InsideTrack January 2015

LESS LIMIT. MORE SKY.BMW 2 SERIES CONVERTIBLE. The all-new 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible raises the bar by offering more space, more sophistication and more amenities than its class-leading predecessor. Choose between two TwinPower Turbo engines: a ...

LESS LIMIT. MORE SKY.BMW 2 SERIES CONVERTIBLE. The all-new 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible raises the bar by offering more space, more sophistication and more amenities than its class-leading predecessor. Choose between two TwinPower Turbo engines: a 320-hp inline six in the M235i, or a 240-hp inline four in the 228i. Both come with a standard 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. For enhanced performance and all-weather traction, opt for the 228i xDrive with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. Top-up, a standard through-load feature expands your cargo-carrying capabilities. Or enjoy the open sky by lowering the automatic softtop in just 20 seconds — while driving up to 30 mph. Download the entire newsletter.

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462 Mile BMW i3 REx Road Trip: New Jersey to Vermont

Perhaps the most discussed topic of the BMW i3 is the implementation of the range extender for the North American market. In an effort to have the vehicle qualify for the California Air Resource Board BMW set restrictions on how and when the range ex...

Perhaps the most discussed topic of the BMW i3 is the implementation of the range extender for the North American market. In an effort to have the vehicle qualify for the California Air Resource Board BMW set restrictions on how and when the range extender can turn on, effectively reducing the utility of the REx. These restrictions are most apparent when attempting to use the car for long journeys which include drastic increases in elevation. This topic has been covered here and on every other EV site extensively, and recently it was announced that BMW is working on a software update that will allow, under certain conditions,  the range extender to come on much earlier than the 6.5% threshold it currently uses. I am actually beta testing that software for BMW now, having had it installed on my i3 just last week. The new software also includes some other updates that will be standard on 2015 i3s and will be uploaded to current i3 owners sometime early next year.

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However this post will detail a New Jersey to Vermont road trip that I took a few weeks ago, just before I had the new software update. My in-laws live in Vermont, and I had been wanting to take this trip with the i3 ever since I got it, but I just haven’t had the time. Once I knew I would be getting the new i3 software which would be adjusting how the range extender would work, I knew I needed to make the journey before I had it done, so I could perhaps compare the difference in performance the next time I go.

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The Active Cruise Control is awesome. I don’t think I’ll buy another car that doesn’t have it. I have taken the car on a few 200+ mile round trips, having the ability to charge up before heading home, but this would be much further, about 250 miles there and about 210 miles back home. The trip there would be longer because we were meeting at a restaurant farther into Vermont before heading back to the house. A couple of years ago I installed a Clipper Creek CS-40 at my in-law’s house, knowing that the day would eventually come when I drove an EV there, but I had never used it until now. My previous EVs (MINI-E and ActiveE) would have just been too much of a hassle to try to make this long of a trip, but the range extender is perfect for an occasional trip like this – or at least I hoped it would be.

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Most of the roads in Vermont were covered in ice and snow. My new Blizzak snow tires performed very well and I definitely recommend them for i3 owners who need to drive in the snow. The truth is, I really didn’t know if such a long trip at highway speeds, which would include an overall elevation gain of nearly 1,000 feet would be doable without the car going into the dreaded reduced-power mode, where the vehicle slows down for a while so the REx can replenish the battery a bit. Also, in the final 50 miles of the journey I needed to climb 500 feet before ascending 500 feet and then climb about 700 feet to our destination. My wife and I set out early on a brisk morning with the temperature being only 15 degrees when we left. I didn’t precondition the battery or cabin, and the total weight we were carrying was about 450 lbs between me, my wife and the items we were bringing up to her parents’. I topped off the gas tank the night before and left fully charged. The trip is nearly all highway and my plan was to set the cruise control for varying speeds between 70 mph and 75 mph to see how fast we could go with the REx maintaining the state of charge. I would drive the whole way there in Comfort mode and possibly use Eco Pro for the return trip.

A few blocks from our destination we came across some cows.

A few blocks from our destination we came across some cows. The combination of the very low temperatures, using the heated seats, cabin heat and  driving 75 mph meant the range extender turned on after only 48 miles. That’s the earliest I had ever seen it turn on before. I had barely made it to the New York State border and I was already running on gas. So now I had a little over 200 miles to go and it would be all done on the range extender. I figured I’d need to stop three times so we searched the GPS for gas stations that were directly along the route and at the intervals we needed. I wanted to stop when we had about 10 miles of range left and we were able to pretty much get close to that on all three stops.

I needed to stop three times to fill up on the way there.

I needed to stop three times to fill up on the way there. We made the first stop right about at the 100 mile mark which was about an hour into the journey. My wife laughed at how quickly the tiny gas tank filled up and we came up with the idea that she would time me on future stops to see how long it took to fill up. She would use the stopwatch app on her phone and we would start it when we exited the highway and stop it when we were back on the highway to see just how long the diversion was. We averaged a little over 2 minutes per stop and the best time was one minute, forty eight seconds. All three stops added a total of about seven minutes to the trip – not exactly much of an inconvenience.

The car looked like I was off-roading all day when we arrived. I finally got to test out the EVSE I installed at my in-law's house over two years ago. Thankfully it worked.

The car looked like I was off-roading all day when we arrived. I finally got to test out the EVSE I installed at my in-law’s house over two years ago. Thankfully it worked. For most of the trip I had the Active Cruise Control set to 70 mph, but I also spent some time with it set to 73 mph and 75 mph. As I expected, 70 mph seemed to be the sweet spot for holding the SOC. Even with inclines that lasted for a mile or two the car never went into reduced power mode. When I set it to the higher speeds it could maintain the SOC on flat ground, but the inclines had the SOC bar graph getting dangerously close to completely evaporating so I kept it at 70 whenever I was going up any kind of hill. One thing I can say, the ActiveE Cruise Control really rocks for long drives like this. It holds the speed, slows down when the vehicle ahead reduces its speed and maintains a nice safe distance. I used it for virtually the entire trip and it is definitely worth the cost if you do a lot of highway driving.

We arrived after nearly 255 miles. About 207 of those miles was done using the range extender

We arrived after nearly 255 miles. About 207 of those miles was done using the range extender So, we made it without ever going into reduced power mode. I guess there is no need to do a comparison trip with the new software since this trip went flawlessly. The only thing I can think of doing is possibly trying the same trip with the ACC set to 75 mph the whole way to see if the new higher REx buffer allows me to maintain the faster speed. As it is now though, 70 mph is definitely the magic number for long distance REx driving. If most of the trip is on relatively flat terrain, the SOC buffer is big enough for sudden bursts of speed for passing and to sustain climbs for a few minutes and a couple of miles. Even though it worked out fine for me, I’m happy that BMW is increasing the battery buffer so longer, sustained mountain climbing will be possible without going into reduced power. I haven’t had enough time with the new software to really comment on how well it works yet but I’ll do that soon.

The final stats for the trip

The final stats for the trip The trip home the next day was pretty uneventful. I did precondition this time and drove the first half of the way in Eco Pro mode. It was also about ten degrees warmer. All that combined to allow us to go 15 more miles on battery than we had the day before, giving us a total of 63 miles before the range extender turned on. We arrived home with 462 miles on the trip odometer and an average consumption of 3.4 miles per kWh. I filled up with gas about 1.5 miles from my house so we left and arrived with a full tank. Including the final stop to top off we made seven stops for gas (3 going and 4 returning) and bought a total of 9.87 gallons of gas. We drove 111 miles on battery and 351 miles with the range extender running and averaged 35.5 miles per gallon. That’s a little less than what I usually average for the REx, but this was a continuous 70 mph for the vast majority of both legs of the trip so I expected it to be lower than usual. If we had taken our other family car like we usually do for our Vermont trips, we would have needed 19 or 20 gallons of gas or about double what the i3 needed.

Getting ready to leave for the return trip back to NJ

Getting ready to leave for the return trip back to NJ In conclusion, these kinds of journeys are definitely not what the i3 REx was really developed for. The tiny 650cc motorcycle engine isn’t really engineered to operate for hundreds of miles at a time and I’m sure if it was subjected to this kind of use every week it would certainly have premature mechanical issues. However using it as I do, for the occasional 10 or 20 miles here and there, or the final 3 miles on some days just to make it home plus a road trip every month or two, it’s really a great alternative to spending an additional $20,000 for a battery that’s triple the size of the i3’s. The range extender model is a good stop-gap measure until there is a decent DC fast charge infrastructure in place, which is really the ultimate goal. BMW has some very good news with regards to DC fast charge infrastructure that they will be announcing very soon, perhaps even at NAIAS in January. They are making a significant investment in this area and I believe the EV faithful will be very happy when the news is announced. [Source: bmwi3blogspot] The article 462 Mile BMW i3 REx Road Trip: New Jersey to Vermont appeared first on BMW BLOG

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BMW i8 Safety Car in action in Uruguay

After two appearances in Asia, the drivers and teams of the FIA Formula E Championship were in South America this weekend. The Punta del Este ePrix in Uruguay marked the third round of the trend-setting race series for Formula vehicles with electric ...

After two appearances in Asia, the drivers and teams of the FIA Formula E Championship were in South America this weekend. The Punta del Este ePrix in Uruguay marked the third round of the trend-setting race series for Formula vehicles with electric drive. BMW is the “Official Vehicle Partner” of the innovative championship and was in action once again in Uruguay, ensuring safety on the track with the BMW i8 Safety Car and the BMW i3 Medical Car. Also, BMW DTM driver António Félix da Costa made another appearance for Team Amlin Aguri.

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However, a technical problem forced him to retire before the end of the race. Victory in the eventful Punta del Este ePrix, which saw the BMW i8 Safety Car take to the track a total of four times, went to Sébastien Buemi, ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr. and Lucas di Grassi. The article BMW i8 Safety Car in action in Uruguay appeared first on BMW BLOG

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DRIVE Takes A BMW Z4 Racecar Around The Track

Matt Farrah of DRIVE  takes the BMW Z4 sDrive35iS around the track and shortly after, he got a run in a rather special Z4: the Z4 GTD. Built by Turner Motorsports, this BMW Z4 actually won the GTD racing series earlier year. As you may not know, the...

Matt Farrah of DRIVE  takes the BMW Z4 sDrive35iS around the track and shortly after, he got a run in a rather special Z4: the Z4 GTD. Built by Turner Motorsports, this BMW Z4 actually won the GTD racing series earlier year. As you may not know, the GT Daytona (GTD) is a racing class that combines the Grand-Am GT & GX classes with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from the ALMS GTC class and cars built to FIA GT3 specifications. Racing exclusively BMW models, Turner Motorsport is one of the most recognizable teams in racing series, as private teams are concerned. Turner Motorsport is also one of the largest BMW performance tuning facilities in North America. The company also runs a production car racing team.

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Turner Motorsports is also the second most prolific BMW privateer racing team in the world, second only to Schnitzer Motorsport, who runs factory BMW DTM cars in Europe. So, how does a road legal BMW Z4 compares to a track prepped BMW Z4? Find out in the video below! The article DRIVE Takes A BMW Z4 Racecar Around The Track appeared first on BMW BLOG

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Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4 Photoshoot By QuickWorks Photo

Mineral Gray suits perfectly the elongated and aggressive lines of the BMWM4. It emphasizes the impressive aerodynamic body panels while giving the car a luxurious look. This is without a doubt one of the best colors for the new BMW M3 and M4 family....

Mineral Gray suits perfectly the elongated and aggressive lines of the BMWM4. It emphasizes the impressive aerodynamic body panels while giving the car a luxurious look. This is without a doubt one of the best colors for the new BMW M3 and M4 family. The well balanced exterior design of the BMW M4 benefits from such finishes, as they accentuate the sporty appearance even further. Viewed by many as the best performance car available today in its class, it definitely has the performance to match its looks. Thanks to Patrick Lauder at QuickWorks Photo, we have a chance to view this Mineral Gray M4 in a calm scenery of southern California. The winter sunlight hits the M4 perfectly, allowing Patrick to create some stunning imagery.

Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4

Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4

This M4 arrives lowered with an aftermarket suspension kit, packing a set of ADV.1 Wheels and looking rather mean. These fine textured bronze finished wheels are from the ADV10 M.V2 CS Series wheels. They bring the combination of a monoblock layout with the added configuration possibilities of a three-piece wheel design. They are custom manufactured with each application in mind. They provide the owners with an appealing choice in creating the perfect setup per their requirements. The wheels on this M4 are sized 20×9 in the front and 20×11.5 in the rear, respectively.

Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4

The complete photoshoot of the Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4 seen here can be downloaded below in high-resolution formats. Make sure to pick a desktop wallpaper and enjoy some beautiful scenery.

Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4

Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4

The article Mineral Gray BMW F82 M4 Photoshoot By QuickWorks Photo appeared first on BMW BLOG

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Cars That Need a Fix to Be Truly Fabulous

These cars are good — but they could be even better. ...

These cars are good — but they could be even better.

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Watch the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR Drifting in Slow Motion

Get a closer look at the SVR in action. ...

Get a closer look at the SVR in action.

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Fall Line Motorsport F80 M3 / F82 M4 Performance Parts

Fall Line Motorsports, via IND, introduces their F80 M3 / F82 M4 performance parts program. The items now being built by Fall Line Motorsports will be a part of an ever-expanding parts catalog, which will continue to grow as Fall Line gears up to r...

Fall Line Motorsports, via IND, introduces their F80 M3 / F82 M4 performance parts program. The items now being built by Fall Line Motorsports will be a part of an ever-expanding parts catalog, which will continue to grow as Fall Line gears up to race the F8x M cars at the professional and club levels. Here are the products revealed so far: JRZ RS line of dampersFall Line front mono ball kitFall Line race toe link kit Fall Line Rear Upper control arm bearingsFall Line tow strap

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Photo Comparison: MINI John Cooper Works F56 meets Audi S1 quattro

The new MINI John Cooper Works F56 comes on the market in April 2015 and will compete for the same customers with the Audi S1 quattro. The Audi S1 is powered by a TFSI engine with a single turbocharger that provides up to 20.3 psi of boost. It is rat...

The new MINI John Cooper Works F56 comes on the market in April 2015 and will compete for the same customers with the Audi S1 quattro. The Audi S1 is powered by a TFSI engine with a single turbocharger that provides up to 20.3 psi of boost. It is rated at 231 horsepower (available at 6000 rpm) and 273 lb-ft of torque (from 1600 to 3000 rpm). The power for the new John Cooper Works Hardtop is delivered by a 2.0- liter 4-cylinder engine that was developed based on the latest generation of power units with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. The new JCW also produces 231 horsepower but has less torque, 236 ft-lbs, than the Audi S1.

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In the Sport Auto Supertest at Hockenheimring and on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the new JCW is slower than the grippy Audi S1. The MINI JCW only comes with a front-wheel drive traction while the S1 gets the all-wheel drive. When it comes to price, the two cars are similar. The Audi S1 starts from 29,950 euros while the new MINI John Cooper Works F56 sells for at least 29,900 euros. To see how the two cars fare visually against each other, we’ve put together a photo comparison:

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[Source: Bimmertoday] The article Photo Comparison: MINI John Cooper Works F56 meets Audi S1 quattro appeared first on BMW BLOG

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2016 Nissan Titan Teased Again

Get a glimpse at the new 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V-8. ...

Get a glimpse at the new 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V-8.

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