It’s been over a year since we last saw the longer version of the 2-Series Active Tourer, the practical, family carrying BMW that you never knew you wanted. If the regular five-seater was hard for you to swallow, then the same front-wheel-driven car but with a more prominent rear end will not sit too well with you, even if it looks really planted and stable around the treacherous corners of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Caught on video by Touriclips, the 2-Series Active Tourer seven-seater is still hidden away under layers of camouflage. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any different to the five-seater styling-wise, though the sheer amount of camo it sports might hint at that – it’s just as heavy as on the car we scooped last year.
There is a slight chance BMW will reveal it this year at the Paris motor show, though they’d better make sure Ford is not also revealing its production-spec S-Max, which will be seriously more attractive than it and rival it for driving dynamics too; the Vignale variant of that will run it close for luxury too.
One of the typical M model treats missing from the first BMW M2 Coupe prototype we spied a couple of weeks ago, were the quad exhaust pipes positioned on the corners of the rear diffuser. Not any more, as this newest M2 Coupe tester finished in white gains the signature M four-tip exhausts, signaling that development is moving to the next phase.
If done right, the M2 Coupe could prove to be a game changer for BMW, giving petrol-heads a modern-day successor to the much-loved M3 E30 of the mid-1980s, early 1990s. The fact that the current M235i has generally received glowing reviews, only adds to this notion.
More than half of the body of this prototype that was spied together with the new M3 was wrapped in a swirly camo, but that doesn’t hide the blistered front and rear wheel fenders borrowed from the new M235i Racing. We can also see the huge brake discs behind the M3/M4style alloy wheels shod in low profile rubber.
We’ve said it before that the M2 would be a good fit for a hi-po turbocharged four, but given the existence of the 320hp M235i and the availability of the M3 and M4′s 425hp (431PS) 3.0-liter turbocharged six, BMW will probably go for a force-fed inline six-cylinder, which should split the power difference between the two aforementioned models at around 370-380 horses. Whether BMW would achieve this by dumbing down the M3′s 3.0-liter unit or reducing its displacement to 2.7 liters, for example, remains unknown at this time.
The BMW Z4 is already a design statement; with its classic roadster proportions, two-seater layout and retractable electric hard-top it has become a favourite even in the rain-soaked UK. Now the Pure Fusion Design package takes it to a new level and turns the Z4 into a style icon.
Premium Nappa leather in Ivory White with contrasting brown stitching remains exclusive to the Z4. It highlights the perforated surface of the contoured side supports in the seat backs, as well as the armrests, door panels and passenger pull handle. The window sills, the dashboard cover and the instrument binnacle,meanwhile, are all clothed in soft-touch black leather with high-quality brown seams.
A Nappa leather horizontal trim line in Saddle brown with high-contrast stitching stretches from the passenger side and Fineline wood coats the trim on the centre console and below the central air vent. Sun visors covered in black Nappa leather round off the premium interior.
Rounding off the look is the optional Sparkling Brown metallic paint, although you can specify the whole range of colours and you can order Pure Fusion Design in combination with the M Sport package for the full visual effect.
The BMW Z4 has already won a prestigious Red Dot Design Award and American magazine Automobile’s Design of the Year Award. When the second generation was launched in 2009, featuring the folding hard-top for the first time, it was greeted with universal praise and dramatic headlines like: “The Land Shark Has Landed.”
Its distinctive looks and a nod to the US muscle cars of years gone by with that long, sloped bonnet have made it a favourite on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, with the Pure Fusion Package, it is ready to take another bow.
The Mini Clubman
The new three-door Mini blew everyone away when it first arrived. The slightly hefty price tag was justified by its effortless style, performance, ingenuity and its outright commitment to modernity.
As time has gone on, the three door version has continued to improve and develop whilst Mini have tried their hand at creating versions of the Mini that appeal to different audiences.
Unfortunately, this particular version doesn’t quite hit the right notes for the UK market; most notably down to the inclusion of a quick release door on the right-hand side. This would be great if it was on the left but unfortunately if you try to use it in England, in all likelihood you will be opening it into the road side. So much for increased practicality then.
The car doesn’t quite manage to maintain the exciting and engaging ride that the original version provides. It’s ever so slightly unwieldy in comparison due to the increased size of the vehicle and that doesn’t even seem to provide a happy trade off, because somehow it still manages to feel a touch cramped in the back.
The result is that you essentially have a vehicle that is ever-so-slightly less fun to drive than the 3 door version and without the genuine justification of increased practicality.
Fortunately, there isn’t much compromise in performance and the car still goes well. The handling is still tidy and the aesthetics of the car are very nice.
As with all Minis; the dashboard seems a bit disorganised and possibly even a touch haphazard. Things don’t quite seem to be in the most logical places and that makes for a slightly disconnected experience when sitting in the driver’s seat.
It is expensive for what it is and because it doesn’t quite hit the right notes in the key areas it should really be delivering in, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed at times when you are driving it.
However, as you would expect, the overriding feeling is that you still have a vehicle with Mini quality written all over it. It is a classy car that still generally drives well and if you can see past the limitations associated with the slightly disingenuous move into more practical territory, it is worth a look. We still recommend the 3 door version though.
Is the BMW i8 already sold out?
According to a recent Reuters report from the LA auto Show, BMW’s global sales chief, Ian Robertson was quoted as stating that the Bavarian automakers had already sold out their entire annual production run of the new BMW i8 model – an unsurprising response, perhaps, for an innovative electric supercar under the helm of the manufacturing giants that are BMW. The i8 is certainly gorgeous both in function and appearance, with its modern yet familiar bodywork and impressive speeds for a hybrid, but can the i8 really and truly have sold out?
The answer – much to the joy of hybrid and supercar enthusiasts alike – is no. As it turns out, Robertson’s claims were a little ill considered and merely refer to BMW’s sales projections for the i8 as opposed to actual sales. The i8 is one of many models of supercar that is paving the way for a far greener generation of sports cars and supercars and BMW will need to do everything in their power to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for high-performing eco cars. The automakers are set to build up to 1,900 i8 coupé models in 2014 and over 5,000 in 2015 and these are all sure to sell as quickly as the first lot.
While we can’t be sure of exact sales figures, the makers had apparently already received in excess of 10,000 orders before it had even made its way onto the market! So while the new i8 model is certainly in demand, it isn’t entirely unavailable – yet.
Hyundai announce new luxury car to rival BMW
Hyundai has unveiled its latest model, the Genesis sedan, which is an obvious entry into the luxury car market and a car that’s set to give BMW a run for their money. Hyundai first entered the American car market in 1986 and historically, the company has made its name manufacturing cheaper cars, so the new Genesis is quite a turnaround.
The Hyundai Genesis will be released in the US in early 2014. It’s set to be the first luxury Hyundai sedan to be sold in Europe, and Hyundai is evidently hoping that the car will boost sales and lead more American buyers towards their vehicles after a disappointing 2013 in the US market, which has already seen Hyundai’s share drop 0.2% from 2012.
For a company who have previously been associated with affordability, reliability, and practicality, Hyundai are making a bold move trying to compete with the likes of Audi and BMW. It’s going to take an impressive model to convince buyers that Hyundai can produce luxury cars alongside these brands; the Genesis needs to be a powerful, fast, sleek car in order to stand a chance.
There is no doubt that the Hyundai Genesis will represent a significant step up in quality and innovation from Hyundai’s past portfolio, though it is too early yet to say whether this car can give the South Korean company the boost it needs to remain competitive with western brands in the US market.
Big Motoring World, the UK’s leading used BMW specialist, has opened a brand-new service centre in Snodland to pioneer a new age in affordable car servicing and customer experience. The state-of-the-art service and MOT test centre will bring down the cost of prestige car servicing by around sixty percent when compared to a main dealer, but without losing any of the quality.
The prestige car dealership’s all-new workshop will be open round-the-clock to offer motorists 24/7 car servicing and MOTs to boost customer experience and rival any car servicing around the UK. The ultra-modern garage, located in Snodland, will feature eleven ramps to increase performance and productivity; as well as offering drastically slashed prices that will match any main dealer’s level of service and be far more cost-effective.
Peter Waddell, Managing Director of Big Motoring World, believes that the stand-alone service centre highlights their “commitment to listening to what customers want and implementing it”.
“I’m pleased with the steady growth of the group, and most importantly, the vital feedbacks we’re receiving from our customers; that which is propelling the progressive changes within the Big Motoring World Group,” he continued.
Aaron Parks, General Manager of Big Motoring World, admitted the team “can’t wait to get the service up and running”, saying: “We are always looking for ways to make motoring cheaper and more professional for local motorists and those coming from further a field. That’s why we worked around-the-clock to finish our new service centre; not only to improve every customer’s experience, but slash the cost of having a car serviced or get an MOT.”
Going wide seems to be the way forward at BMW at the moment as it battles to maintain its fragile lead at the high end of the vehicle industry. Lots of its models are having facelifts and upgrades and the X3 is no exception. BMW’s X3 is a practical but sporty, luxury model with an all-wheel drive system and great handling both in the city and out. The changes being made to it are cosmetic and possibly technology-driven, with marked differences in the headlights. The new X3s are expected to be made public early next year.
Given the popularity of the model, it’s likely that the 2015 BMW X3 will not been tinkered about with too much. However, there are a few novelties. As well as a few changes made to the bumpers and a new square tip to the exhaust pipe, the main differences will be in the headlights. Currently, the X3 has tilted trapezoidal headlights but a brand new set of lights will be installed to the updated model and they’ll be wide. The internal mechanics of the lights are also likely to be altered, possibly to incorporate BMW’s new LED technology. The shape and size of the new headlights will be very similar to those of the X5. They’ll be wider and connected to the grille. Wide headlights and rear lights are very distinctive to the BMW brand, as are the horizontal lines they often incorporate.
The X3′s engine was updated last year, which means further changes to it are not expected. However, some have speculated that the designers may draw inspiration from MINI’s new TwinPower engine system. Inside the car, you might find that an overhauled navigation system with better menu options and more voice activation. BMW has been expanding it’s ConnectedDrive technology, so that’s quite likely.
There was a need to update the X3 given the new X4 is due out next year. The X3 shares the same platform. Something had to be done! We know that some of the new X3 prototypes have already been tested in Germany but we’ll have to wait for it to go into production in mid 2014 before it goes on sale.
German cars. They have an undeniable reputation as some of the best cars available. But what makes German cars so very superior to their ‘normal’ automobile counterparts?
Well, it turns out there are a myriad of reasons why German cars have gained such a popular reputation. When Karl Benz patented the first automobile internal combustion engine in 1879, nobody could have predicted that Germany would well and truly be put on the map as car manufacturer leaders – a coveted spot they still maintain to this day.
Maybe the rich heritage associated with German car manufacture goes some way to explain the success of such car brands as Porsche, BMW and Mercedes Benz. Perhaps it’s been influenced by 8000 miles of German autobahn without speed limits! It could also be argued that Germany simply needed to produce cars of superior quality to match their endless roads – and propensity for fast driving!
Think about BMW. Their ethos is based on quality not quantity. BMW use the latest in technological advances to create cars that truly stand the test of time – the ‘ultimate driving machines’. This commitment to technology is reflected within the German culture – they bestow academic accolades upon senior staff working within the automobile industry and take real pride in their commitment to technology and engineering. We, as consumers, respond to this by snapping up German cars time and again – and these smooth, well run German vehicles never fail to impress.
As well as being closely associated with quality, style and endurance,German cars are often designed to appeal to those consumers who have big egos – and big bank balances. Porsche, BMW and Mercedes Benz are all classy cars – and can come with an equally classy price tag. Yet this doesn’t deter consumers – in fact, it encourages many people to part with their hard earned cash in a bid to become members of this ‘exclusive’ automobile club. In the words of Mercedes Benz – it’s ‘the best or nothing’ and who can argue with that?
For a start, the BMW 4 series is a beautiful car to look at. It is obvious that BMW have pulled out all the stops to ensure that their latest addition to the fleet is a real head turner.
It’s also clear that the German car giants have taken a lot of time and care to ensure that the flagship 4 series provides a truly remarkable driving experience.
You get the usual responsive ride you would expect from a BMW, regardless of the size of engine you opt for. As it turns out, the 3.0 litre V6 petrol engine is a standout performer. The 435i is fiercer, with an enviable 0-60 speed of 5.4 seconds, but there isn’t much of a difference between it and the slightly lesser model. The 2 litre diesel engine doesn’t quite have the same kick as the others, but still delivers an engaging, exciting ride.
Also, it seems that BMW have made it their mission to ensure that the obvious ties to the 3 series have been severed. The only part of the car that isn’t a brand new design for the 4 series is the bonnet. You definitely feel like you are part of something new when you finally sit in the driver’s seat.
There is a loud, reassuring, guttural churn to accompany your drive at low speeds and at the high end there is an unconstrained concerto of sound. The sound of this car perfectly matches its performance.
The 4 series handles surprisingly well. It’s lower than the 3 series and also has a slightly wider wheelbase which means you have more of a sense of control when cornering.
Overall, the BMW 4 series provides an excellent drive and fully justifies its price tag regardless of which engine you opt for. If you are looking for a sportier alternative to the 3 series then look no further.