Shanghai Auto Show this April. Earlier this year BMW used the recent Detroit Auto Show to unveil the new 6-Series Convertible so it makes sense that the automaker will go to China, one of its most lucrative markets, for the debut of the 6-Series Coupe.
It’s no secret what the latest BMW two-door would look like thanks to the unveiling of the 6-Series Coupe in concept form at last year’s Paris Auto Show. When the concept was revealed it was a show car that looked almost production ready. Following from that was the reveal of the 6-Series Convertible, which is simply the Coupe with its roof chopped.
The first variants to be released are expected to be the 640i and the 650i. In terms of power the 650i Coupe should come with a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V-8 packing 407 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, while the 640i will receive 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque from a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder. Continue reading “2012 BMW 6-Series Coupe set for Shanghai debut” »