• Latest Release/ Reviews

    The Continental: BMW Doubts Modernism, Benz Sending Non-Corleone Vito to U.S., AMG on a Roll

    Each week, CarandDrivers German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

    2015 BMW 435i Gran Coupe

    BMW’s F30 3-series architecture is one of the industry’s most fertile, with the latest body variation, the 4-series Gran Coupe, coming to market in just two years. (The F30 platform sits beneath the 3-series sedan, Gran Turismo, and wagon, and a version also underpins the 4-series coupe and convertible.) The four-door Gran Coupe is quite a bit more expensive than a 3-series sedan and not as practical as the 3-series Gran Turismo, but it is probably the most beautiful variation of the platform next to the 4-series coupe. The hatchback shape with its short, stubby deck reminds me of the premium hatches of the 1980s, such as the Merkur Scorpio and the Saab 9000.

    While it might seem like BMW is chasing every conceivable niche, and even inventing new ones (X6, anyone?), it unfortunately won’t be chasing the small, high-performance four-door-coupe genre. An M4 Gran Coupe isn’t in the cards, BMW sources tell me, because that particular niche is just too small. There will be the M3 sedan, the M4 coupe, and the M4 cabriolet—and that’s it.


     

    BMW 4-series Modern Line

    In other BMW news, the automaker might drop the “Modern Line” equipment level from its portfolio soon. Sold in Europe as an alternative to the base model, as well as the somewhat conservative “Luxury Line” and sporty “Sport Line,” the “Modern” trim aims to create a wellness-type environment with soft, monochromatic colors schemes and unusual (modern!) materials. (A 4-series cockpit thus equipped is pictured above.) I am told that most customers dislike the look, especially the light-colored steering wheel and the three-dimensional “Fineline Pure” wood trim. Personally, I disagree with them, and I applaud BMW’s courage to try out new color and trim designs. If I were in the market for a new 3-series, mine would be a manual-transmission 335i with the “Modern Line” package.

    The new Mercedes-Benz V-class

    The V-class. Its sister model, the Vito, will come to the U.S.

    Vito for America, No Qoros for Europe—Yet

    It is not clear yet whether Mercedes-Benz will bring its new V-class family van to the U.S. market. The passenger van would fill a niche long ago inhabited by the Volkswagen Eurovan. But I got confirmation from the company that the V-class’s commercial-van sister model, the Vito, will be sent stateside. It’ll be powered by Benz’s ubiquitous 2.1-liter, OM651 turbodiesel, and even though the Vito hasn’t been unveiled yet, it likely won’t look much different from the V-class.

    Qoros 3 hatchback

    We had thought that the Qoros 3 hatchback was designed mainly for Europe.

    The Chinese auto revolution in Europe will be delayed. Qoros, the offspring of a joint venture by Chery and an Israeli corporation, was supposed to be launched in key European markets by 2015. Now the brand’s vice chairman Volker Steinwascher, a former VW executive, says that it is “not clear when we will come to Europe,” adding, “Europe is not attractive right now.” Steinwascher was speaking at the CAR Symposium in Bochum, which is organized by Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer and is regarded as one of the big events on the automotive calendar in Germany.

    Opel Astra OPC Extreme

    This will be the fastest street-legal Astra ever.

    Some Geneva Auto Show News

    News about the upcoming Geneva auto show’s big debuts is beginning to trickle in. Here’s a photo of the upcoming Opel Astra OPC Extreme (written in all caps by Opel). According to Opel, this OPC will be the fastest street-legal Astra ever, and a low-volume production run is promised, as well. There are few details, but this racy picture is more than enough to whet our appetite. So . . . how about that Buick version?

    An electric luxury car from Liechtenstein

     

    Meanwhile, Liechtenstein-based nanoFLOWCELL AG has announced a concept car called the Quant for Geneva. It is running and driving prototype of a fully electric, S-class–sized four-door sedan, and will be used to help evaluate energy flow and charging and regeneration strategies in electric cars. I, for one, am mostly curious about the styling—just look at that teaser shot above. Also, this is the first car to come out of Liechtenstein in a very long time; anyone remember the Jehle Saphier? We’ll wait while you Google that one.

    Audi Sport Quattro concept

     

    At this year’s CES show in Las Vegas, Audi unveiled a prototype laser headlight system on the hot Sport Quattro concept car. So is laser light the next big thing after halogen, HID, and full LED headlights? In a word, no. Engineers tell me that laser light won’t be able to emit the wide carpet of light needed for low-beam applications. But it will be an excellent addition to today’s LEDs and HIDs, as it provides an extremely powerful high-beam functionality. And it sounds cool to say your car has “laser light,” doesn’t it?

    AMG Driving Academy, Winter Sporting Basic, A 45 AMG, 2013

     

    Congrats, AMG

    AMG has just celebrated its most successful year ever, having sold 32,200 AMG-badged cars globally. The compact and relatively affordable A45 AMG and CLA45 AMG models undoubtedly will further boost this figure, and the brutish G63 AMG SUV continues to sell in record numbers. Congratulations are in order to AMG chief Tobias Moers, and to his predecessors Volker Mornhinweg and Ola Källenius, who helped to put the current program on track to success.

     

    Still buddies? Dieter Zetsche and Andreas Renschler.

    Meanwhile, corporate Daimler drama is unfolding around the sudden departure of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle chief Andreas Renschler. The executive is rumored to be headed to the Volkswagen Group, where he could take charge of that outfit’s commercial vehicle group once former Scania chief Leif Östling retires. However, Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche reportedly has said that Renschler won’t be working for a competitor “in the foreseeable future.” Let’s see how this one will unfold . . .



    The Doberhuahua, left, and Mercedes-Benz’s CLA on the right.

    One final remark on this year’s Super Bowl commercials, which my colleagues have covered ad nauseam: Is it just me, or did Audi model its mildly terrifying Doberhuahua creature after the Mercedes-Benz CLA-class?

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  • Latest Release/ Reviews

    Look at Me! 2014 BMW 4-series Convertible Driven (REVIEW)

    Americans care about precisely one thing in a convertible, and at the risk of blaspheming our national anthem, we will transcribe it thusly: O say can you see me? We are an extroverted people, our convertibles meant to be driven with the top down such that everyone can see how much we’re enjoying the sun and fun. Germans, on the other hand, have this peculiar notion that when you quite literally peel back the roof of a coupe there are further considerations beyond the afternoon weather forecast. For them, structural stiffness, interior noise, and all-season utility count as well, so it’s not surprising then that the new BMW 4-series convertible gets good marks in all three categories. READ MORE ››

    Look at Me! 2014 BMW 4-series Convertible Driven
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  • Latest Release

    2015 BMW M3 And M4 Video Preview (VIDEO)

    2015 BMW M3 And M4 Video Preview (VIDEO)

    2015 BMW M3 And M4 Video Preview (VIDEO)
    BMW’s new 2015 M3 and M4 have been some of the most talked about cars for the past several years, and now they’ve finally landed, having made their respective debuts this week at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. For those still in the dark, the M4 is essentially the replacement for the outgoing M3 Coupe. It’s picked up a 4 in its moniker as it’s based on the latest 4-Series model. The M3, meanwhile, is now available exclusively as a sedan.

    2015 BMW M3 And M4 Video Preview (VIDEO)

    Apart from one being a coupe and the other a sedan, the two cars are much the same. Both will come with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine delivering 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. That’s only a slight increase in power over the outgoing M3’s 414-horsepower naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter V-8, but it is a significant leap in torque considering the old V-8 was delivering only around 295 pound-feet.

    The gains are apparent when you look at the quoted acceleration figures. With either the standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed M-DCT dual-clutch, you’re looking at 0-60 mph times of 4.0 seconds or less for either the M3 or M4. And BMW is typically quite conservative with its acceleration figures. Top speed of either car has been electronically limited to 155 mph.

    2015 BMW M3 And M4 Video Preview (VIDEO)

    Performance in the cars is also improved significantly by weight savings. BMW says on comparably equipped models, the M3/M4 save about 176 pounds over the previous-generation M3 sedan and M3 Coupe. Most of the savings come from the use of lightweight materials for certain components, including aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

    Both cars hit showrooms later this year, as 2015 models. We’ll be driving them closer to the sales launch, at which point we’ll be able to bring you our impressions as well as the all-important pricing information.
    For more from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, head straight to our dedicated hub.

    via: Motor Authority

    See more from High Gear Media:

    – Cadillac Explains Why It Dropped The Laurel Wreaths From Its Logo
    – 2015 Ford F-150 Video Preview: 2014 Detroit Auto Show
    – Five Big Myths About Green Cars And Gas Mileage, Debunked
    – Which Is Greener: Flying Or Driving To Your Destination?
    – 2015 Ford Mustang Video: 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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  • Super Cars

    BMW 4 Series M – Performance Line Revealed (PHOTOS)

    Like the new BMW 4 Series but want a bit more flare, individuality and speed? Carhoots has good news!

    What’s this angry thing?

    It’s the new BMW 4 Series…

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    The what!?

    FOUR Series. Remember? It’s the replacement for the 3 Series Coupe. Apparently it’s confusing having the 6 Series as a standalone model when your other coupe-shaped car shares its name with a sedan. Plus, Audi use different numbers for their coupe models, so you also have permission to blame them for this… But we won’t get bogged down in that issue. Anyway, so from now on all of BMW’s coupes and convertibles will wear evenly numbered badges.

    What about that 6 Series sedan gran thing?

    BMW call that a four-door coupe… Yeah, us neither. Anyway, we’ve moved quite a long way off topic thanks to your inquisitive questions. The car you see here is no ordinary BMW 4 Series. The standard one, even with the M-Sport pack, looks less aggressive than a squirrel, but with these special M-Performance styling bits we think you’ll agree that it looks properly angry. Which is good.

    The cosmetic upgrades include racy 20in wheels, carbon front splitter, black grille, side gills, skirts, door mirrors and rear spoiler as well as that black decal along the side. The rear bumper is also new and makes the 4 Series look all hunkered down and nice.

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    You can keep the skunk-like black stripe. That interior isn’t standard, is it?

    No, it isn’t. We’re guessing that someone at BMW has a mild obsession with carbon fiber and alcantara, because the stuff is everywhere – no bad thing, y’know. The dash features a swathe of alcantara with an un-subtle M-Performance badge to remind passengers that they’re in something a bit special. The gear selector is wrapped in carbon fiber and surrounded by more of the lightweight stuff. If you’re really into raciness then you could even have a sports footrest, honestly.

    BMW’s standard M-Sport steering wheel is wrapped in gripy alcantara and features a nice slither of carbon fiber down its center spoke and around the central hub. It also has lights in it… We’ll let you decide whether that’s cool or not, but just remember that you can have all of this kit on a 2.0liter diesel powered 4 Series.

    2014-BMW-4-series-M-Performance-line-photos

     

    Please tell me that they’ve at least increased the power…

    Good news! They have increased the power. Prepare to be bombarded by some numbers. The 420d’s power rises from 181hp/280lb ft to 195hp and 309lb ft, the 428i gets its power bumped from 242hp/258lb ft to 269hp and 287lb ft, finally, the range topping 435i gains 34hp and 37lb ft now producing 336hp and 332lb ft. BMW reckon they’ve achieved these useful power gains by fiddling with their engines’ software and adding in a sports exhaust but aren’t telling what effect the power gains have had on the cars’ straight line performance.
    Naturally, the Bavarian Boffins have also added in a limited slip differential along with sports suspension plus bigger brakes to help control those extra raging horses and give the 4 Series a more dynamic focus.
    The car you see here is the fully optioned M-Performance model, but as has always been the case with the special M-performance bits you can pick and choose what you do and don’t want. So you could just take the power upgrades, or, if you’re a style over substance sort of chap you can order the cosmetic trinkets alone.

    BMW 4 Series Coupe with M Performance Accessories

     

    It sort of looks like a BMW… M4?

     

    Funny you should mention that…

     

    By Aiden Taylor (@AidenT_RD)

     

     

     

     

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  • News

    BMW 4 Series Revealed (PHOTOS)

    BMW 4 Series Revealed

    BMW 4 Series Revealed

    Another day, another new BMW model and we have  images, videos, specs, and pricing details for the highly anticipated BMW 4 Series Coupe.

    This car says BMW, heralds the dawn of a new coupe era at BMW. Because it is of course called the 4 Series, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as nicely as say, something logical, revered and iconic like 3 Series, what was wrong with ‘3 Series Coupe’? Well, apparently some people who may be slightly erm, un-intelligent got confused because the 6 Series isn’t called the ‘5 Series Coupe’. Apparently these people were literally brought to stuttering, dribbling piles of jelly after trying to fathom BMW’s model lineup. Anyhow, the 4 Series is here, and it looks rather tasty. 

    BMW 4 Series Revealed

    Its face is similar to that of the 3 Series sedan and features the same connected headlight design, except here it’s more excitable with its smiling air dam. It’s a happy car that apparently, is “keen to display its family ties with the BMW 3 Series”. It might share styling cues (and a basic chassis, more on that later) with the 3 Series but it is in fact entirely unique, except for maybe the wing mirrors and the door handles, and the shark fin radio antenna and the entire interior. OK, so it shares a few basic components with its 3 Series cousin.

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    But in its side profile, the 4 Series looks more like a 6 Series than a 3 Series with its long bonnet (or hood, you American), rear set passenger compartment, powerful character line and long, flowing roofline. The 4 Series also receives an ‘Air Breather’ behind the each of the front wheels, which apparently improves airflow in the wheel arches to aid efficiency. But really, it just looks damn cool, especially when it’s painted black in the Sport-line and M Sport trim levels.

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    Around the back it’s pretty typical BMW, the taillights are very similar to those fitted to the 3 Series, but the 4 Series looks slightly more dynamically focused and hunkered down. The plumpish rear bumper and wheel arches combined with a 10mm lower ride height give the 4 Series quite an aggressive aesthetic – we like. It almost has an old school muscle car look to it with that stubby boot lid and long bonnet.

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    The interior is virtually identical to that of the 3 Series sedan, which is quite a good thing, because the driving position and feel of that interior is superb.

    BMW 4 Series Interior

    There are four trim lines to select from which alter the exterior and interior appearance of the car. Starting with Modern-line, which makes everything very beige inside. Then Luxury-line which makes everything brown inside. Sport-line gives black interior trim with flashes of whatever exterior color you choose splashed across the dashboard plus some satin black flourishes outside and larger wheels. Finally there’s the M-Sport trim level which comes with the usual aggressive front and rear bumpers, sportier seats and steering wheel, stiffer springs and dampers, plus M Sport wheels and brakes.

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    The 4 Series is based on the 3 Series’ wonderful rear drive chassis with a perfect 50:50 weight distribution. However, the front and rear tracks have been widened slightly to compensate for the 4 Series extra 14mm of overall width. The lowered ride height has also allowed the 4 Series’ center of gravity to dip below 500mm from the deck, giving it the lowest center of gravity of any current BMW product. Imagine explaining that to a girl on the first date, you’d be right in there. Extra bracing up front and bespoke spring and damper rates at each corner give the 4 Series a touch of extra precision and agility compared to the 3 Series, apparently. The 4 Series also weighs up to 45kg – about one American toddler – less than the outgoing 3 Series coupe which it replaces. It all sounds (and looks) jolly good. Here BMW, have a biscuit.

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    Engine options are more predictable than the Fast and Furious 6 plot with BMW offering three engines initially. Prepare to be bombarded by some numbers. The base model 420d musters up 184hp and 280lb ft of torque from its 2.0liter diesel engine and takes 7.5 seconds to reach 62mph, but will also deliver a mind-blowing 60mpg if you drive it like a pensioner. The 428i is powered by a 245hp 258lb ft 2.0liter petrol turbo four-cylinder engine and hits 62mph in a very respectable 5.9 seconds, whilst delivering 42mpg. The ‘elite athlete’ of the group is the 435i which is powered by BMWs wonderful 3.0liter turbo six producing 306hp and 295lb ft of torque, enough to send the slinky coupe to 62mph in 5.4 seconds in rear wheel drive format. OR 4.9 seconds when equipped with BMWs xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The 435i will very nearly do 35mpg as well, unless you’re making it sing to 7000rpm in every gear, then it er, won’t.

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    All engines are hooked up to a six-speed manual or an optional and brilliant eight-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

    Shortly after launch BMW will add approximately one billion (five) extra models to the 4 Series lineup, which is probably far too many if we’re honest. Remember how people got confused over the 3 Series Coupe? Those same people are going to faint when they realize how many choices they have to make when ordering a 4 Series! Anyway, the additional models are the 184hp 420i, the 430d with 258hp and many, many torques (413lb ft), and the monumentally powerful, xDrive only 435d with 313hp and 465lb ft of torque. The 435d says BMW, will “set the pace in the world of sporty diesel engines” – nice. A 420d xDrive and 428i xDrive will also be offered eventually.

    There’s a vast amount of equipment on offer which can do everything from find the nearest lavatory, to using computer wizardry to drive the car in traffic jams or help you avoid them totally. You can also have a useful heads up display, some systems which stop you from crashing into oblivious pedestrians and cars in your blind spot, plus variable sports steering and adaptive dampers.

    The 4 Series will hit showrooms looking quite spiffy during October priced from £31,575 in 420d guise.

    Now, see it in action…

               

    What do you think Carhooters? Like the look of the new 4 Series? Leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter by tweeting @CarhootsApp

    By Aiden Taylor (@AidenT_RD)

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