Car Throttle Looks At Six Fantastic Facelifts: Video
As we get deeper and deeper into auto show season (get ready for Tokyo!), we are often reminded of that age-old industry practice known as the facelift. In order to keep older models feeling fresh and new, automakers will often apply an update wherein certain exterior design features get tweaked ever so slightly, thus creating a somewhat different appearance. These design reworks are usually pretty mild – an extra crease here, a larger intake there, you know, that sort of thing. But sometimes, a facelift works some real magic for a car, giving it just the right sort of aesthetic, the sort of style that makes you stand up and shout “Yes! That’s what it’s supposed to look like!” In the above-featured three-and-a-half-minute video, our friends over at Car Throttle highlight six such instances when a facelift was just done right.
Included in the video is the Ford Mustang, the Nissan GT-R, the BMW E46 3-Series, the Jaguar XF, the Peugeot 306, and the Mazda MX-5 2.5. Throughout, Car Throttle points out what’s different in the new model versus the old model, highlighting why it works along the way. Indeed, the art of the facelift is in subtle effectiveness, with tweaks done that result in a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is the key, boosting what works, and diminishing what doesn’t. We think Car Throttle is on to something here, and as we dive headlong into a fresh batch of revisions and updates for the upcoming model year, it pays well to take note of what a good facelift looks like.
BMW’s Frankfurt "Surprise" Could Be Any One Of These Models
BMW’s positioning itself to have a busy few months ahead with so many debuts on the table. Not that I’m wishing for lighter loads because the cars we’re expecting to see from Bavaria will likely be staples in the brand’s future lineup. Bimmer already confirmed plans to unveil the BMW Roadster Concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in two weeks. Now, the German automaker’s hinting at more “exciting surprises” to come, this time at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Obviously, BMW didn’t say what the surprise is going to be because that’ll defeat the whole purpose of the whole thing be a surprise. But company chairman Harald Krueger did drop this bombshell following statements he made about the company’s plan for a greener future in a recent conference call. So it is possible that this surprise has something to do with a model that will be a big part of that “greener future.” If it is, it narrows down the list of potential models that could star in this surprise, and since we’re always suckers for a little sleuthing work, we’ve pinpointed three models that could be Bimmer’s Frankfurt surprise.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
BMW M3 CS on the Books for 2018
Earlier in 2017, we saw BMW launch a new limited-edition M4. It’s called the CS and slots between the standard M4 and the track-ready GTS. Essentially a GTS without the massive wing, the CS also marked the return of the famous badge that BMW used in the 1960s and 1970s. Not surprisingly, the M4 CS was very popular with BMW enthusiasts, which is why the German brand is also considering a sedan version. Naturally, it will be called the M3 CS.
The beefed-up M3 is not yet official, but the folks over at German outlet Bimmer Today claim that the four-door CS will arrive sometime in 2018. The source also says that the M3 CS will share underpinnings with its M4 counterpart, meaning that it will hit the street with the upgraded twin-turbo, six-cylinder engine rated at 460 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. This output will make the CS the most powerful M3 ever, placing it above the legendary E92-generation M3 GTS, which had 444 horses on tap. What’s more, it should be a tad quicker than the standard M3 with a 0-to-62 sprint of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph.
Continue reading for the full story.
What’s The Best Sporty Luxury Sedan You Can Get For Less Than $50K?
At its most basic, a sport sedan should be a happy balance between two competing philosophies. The “sport” half of the equation should make it engaging, both in the way it drives, and the way it looks. A sport sedan should issue a dose of adrenaline when the hammer is down, and be a willing dance partner in the corners. It’s also gotta draw attention, turning heads as it goes, making its owner pause momentarily after exiting and locking the doors. Then there’s the “sedan” bit. A sport sedan isn’t supposed to be stripped down and basic – practicality and comfort are paramount. Often used as a daily driver, backside coddling should be there in abundance, complementing the car’s speed potential, rather than taking away from it. All told, it’s a big ask, but this segment has plenty of contenders vying for the title of best. In this comparison, we look at six of the top entries and sort them out, from first to last.
Listed in alphabetical order, this comparison will take a look at the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 300, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. We’ve evaluated each in terms of exterior aesthetics, interior comfort and technology, powertrain and drivetrain specs, and chassis and handling. We’ve also included a glut of info in chart and graph form to help you make a quick comparison. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best sporty luxury sedan you can get for less than $50,000.
Continue reading for the full comparison.
2016 BMW 340i M Performance
The annual SEMA show is where all the big names in the automotive aftermarket congregate to show off their latest wares, with plenty of up-and-coming tuners and shops added to the mix to help get the word out. Joining the third party folks is several of the big automakers, which use the event as a springboard to introduce the latest accessories, parts, and concepts. BMW is joining the fun this year, arriving in Vegas to showcase its latest round of extras to carry the M brand badging. Highlights include an M2 Safety Car, an M3, an X5, and this – a sparkling white 340i bearing plenty of the performance division’s embellishments.
SEMA is actually a fantastic venue for a showcase like this. As it turns out, the U.S. is the largest consumer of M Performance Parts, touting 20-percent higher revenue than Germany, the next largest consumer.
In case you were unaware, M Performance Parts help to bridge the gap between more pedestrian trim levels of a model lineup (like the 340i) and the definitively sporty models in Bimmer’s stable (the M3, for example).
This particular example comes draped in an Alpine White paint job, a classic hue for the Bavarian automaker. Complementing the new look is carbon aero and enormous multi-spoke wheels. But the most interesting addition seems to be the M Performance Power & Sound Kit, which adds a few tweaks under the hood for extra (you guessed it) power and sound.
Interested? Read on for more.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 340i M Performance.
BMW to Strengthen its Electrification Portfolio
Earlier this year, BMW announced that it was more interested in developing autonomous technology and would essentially shift its focus away from developing electric cars like the BMW i3 and i8. With the “i” division slated to get less attention, there was obviously some drama within the company as executives had mixed feelings about straying away from the brand’s electrification strategy. We weren’t really aware of the tensions within Bimmer over this situation until we learned of rumors that BMW board members had decided to skip the Paris Auto Show altogether to finally put the issue to rest. Now, Handelsblatt has learned from an unnamed source that there has been some progress made and that some BMW models will see electrification without getting the official “i” treatment.
With the BMW i3 struggling to meet sales expectations, it isn’t really a surprise that some executives are iffy on investing more money into the brand’s electrification strategy. But, according to that unnamed sources, executives have agreed to bring battery power to not only the 3 Series but the BMW X4 crossover as well. Furthermore, Mini will also see some electrification with at least one Mini model absorbing a battery pack and electric motor into its architecture as well.
For now, this is all rumor of course, but word has it that the electric Mini would take some DNA from the Mini Rocketman Concept. There’s no word as to whether or not the electrified 3 Series and X4 would be an all-electric or plug-in hybrid, so it could really go either way. BMW should come to a finalized decision sometime this month at which point the company will make an official announcement.
2017 BMW 330e iPerformance
BMW is adding yet another model to its 3 Series lineup, this time in the form of a plug-in hybrid that will be known as the 330e iPerformance. The car takes a four-cylinder gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology and mates it with eDrive technology derived from models like the BMW i3 and BMW i8 to deliver upward of 250 horsepower and more than 200 pound-feet of torque. As is the case with most plug-in hybrid models, the 330e iPerformance can be driven on battery power alone for a limited distance.
The 3 Series has arguably set the bar for things like performance and fuel economy in the past, so it’s no surprise that BMW looks to raise the bar again with this plug-in hybrid. The entire electric system has been strategically integrated into the 3 Series to ensure optimal weight distribution and energy savings and, as you would expect, the 330e iPerformance can be charged on the go through ChargeNow – BMW’s i mobility service that offers more than 30,000 charging points in 22 countries.
The 330e goes on sale this summer and will be considered the range-topping model price-wise in the U.S. with a starting invoice higher than that of the $43,000 3 Series Gran Turismo. Before get to further into detail on that, let’s take a closer look at the 330e iPerformance and all it offers.
Update 06/24/2016: Bimmer has announced pricing for the 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance sedan. Check out the prices section below for all the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 330e iPerformance.
A Woman Discusses Her Love For the E30 3 Series: Video
Petrolicious has done a number of biography pieces about people and their cars, and the most recent biography tells the story of Delia Wolfe and her 1991 BMW 318S – a car she believes to be the spiritual successor to the BMW 2002. It’s hard to talk about the video without ruining it, so I won’t do that here. Instead, I’ll talk about the E30 for a minute.
It was originally penned by Claus Luthe in 1978 and was produced in a number of body styles between 1982 and 1993. It was a reliable model set that became cheap to obtain and modify and is the definition of reliability brought forth by German engineering. For what it’s worth, that is also proven in this video, as Wolfe reveals that her restored 318S has more than 300,000 miles. I could talk all day about the BMW E30, so instead of putting you through all of that, click play and enjoy the video.
2017 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is the latest variation of the company’s iconic 3 Series sedan and was introduced in 2013, two years after the standard, sixth-generation four-door made its public debut. Developed with customers looking for a smaller, sportier version of the 5 Series GT in mind, the 3 Series GT has a longer wheelbase, taller body, and hatchback-like rear end compared to the standard 3 Series. Engine options are virtually the same, except for the M version, which has yet to be offered on the GT model as of 2016.
After three years on the market, the 3 Series GT has received its first mid-cycle revision. Not surprisingly, changes are in line with the facelifted sedan and wagon version of the compact model. Specifically, styling revisions are rather mild on the outside, while the interior gains only a handful of updates. The most important additions are in the drivetrain department, where BMW introduced three new turbocharged gasoline engines.
The facelifted 3 Series Gran Turismo goes on sale in summer 2016 and will likely stay in showrooms until at least 2018, when the next-generation sedan is rumored to break cover. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the new features available on the current 3 Series GT.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo.
2016 BMW 320d Celebration Edition "Style Edge"
BMW has picked the BMW 320d to create the third installment of its 100th-anniversary celebration. This time around, there will be 200 examples of the 320d and 200 examples of the 320 Touring built with a few exclusive exterior features and special interior appointments. Best of all, the two models will be equipped with BMW’s next-gen B47, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, clean diesel engine and a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The model is set to go on sale on May 28th in Japan and is expected to be sold in a short period of time.
With a Japan launch, obviously those of us in Europe or the U.S. will probably never get to lay eyes on one, but it’s at least worth knowing about. As expected, the 320d Style Edge 3 models get some M Sport love and a little bit of attention from BMW Individual too. Pricing for both models tips in between $50,000 and $55,000, which will be about $10,000 more than their standard-model counterparts.
So, coming in at a $10,000 premium, the Style Edge models must be pretty special, right? Well, let’s take a look at what BMW did with them to make them worth being part of its 100th anniversary.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 320d Celebration Edition "Style Edge"
Carfection Goes Down Memory Lane With The BMW 3 Series: Video
The BMW 3 Series is one of the most regarded BMW models in history. It’s also one of the most enduring cars on the road, a distinction it has earned through an existence that has lasted for 40 years. Today, the 3 Series is in its sixth-generation after having spawned numerous versions and iterations in the past. It’s an incredible achievement for a car that has etched its place in the annals of BMW lore.
Carfection’s Alex Goy recently took the time to talk about the history of the 3 Series. The nostalgic trip down memory lane was probably prompted by the fact that he was test driving the new BMW 320d, but motives notwithstanding, Goy gives a pretty in-depth account on the life of the 3 Series. It’s pretty enlightening, especially if you haven’t seen any of BMW’s own string of episodes documenting the life and times of its most iconic model. I’m not going to dive too deep into the details of this episode because it deserves your full attention. What I will tell you thought is how important the 3 Series has become for BMW.
Sure, it might not have the performance capabilities of its bigger siblings. it doesn’t even have the same amount of refinement as, say, the 5 Series or the 6 Series. But, the 3 Series had one thing that no BMW car could offer. It had a personality that was compatible to its market, especially to people who wanted to buy a BMW without having to spend too much money on it. That’s one of the biggest reasons why the BMW 3 Series is BMW’s best-selling model in history, accounting for — at one point in time — over 30 percent of BMW’s total annual sales, not including motorcycles.
That’s what the 3 Series is all about and that’s why the car, to this day, remains as one of Bavaria’s most popular and most important models.
The current BMW 3 Series may have evolved drastically from its predecessor, but one thing remains true: it still stands as the heart and soul of BMW’s entire model lineup, appealing to arguably the widest range of markets compared to other BMWs. For the longest time, the 3 Series has more than held its own in a market that dictates that a model should have a nice blend of luxury, sportiness, and performance.
Along those lines, AC Schnitzer has built a great reputation in the aftermarket scene, thanks in large part to embracing those same qualities in its tuning programs. No more is that evident than with its latest offering for the 3 Series.
The kit itself includes everything you’d want for your BMW 3 Series. It has cosmetic upgrades, aero components, interior modifications, and most of all, engine enhancements for close to the entire range of 3 Series models. The lack of any bombastic conversions on the exterior may be a sore spot for some, but by and large, this is as comprehensive a kit as there is for the 3 Series.
It certainly comes as no surprise that AC Schnitzer is involved in it.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 3 Series LCI by AC Schnitzer.
The BMW 3 Series is the German brand’s best-selling model with around 30-percent of the company’s sales being derived from it alone if you exclude motorcycles. It’s been in constant production since 1975 and served as a successor to the BMW 02 Series of way back when. Over the years, the 3 Series has gone through a total of six generational shifts with the seventh-generation model being introduced in 2018.
If you know anything about the history of the 3 Series, then you know that it has been offered in a number of different forms. It started life as a two-door sedan as BMW called it (it was really just a coupe) and that held true until the second-generation E30 model made its debut. By 1983, the four-door sedan came to life with the 3 Series convertible following suit in 1985 and the 3 Series Wagon debuting in 1987.
BMW has a funny way of justifying new models, and back in 2013, it decided it would differentiate its sedans from its coupes and convertibles. As such, the 3 Series is no longer offered as a coupe or convertible as those models are reserved for the 4 Series name. In its current form, the 3 Series is sportier than ever, but with this generation being introduced in 2018, the model line is far from complete yet. For now, the only models you can get your hands on are the entry-level 330i and the M340i, both of which can be had with xDrive AWD, and the latter of which borrows some M DNA but is far from a budget M3.
The 330i is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The M340i has a larger, 3.0-liter inline-six that’s good for 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Pricing for the 330i starts out at $40,750 while the M340i commands $54,000. Add $2,000 to the base price of either for xDrive AWD and expect the full-fledged BMW M3 to run somewhere in the area of $63,000 when it launches sometime in early-to-mid 2020.