Auto blogSun, 20 Apr 2014 10:20:00 EST
BMW officially unveiled the Vision Future Luxury Concept today (or is it tomorrow?) at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, giving the world's media an in-the-flesh look at not only a future design theme for the brand, but a rumored flagship model.
This is a looker in person, thanks to its Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe-inspired design, and it's not too difficult to imagine it in production car form, with smaller wheels, larger mirrors and the other minor transformations that take place from drawing board, to auto show and, finally, to assembly line. In general, it seems like there are more than a few parts of this vehicle that are ready for production.
We didn't talk about it in our initial post, but it bears mentioning that this particular concept is wearing an eDrive badge on its backside, indicating that under the Vision Future Luxury's long hood is some form of plug-in-hybrid propulsion. It's anyone's guess as to what engine, battery and motor combinations BMW is playing with, although it does seem questionable whether BMW would launch a PHEV flagship to do battle with a top-rung variant of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (which will likely use V12 power).
Almost two weeks ago, we reported that BMW may be bringing a concept to the 2014 Beijing Motor Show that could herald a flagship 9 Series model that would be better suited to do battle with the tip-top of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class range than the current 7 Series. Well, here it is. This is the Vision Future Luxury Concept, and straight away, it looks suited to the role of ultra-luxury flagship.
In our original story, we reported that the Beijing concept would wear styling similar to the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe that was shown in Villa d'Este nearly a year ago. Unlike that car, the Vision Future Luxury sports four doors, although its roofline plunges aggressively enough for it to be considered a four-door coupe. That doesn't mean it will compromise on rear-seat space, however. Judging by the length of the rear doors alone, this is a very large vehicle.
Its styling, though, is, as we reported, quite familiar. We can see the evolution of the Concours' concept's styling, with a narrower grille that still leads up into the hood. The thin headlights use BMW's Laserlight technology while retaining a shape similar to the Gran Lusso, and the lower intake is dominated by a carbon-fiber air deflector on both ends. BMW's Air Breather system can be found behind the front wheels, adding an accent along the lower portion of the doors. In back, organic LED lighting is used for the super-slim taillights.
After getting a chance to drive the BMW M235i earlier this year, we mentioned our regret at not being able to sample the lighter and less powerful 228i Coupe. We'd like to have seen how close the latter could get to the former, noting that "there's a lot of room for upgrades with the $11,000 retail difference." BMW is closing that performance gap slightly, announcing that a Track Handling Package will join the options sheet for the 2015 228i Coupe.
The group bolts on Variable Sport Steering, Adaptive M Suspension and M Sport Brakes behind new 18-inch lightweight wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. There's no change to the 240-horsepower four-cylinder, but a coupe so equipped should be able to do plenty more with the horses it has thanks to a faster steering rack, sharper handling due to additional sensors and a ten-millimeter drop in ride height, and larger brakes and discs.
BMW has used the New York Auto Show as a venue to introduce the new Track Handling Package, and it will roll onto showroom floors in July and pricing will be announced sometime between now and then. Takers can get it with both the six-speed manual and eight-speed Sport Automatic, see it in the high-res image gallery above, and read about it in the press release below.
The 2015 BMW X4 configurator is ready for your special touch. Starting with the 300-horsepower xDrive35i that starts at $48,925 after destination, our special touch aimed at a luxury cruiser and added $9,250 to proceedings for a final tally of $58,175. That got us the Technology, Lighting and Driver Assistance packages, navigation and enhanced USB and smartphone integration. We were tempted to go for the Dynamic Damping Control for just $1,000 and a set of 20-inch M Double Spoke Wheels, but the configurator didn't want to mix the M Sport Line with our Sparkling Brown metallic exterior hue so we skipped it.
We've covered the details on pricing and the breakdown of the order guide elsewhere, so you can always click through for refreshers. Or you can skip all those words and dive straight into trying to build an X4 that makes you say, "Yeah, now I get it."
We won't argue that crossovers are hugely successful vehicles, with automakers working to provide functional CUVs in a wide range of sizes. But over at BMW, things are just getting out of hand, as evidenced by this new X4 "Sports Activity Coupe" that debuts here at the 2014 New York Auto Show.
BMW is seeing fit to offer vehicles in even the most niche of niches, and the X4 is no exception. Want proof? Have a look at the X4, and the compare it to the X3, the 3 Series Gran Turismo, the 3 Series Sport Wagon, and the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Aside from marginal differences in things like ground clearance and the exact slope of the hatchback, what, exactly, is the difference?
Like the other models we just mentioned, the X4 is powered by either a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 240 horsepower or a more powerful, 3.0-liter turbo-six with 300 horsepower, and unsurprisingly, power is sent to the ground exclusively via the company's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox available with either engine. All sounds very familiar, right?
Despite being a well-respected outfit for decades, Alpina remains something of a mystery to many stateside BMW fans. In Europe, Alpina has established itself as a first-rate source for breathed-upon high-performance Bimmers, and it's looking to continue picking up traction on our shores. The US has received a handful of Alpina models through BMW factory channels, namely the 7-Series-based B7, and now we're getting another fast four-door with the debut of the BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe at today's 2014 New York Auto Show.
The B6 Gran Coupe stands as an interesting sibling to the factory's M6 Grand Coupe. Both are propelled by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but the tunes are quite different. The Alpina produces 540 horsepower and 540 pound-feet of torque, which is 20 hp less than the M6, but with 40 lb-ft more torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive mean that the B6 is about half a second quicker to 60 miles per hour than BMW's own creation. Plus, the B6 has an unrestricted top speed of 198 mph, making it one seriously rapid 6 Series Gran Coupe.
The sport sedan also wears other Alpina goodies like 20-inch versions of the brand's 21-spoke wheels and exclusive color options. The B6 Gran Coupe goes for $118,225 (including destination), and will be available through BMW dealers immediately after the auto show ends. More info about the B6 is in the release below.
BMW officially unveiled the 2015 M4 Convertible at the Javits Center in New York this morning. The droptop, which will slot in next to the M4 Coupe in BMW's performance line, offers infinitely more headroom, fresh air and sunshine for those that want a little more great outdoors and tousled hair with their M experience.
Visually, the M4 convertible is similar to the coupe, and carries on the hardtop's athletic stance with a long wheelbase, short front overhang, aerodynamic mirrors and in the case of this showcar, optional yellow-painted brake calipers. The car's expressive, angry face is perhaps the most notable aspect of its styling, screaming "get the hell out of my way!" with its signature twin-bar kidney grille, trio of air intakes and squinty LED headlights. Inside, the convertible employs three-temperature neck warmers (for chilly top-down days), an absurd amount of "M" logos and a wealth of luxury and technology features.
The rear-wheel-drive convertible uses the same engine as the coupe: a high-revving, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six producing 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission. BMW says the car can make a 0-60 sprint in just 4.4 seconds when equipped with the manual.
The economic downturn wrought devastating effects on motor racing. Formula One alone lost half its engine suppliers when Honda left at the end of the 2008 season, and both BMW and Toyota followed at the end of 2009. But things are looking up again. Cosworth may have dropped out this season, reducing the engine suppliers to three: Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes, the latter of which admits that it may have left had the engine formula not changed. But Mercedes has stayed and is dominating the championship. Honda is coming back next season. And word around the paddock is it may not be the only one.
According to Giancarlo Minardi - founder of the team now known as Scuderia Toro Rosso - BMW engineers have been conspicuously spotted lately at F1 test sessions and grands prix, lending to speculation that the new engine regulations may entice the Bavarian automaker back into the series. According to Minardi, BMW's marketing division is pushing for the automaker's return to F1, with the board slated to make a decision in May. BMW would be more likely to consider an engine-supply deal rather than taking a team over like it had with Sauber, but with which team or teams it might collaborate remains a big question mark at this point.
As if that's not enough, Ford is said to be considering taking over Cosworth's aborted V6 turbo engine program to take both outfits back into the sport as well. Cosworth supplied F1 engines under the Ford banner for years, but returned under its own name for four seasons from 2010 through 2013 before shuttering its program to develop an engine to meet the new regulations adopted this season.
BMW has a secret, and it's not telling. The brand's M Power blog is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the M5 and is taking a look back at previous models of its Autobahn-storming sedan, but it says that it will end "with a surprise." The celebration kicks off with a short video showing the latest M5 making some smoky donuts.
The original M5 debuted in 1985 and was the company's most expensive model at the time. Still, it packed a 3.5-liter six-cylinder generating a claimed 282 horsepower (286 PS), which was rather potent in its day. The company touted it as the world's fastest production four-door sports sedan at the time.
BMW won't reveal the surprise until it has chronicled all five generations of the M5, but it wouldn't be shocking to see an anniversary edition model appear sometime later this year. Scroll down to check out the video of the muscle sedan celebrating its birthday the only way it knows how.
Already weighing more than most other types of vehicles and with the space to accommodate the extra equipment, crossovers and SUVs arguably make for one of the more ideal platforms to transform into a hybrid. And there have been a handful of them - like the Audi Q5, Infiniti QX60/Nissan Pathfinder, Porsche Cayenne/Volkswagen Touareg, Lexus RX450h/Toyota Highlander and Cadillac Escalade/Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon - but by and large the majority of hybrids on the market are sedans and hatchbacks. BMW, however, looks poised to join the minority with the X5.
The Bavarian automaker showcased the X5 eDrive concept at Frankfurt last year, and as promised, has now revealed the followup it will present at the New York Auto Show in just a few days. The new Concept X5 eDrive, as BMW has now revealed, pairs a 2.0-liter turbo four good for 245 horsepower to a 95-hp electric motor to deliver a combined 340 horsepower. Its lithium-ion battery can power it for up to 20 miles and at speeds up to 75 miles per hour before the gasoline engine needs to kick in. All that without sacrificing the vehicle's utility, maintaining an almost perfectly flat loading floor with 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, and without sacrificing much on performance, either: with a 0-62 time of seven seconds flat, the X5 eDrive concept is quicker off the line than the production X5 with the 2.5-liter turbodiesel and just a tenth off of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel.
With the full technical details now released (you can delve into it all in the press release below), the only question remains when BMW will actually put the X5 eDrive into production. Given its appearance in New York, though, we gather that whenever it does reach showrooms, it'll reach American ones as well.