Auto blogMon, 15 Sep 2014 12:45:00 EST
Electric cars and hybrids are here to stay, much to the apparent dismay of some auto enthusiasts, but that doesn't mean they have to represent the death of enjoyable driving. Granted, the initial run of hybrids in the US like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius weren't exactly tailor-made for aggressive folks behind the wheel, but things are clearly changing. In its latest video, Evo takes a look at three examples from Europe's new crop of electrified vehicles to show that the future of fun motoring is safe and sound.
Evo editor Henry Catchpole kicks things off with one of the most bizarre EVs of the bunch, the tiny Renault Twizy. Its low power and 50-mile-per-hour top speed might make it miles away from a hot hatch, but there's still fun to be had in extracting the most from this little city car. Next up is the Audi A3 E-Tron, which isn't technically available yet. It's a step in the right direction of eventually creating an affordable, fun-to-drive hybrid hot hatch.
However, the main event is Catchpole getting some seat time in the BMW i8. The Bimmer can really fly -literally in this case - and the butterfly-door coupe offers a clear look at the prospects for electrified sports cars. It might not have the power of hybrid supercar contemporaries like the LaFerrari or Porsche 918 Spyder, but the BMW doesn't cost nearly as much, either. See? Improved efficiency doesn't have to mean boring.
BMW is always happy to extract a little bit more gumption out of its M cars, just look at the latest 30th anniversary M5 or even the earlier CSL variants of the M3 for proof. Now, It looks like we might be getting the first glimpse of an even hotter M4, and it's wearing very interesting livery.
Our spies recently shot this M4 that could preview a future GTS version. It's all done up in MotoGP decals, but that might just be a ruse. This car sports a camouflaged lower air dam and rear wing, but those parts don't appear to be from an actual series safety car. The chin spoiler seems larger, and the rear wing is completely different. You can also spot an obvious Recaro logo on the driver's seat in one of the photos. Plus, the BMW emblem is removed at the back.
The disguised changes and odd choice of decals make this prototype incredibly weird. A BMW exec said at the beginning of the year that there were "no plans whatsoever to make a lighter, harder version just yet," of the M3 or M4, despite earlier rumors to the contrary. Check out the gallery to see what you think this is.
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 18:58:00 EST
For the most part, they look almost identical to their coupe versions, except that they now boast an electrically folding soft top.
BMW is dropping the top of the 2 Series in early 2015 in the US with convertible versions of the 228i and M235i. They'll make their world debut at the Paris Motor Show later this year and will show their faces on this side of the pond at the 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show.
The entry-level premium sedan segment is pretty hot right now, with the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class doing well for their respective automakers here in the US. Of course, BMW has its 2 Series, but that's currently only available as a coupe, with a convertible bodystyle forthcoming. That all looks to change, however, as our spies recently caught BMW testing a four-door 1 Series sedan that seems to have the A3 and CLA clear in its sight.
BMW's entry-level four-door is expected to ride on the same front-wheel-drive UKL platform that we recently spied in Mini Countryman form. We're pretty sure this thing will launch under the 1 Series line (odds for sedans and wagons, evens for coupes and convertibles), but it's anyone's guess with BMW - after all, the five-door, front-drive Active Tourer wears a 2 Series nameplate.
Look for the 1 Series sedan to launch sometime in 2016 as a 2017 model. Better late than never in the entry-lux segment, we suppose.
If you only look at the videos from BMW, it appears that the best way to celebrate the 30th birthday of the M5 is some smoky drifting, and it sure looks like a great way to mark the occasion to us. Now that the Bavarian brand's new 30th anniversary special edition is all set to hit the road, the most powerful M5 ever is getting it own chance to roast its tires on video, as well.
The M5 30th Anniversary Edition shouldn't have any problem hanging its rear end out, really. Under the hood, its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 is turned up to 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque and can allegedly sprint to 60 miles per hour in a scant 3.7 seconds. That's pretty impressive for any sports car but especially for a sedan that can still carry four passengers comfortably cosseted in leather and Alcantara upholstery.
BMW is making just 300 of these celebratory models worldwide, and appropriately for the anniversary, only 30 of them are going to be available in the US. If the special M5 doesn't make your heart race, the video basks in a little nostalgia, as well, by showing off the original model for some historical context.
The last time the Dinan name graced the pages of Autoblog, Michael Harley was waxing poetic about the S3-R BMW 1M Coupe, a car that still stands in his ranks as one of the best cars he's ever driven. And that wasn't just because it was, you know, amazing. It's because as far as tuners go, Dinan produces some seriously well-executed products. Harley said of the 1M, for example, "It was so fully formed and well-rounded that it felt like BMW itself had made it."
Eager to sample some of these wholly wonderful wares, I cleared a few hours in my Monterey Car Week schedule and booked a date with the S1 M5 you see here - the (current) daily driver of Mr. Steve Dinan, himself. But unlike the S3-R 1M the company tuned previously, the donor car in question here is vastly different and, if I'm honest, not as good. See, I adore the stock 1M in a way words cannot express, but the standard-issue M5... good as it is, there are indeed a few flaws.
But after driving the Dinan S1 M5 around the Monterey Peninsula, I can confirm two things. First, Harley's conclusion that Dinan builds products that feel 100 percent BMW-spec is absolutely true. And second, Steve and the gang haven't just created a tuned M5, they've built a better one.
I recently spent some time behind the wheel of the BMW M235i and, well, I didn't love it. Sure, it's a great car, but I just didn't truly bond with it the way I have with previous M cars. What I had hoped for was a proper successor to the 1 Series M Coupe I fell in love with in 2011, but what I got instead was just a sporty 2 Series that didn't exactly stir my emotions in the same way.
But now there's this: the honest-to-goodness BMW M2. Previously, spy photographers captured a development-mule M2, but this is the real thing, in its full prototype body. Notice the aggressive front fascia that mimics the M3/M4, the more more robust wheel/tire package, and the M-standard quad exhaust outlets around back. This thing sure does look the business.
Details are slim as of this writing, but rumors suggest power will come from BMW's now-ubiquitous N55 turbocharged 3.0-liter six, with output somewhere in the 360- to 380-horspower range. The seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission seems like a good fit here, too. As does a six-speed manual transmission (here's hoping).
We've seen all manner of marriage proposals over the years, but our favorites, of course, revolve around cars. One guy proposed to his girlfriend at a traffic stop, another during an autocross event, while yet another got dozens of Mazda MX-5 owners together to spell "Marry Me?" in Miatas. This latest proposal, however, put the M in Marriage as only a BMW enthusiast could.
While visiting BMW Welt in Munich, Bachir from Lebanon rolled out in a new blue M3 and got down on one knee in front of the gathered crowds to pop the question to Layal, his girlfriend of one year.
We'll let you watch the clip for yourself to see how it went, but suffice it to say that she was delighted. The couple plan to drive to the church in a procession of M cars for what promises to be a high-octane ceremony in their home country.
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:57:00 EST
All this, for one minute and 47 seconds of action-packed footage with no official plot.
We arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, on the third and final practice day for the drivers of a BMWStories internet video called The Epic Driftmob feat. BMW M235i. We are immediately whisked to a large, empty parking lot on the outskirts of Cape Town, where tires are squealing and chunks of rubber are flying as five red BMW M235i coupes churn up more smoke than a California wildfire. And the smell - it smells like heated metal, the kind of thing rev limiters are made for. Times five.
BMW is taking a page from the Harley-Davidson playbook with its groundbreaking R NineT. A retro cafe racer with an urban hooligan twist, the bike is fully customizable from fork to exhaust. Of course, any motorcycle can be customized, but the fact that BMW has built its newest bike to encourage modification using parts that can be swapped with simple tools is a radical move for a motorcycle maker best known for its plug-and-play touring bikes.
To underscore exactly how radical, BMW has even partnered with custom heavy-hitter Roland Sands Design, which developed the initial concept for the bike and is now manufacturing a full line of parts and accessories for the R NineT, including radial valve covers ($950), retro racing saddles ($400-$420), radial gauge housing ($400) and a radial headlight bezel ($250), among other things, all of which can be swapped with a socket wrench or screwdriver instead of a hacksaw, wire cutters and TIG welder.
Alas, the bike I tested for two weeks was stock, so consider it a blank canvas.