MINI trims down its lineup

2014 has been rough for the MINI brand sales. Overall, the global MINI sales are down 5.3 percent, despite a strong October month. In order to revive the brand and become more focused with their products, Bloomberg says MINI will reduce the lineup to...

2014 has been rough for the MINI brand sales. Overall, the global MINI sales are down 5.3 percent, despite a strong October month. In order to revive the brand and become more focused with their products, Bloomberg says MINI will reduce the lineup to five models, down from eight. The British brand plans to focus on the three-door and five-door version of its classic hatchback, as well as on the Countryman crossover and Clubman wagon. According to MINI chief, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the fifth is likely to be electric (our bet goes on a version of the Superleggera Concept).

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“Like a superhero, each of these cars has its own personality and unique capabilities,” Bloomberg quotes Schwarzenbauer as saying in a speech prepared for an event near BMW’s Munich headquarters. “It is important to find the right balance between growth, on the one hand, and profitability, on the other.” Schwarzenbauer says that niche models are not only too expensive to produce given their small sales, but they also take up a lot of the marketing budget. Even though not confirmed yet, the models at risk to be eliminated are the Paceman, Roadster and Coupe. The article MINI trims down its lineup appeared first on BMW BLOG

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BMW 340i M Sport and 330i LCI Facelift Models Seen With LED Head and Tail Lights

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! While you chow down your turkey, we have the latest F30 and F31 LCI facelift prototypes to show you. Until now, adaptive LED headlights have only been available on the 4 Series, but as we can see, it will soon be availab...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! While you chow down your turkey, we have the latest F30 and F31 LCI facelift prototypes to show you. Until now, adaptive LED headlights have only been available on the 4 Series, but as we can see, it will soon be available on the F30/F31 LCI models. Alongside the LED headlights, the F30/F31 LCI will also feature LED tail lights. As seen before, these prototypes show a restyled front bumper, deeper inset headlights (from the beefier bumper design) and shapelier kidney grilles. The M Sport bumper seen for the first time here doesn’t appear to undergo much changes. According to our latest info, the 335i becomes the 340i with the LCI refresh and its N55 engine will be replaced by the B58 engine. The 328i becomes the 330i and its N20 engine will be replaced by the B48 engine. The 3 Series LCI models begin production next July (2015).

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BMW i8 vs BMW M1 – Track battle

AutoExpress UK brings two BMW supercars together on the track – the new i8 and the classic M1. The M1 came to life in 1978 at the Paris Motor Show as the M divisions first ever creation.The M1 coupe was hand-built between 1978 and 1981 as a hom...

AutoExpress UK brings two BMW supercars together on the track – the new i8 and the classic M1. The M1 came to life in 1978 at the Paris Motor Show as the M divisions first ever creation.The M1 coupe was hand-built between 1978 and 1981 as a homologation special for sports car racing. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo show car. At the time of its launch, it was one of the fastest and most dynamic cars on the market. It featured a 277 horsepower 3.5-liter straight-six engine and could reach speeds in excess of 160 mph. The redline came at 7,000 rpm and the M1 was capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in 5.6 seconds.

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BMW i8 uses a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a turbocharged three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and BMW eDrive technology in the form of an electric drive system. The 1.5-liter combustion engine develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels of the BMW i8, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric drive sends its power to the front wheels and allows an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). Here is the track battle: The article BMW i8 vs BMW M1 – Track battle appeared first on BMW BLOG

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By Design: Citroen C4 Cactus

Much-needed return to eccentricity. ...

Much-needed return to eccentricity.

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The Future Of BMW Plug-in Hybrids Is Exciting

BMW equips a 5 Series GT with the eDrive and TwinPower Turbo technology to showcase the future of plug-in hybrids. The ongoing development and refinement of hybrid drive systems under the Efficient Dynamics program is geared in particular to maximizi...

BMW equips a 5 Series GT with the eDrive and TwinPower Turbo technology to showcase the future of plug-in hybrids. The ongoing development and refinement of hybrid drive systems under the Efficient Dynamics program is geared in particular to maximizing the amount of time the vehicle spends in electric mode. Therefore, BMW is developing a new generation of “highly electrified” hybrid concept models. First one made its debut today, the 3 Series eDrive Concept which will go on sale in 2016. Next year, the BMW X5 eDrive will also make its market debut.

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Future models using the Power eDrive technology will include significantly higher-powered electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of present versions. The Power eDrive electric drive system will contribute approximately two thirds of the vehicle’s combined output. The new BMW engines family with TwinPower tech will fill in the other third.

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The drive components used in these future hybrid systems will offer combined outputs in excess of 500 kW, while the capacity of the lithium-ion batteries – up to 20 kilowatt hours – will likewise be greatly in excess of current hybrid systems. The increased all-electric driving range will reach up to 100 km (62 miles), essentially the new plug-in hybrids could run in the electric mode every day.

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The combustion engine will fulfill several roles, such as providing a power boost when needed, extending the driving range and provide some recharging capabilities. On future plug-in hybrid concepts the electric motor, which will be the main source of power for everyday driving, will continue to drive the rear wheels, while the addition of a second electric motor driving the front wheels will create an all-electric road-coupled all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, an internal combustion engine will also supply power to the front axle.

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The article The Future Of BMW Plug-in Hybrids Is Exciting appeared first on BMW BLOG

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BMW Hopes to Jumpstart Slow i3 EV Sales in Germany

According to a report by kfz-betrieb, the BMW i3 aren’t as strong in Germany as they are in the US. After nine months of sales, dealers have sold just half of the vehicles they were told to move. Dealers have been able to sell 1900 units since...

According to a report by kfz-betrieb, the BMW i3 aren’t as strong in Germany as they are in the US. After nine months of sales, dealers have sold just half of the vehicles they were told to move. Dealers have been able to sell 1900 units since the beginning of the year, a third of which were the i3 REx.The German outlet says that the goal for the year is 5000 to 6000 units. In September, BMW German dealers sold 131 i3 models. BMW is blaming long shipping times of up to six months for the weak sales. “Dealers say they could sell more cars than allocated,” BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer recently claimed. But BMW is taking a proactive approach and aims to jumpstart sales through new financial incentives.The company is offering prospective German customers an i3 for €555, close to $700 a month. That price includes a full collision waiver and 3333 kilometer (2071 miles) allotment. After the lease end, if the customer chooses to buy the car, the original fees are refunded. The approach is different from the monthly incentives (“trunk money”) offered by automakers in the US.

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With 1,159 sales of the BMW i3 and 204 of the i8, BMW set a new sales record in the U.S. in a single month – 1,363. Worldwide sales of the BMW i3 have shot to over 10,000 units, including more than 3,100 in the U.S. The article BMW Hopes to Jumpstart Slow i3 EV Sales in Germany appeared first on BMW BLOG

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BMW aims for 500 geniuses employed at 339 U.S. dealerships by year-end

By the end of 2014, BMW plans to have 500 geniuses employed at its 339 U.S. dealerships. The BMW i Genius idea is a play from Apple’s playbook and has proven to be effective around the world. BMW says some of the larger U.S. dealerships employ ...

By the end of 2014, BMW plans to have 500 geniuses employed at its 339 U.S. dealerships. The BMW i Genius idea is a play from Apple’s playbook and has proven to be effective around the world. BMW says some of the larger U.S. dealerships employ as many as ten geniuses; and a quarter of the personnel are women. Worldwide, BMW has 1,500 geniuses working in dealerships in 43 countries, including one in Tibet. Ian Robertson, BMW board member for marketing and sales, says about the BMW i geniuses that “they’re excited, they like the new role, and they especially like seeing how much customers enjoy an atmosphere of information and no sales pressure.” In 2012 BMW has started a pilot of the ‘BMW Genius’ program. At the time, the pilot was conducted at 10 BMW dealerships who collectively employed 14 Geniuses, and produced an extremely high level of customer satisfaction.

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In Europe, BMW dealers taking part in the automaker’s Product Genius program are getting a financial boost. According to BMW, the tech-savvy employees’ no-pressure explanation of the features available in BMW’s vehicles has increased the purchase of high-margin options by 10 percent to 15 percent. Each BMW Genius will be steeped in the increasingly sophisticated technologies and personalization options available from BMW to help guide customers through every step of the ordering, buying, test drive and handover process, and will be on call to help with any subsequent queries or service updates. The Product Geniuses, who are paid a fixed salary, do not sell cars. Buyers who want to make a purchase are handed over to a sales person. The total number of Product Geniuses will rise to 2,000 in early 2015. [Source: Forbes] The article BMW aims for 500 geniuses employed at 339 U.S. dealerships by year-end appeared first on BMW BLOG

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Jalopnik says BMW 228i Is The Best Enthusiast Bimmer You Can Buy

Jalopnik embarked on a coast-to-coast trip aboard the new BMW 228i Coupe. After almost two weeks with the little, yet potent bimmer, the Jalopniks concluded that this is the best enthusiast bimmer you can buy now. “The 228i represents the best ...

Jalopnik embarked on a coast-to-coast trip aboard the new BMW 228i Coupe. After almost two weeks with the little, yet potent bimmer, the Jalopniks concluded that this is the best enthusiast bimmer you can buy now. “The 228i represents the best all-around BMW performance car for your dollar,” says Patrick George of Jalopnik. So what led them to this conclusion? Here is an excerpt from their lengthy review:

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There’s this idea out there that to get a good BMW, you have to have the hardest, nastiest, angriest, M-iest version possible, the one with all the turbos and all the cylinders and all the carbon fiber. The 228i proves that wrong. To understand this car, you have to go back to the idea behind the original 2002 and other New Class sedans and coupes: they were made to drive like sports cars while offering levels of practicality that sports cars couldn’t. A sedan for sporting. A sport sedan, if you will! BMW certainly wasn’t the first to do that, but their idea was the one that prevailed. And the 228i fulfills that mission perhaps better than any other car in the current lineup. It’s something you can live with and have a ton of fun with in equal measure. BMW still nails that, despite all the grief we give them over its other weird product decisions. The 228i has this BRZ-esque agility to it that makes it feel sharper than the M235i. Like most new BMWs it has variable drive modes that tweak throttle response and steering feel, but I found it best in the default Comfort mode; in that setting the steering has a dancer-like grace to it that doesn’t need any artificial tightening. It feels plenty balanced on its own. In fact, let’s talk about balance for a moment. That’s what’s so great about the 228i. You may think you’re losing out by opting for the 2.0-liter turbo four over the M235i’s 3.0-liter inline six, but you’re not. The base price for the BMW 228i Coupe is $32,100, without the $925 destination and handling fee. And it can be ordered with the beautiful M Sport Package. Or with the Track Handling Package. So what do you think? Is this the best bummer you can buy now?

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BMW 228i Coupe specifications Four-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology (twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Direct Injection, Valvetronic variable valve timing, Double-Vanos Capacity: 1,997 cc Output: 240 hp at 5,000 – 6,500 rpm Max. torque: 258 lb-ft at 1,250 – 4,500 rpm Acceleration [0 – 60 mph]: 5.4 seconds with 8-speed sport automatic Top speed: 130 mph / 210 km/h (250 km/h / 155 mph with Sport Line or M Sport) Preliminary EPA Mileage Estimates (mpg) – 23 city/35 highway/27 combined for the 8-speed sport automatic. 22 city/34 highway/26 combined for the 6-speed manual The article Jalopnik says BMW 228i Is The Best Enthusiast Bimmer You Can Buy appeared first on BMW BLOG

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2016 7 Series (G11) Drops Major Camo

The next generation 2016 7 Series (G11) has dropped some major camouflage, revealing its overall body styling. The major styling components are now revealed – body lines, kidney grille shape and size, headlight and tail light shapes and yes, t...

The next generation 2016 7 Series (G11) has dropped some major camouflage, revealing its overall body styling. The major styling components are now revealed – body lines, kidney grille shape and size, headlight and tail light shapes and yes, the hood cutline has indeed been moved back down to meet with the kidney grilles! As usual, the next 7 Series will be a showcase for future BMW technologies, both in physical construction and its technology. We recently showed you the first look at the production interior, which included the next generation iDrive, including for the first time ever, a touch screen. The new iDrive may even incorporate augmented reality via the HUD. Construction wise, the 7 Series is expected to be the first series vehicle to use Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) in major key areas to reduce weight, and thereby increase efficiency. As the use of this material will be a key selling point for the new model, it makes sense that the exact weight savings will remain guarded information until we are closer to the full reveal.

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World Premiere: BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype

BMW has taken the wraps off its latest plug-in hybrid vehicle, a 3 Series eDrive, which utilizes BMW’s award winning TwinPower Turbo technology and an 8 speed transmission that eschews a torque converter for an electric motor. The new 3 Series ...

BMW has taken the wraps off its latest plug-in hybrid vehicle, a 3 Series eDrive, which utilizes BMW’s award winning TwinPower Turbo technology and an 8 speed transmission that eschews a torque converter for an electric motor. The new 3 Series plug-in hybrid will exhibit the postive traits of the X5 plug-in hybrid, but to a much greater degree. With 245 HP and 295 lb-ft or torque on tap from the combined IC and electric motors, acceleration should be brisk – rivalling six cylinder versions of the car. Even more impressive is the fuel economy – BMW is quoting 2L/100 km, or 140 MPG (Imperial gallons). US EPA MPG might be in the 100 MPG range. The technology that we saw in the X5 eDrive is being enhanced (continually), the new 3 series plug-in hybrid will take advantage of the ‘situational awareness’ that the X5 eDrive has with the addition of new features including Real Time Traffic Information. The 3 Series plug-in hybrid will offer up to 22 miles of all electric operation with all electric speeds up to 120 km/h (about 74 mph). The car utilizes Sport, Comfort, and EcoPro settings for the drivetrain as well as Max Electric and Save Battery settings for the hybrid aspects of the drivetrain. Based on our positive impressions of the X5 eDrive at Miramas in February this year, we expect the 3 Series eDrive to be even better. The new BMW 3 Series eDrive will launch in early 2015. Full Press Release Outstanding flexibility, which means it can be integrated in a wide range of different vehicle concepts, makes rapid deployment of this plug-in hybrid drive technology in the BMW model range a feasible and realistic proposition. The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype provides a first taste of the extra- efficient driving pleasure which the world’s most successful premium sedan will offer. Combining a four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo petrol engine from the new Efficient Dynamics engine family with an electric motor, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype offers standards of sporty performance on a par with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series six-cylinder model, combined with a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Its plug-in hybrid drive system has a combined output of approximately 245 hp and maximum combined torque of approximately 400 Newton metres (295 lb-ft). These figures, together with the substantial extra acceleration provided by the electric motor’s boost function, bring a sharp and intensely dynamic dimension to everyday motoring. Average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are approximately 2 litres/100 km (140 mpg imp) and 50 g/km respectively. In all-electric mode, the prototype is capable of a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph), and has a driving range of approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles). Plug-in hybrid system in the BMW 3 Series Sedan: ideal platform, superior drive components, maximum efficiency. The BMW 3 Series Sedan provides the ideal starting point for developing an exceptionally dynamic and fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid model. The conventional combustion-powered models already set standards in the mid- sized premium segment with their blend of sportiness and frugal fuel consumption. This is down to factors such as intelligent lightweight design, best-in-class aerodynamics and an extensive range of standard-specification BMW EfficientDynamics technologies. The internal combustion engine used in the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype is based on a TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder petrol engine that has already twice been voted “International Engine of the Year”. Its hallmarks are sporty performance, smooth and refined running and exceptional efficiency. The plug-in hybrid prototype also features an electric motor and power electronics which are directly based on the BMW eDrive technology of the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models. The motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery which, together with the battery management system and high-efficiency direct cooling system, are likewise rooted in the experience and know-how amassed during development of the BMW i models. The battery can be recharged at any household power socket and is mounted in a particularly crash-safe position underneath the load compartment. The power electronics form a single integrated system that drives the electric motor, via a liquid-cooled inverter, manages the energy flow from the high- voltage battery to the onboard electrical systems and provides centralised control of hybrid-specific functions. The drive torque from engine and electric motor is supplied to the rear wheels of the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype via an 8-speed Steptronic transmission which – as on conventionally powered BMW models – makes its own additional contribution to the efficiency of the overall drive system. Nowadays, the potential integration of a plug-in hybrid system is taken into account at all stages in the development of new models of the BMW and MINI brands. Amongst other things, this ensures that future hybrid versions offer the same level of practicality as the base models. For example, there is only a minimal reduction in boot space in the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype compared with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series Sedan, while the interior configuration possibilities – e.g. with the folding rear seatback – are unchanged. The simplicity with which the 8-speed Steptronic transmission can be integrated into the plug-in hybrid system is a further benefit of this flexible, forward-looking development strategy. Intelligent energy management with adaptive powertrain control. Like the current production models, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype is fitted with a Driving Experience Control switch, which is mounted on the centre console. This can be used to select different vehicle settings to suit varying requirements and situations. Three different modes are available: COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO mode. Each features different suspension settings, different shift characteristics for the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, and a different hybrid operating strategy. In COMFORT mode, which perfectly balances comfort and efficiency on the one hand with typical BMW dynamic performance on the other, the electric motor’s control strategy is geared to relaxed, fuel-efficient driving. In tandem, the electric motor and internal combustion engine can also deliver high levels of power and performance when required. SPORT mode, meanwhile, is aimed at maximised performance, harnessing the full combined output of the engine and the electric motor. In this mode, engine and motor are both on stream at all times, ensuring instantaneous response to all accelerator commands. Finally, in ECO PRO mode, the accent is on harnessing the full efficiency potential of electrification. Intelligent hybrid functionality allows the electric motor and internal combustion engine to work in tandem to maximise overall system efficiency. Efficient energy management is enhanced by variable control of the electric comfort functions such as air conditioning, seat heating and exterior mirror heating, which always operate at the most appropriate power level. This likewise helps to maximise the vehicle’s range. At the press of a button, the driver can choose between different plug-in hybrid modes. The MAX eDrive mode provides all-electric, zero-local- emission propulsion. Selecting the SAVE Battery mode keeps the battery at a constant state of charge. If the battery is less than 50 percent charged, the charge level is increased. In this way drivers can ensure they have enough power in reserve to operate in all-electric mode on a later, urban section of the journey. The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype also features a special hybrid- adapted Proactive Driving Assistant. Integrated in the navigation system, this system manages the powertrain not only with reference to current battery capacity but also to upcoming route profile, speed restrictions and traffic conditions. This function marks the most extensive and advanced integration to date of BMW EfficientDynamics and BMW ConnectedDrive. Whenever the navigation system is in operation, the hybrid Proactive Driving Assistant collates all the available information about the upcoming route and relays this to the powertrain controller. This information comprises both static data from the interactive map, for example about speed restrictions and gradients, and also real-time information on current traffic conditions (Real Time Traffic Information – RTTI). The proactive energy management system then breaks the route down into its component parts, including low-speed sections, last- lap sections and gradients, before computing a proactive, route-specific strategy for managing the electric drive power right through to the specified destination. The article World Premiere: BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype appeared first on BMW BLOG

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