BMW’s already-extensive range of M performance models could expand to include the X3 and X4 crossovers once the upcoming 2016 M2 compact arrives at dealerships. That’s the word from BMW M chief, Frank van Meel, who confirmed the brand’s intentions of developing more high-performance crossovers at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show.
The former boss of Audi’s RS division declined to go into specifics, but he acknowledged that "there might be a business opportunity with the X3/X4." The small crossovers would enable the company to continue the success story that began with the X5 M and X6 M, he added according to Autocar. On the other hand, van Meel rejected the idea of an M3 Touring or M7 sedan: "There are more opportunities than at present, but not on every BMW as it makes no sense."
Speaking of other future products, van Meel confirmed that all-wheel drive would eventually be offered on upcoming M cars, likely starting with the next-generation M5 sedan and M6 coupe. However, he said the cars would still be rear-biased, with AWD technology used mostly to increase traction. “The philosophy will remain rear-wheel drive, even if there is all-wheel drive," he noted.
Van Meel also revealed that the M division is investigating the possibility of electrification for its future range, as well as the introduction of electric turbochargers as a way of improving throttle response. A front-wheel-drive M car on the new UKL1 platform, an M version of either the i3 or the i8, and four-cylinder engines for M cars were among the things van Meel dismissed.
Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s future M models.
Despite not being officially badged as an M5, the BMW M535i is considered by many — including the Bavarian carmaker itself — as the spiritual predecessor to the mighty M sedan. In many ways, it was the first German factory sports sedan in its segment, starting a legacy that culminated with the first generation of the BMW M5 in 1984. No less than 35 years later, BMW saw fit to bring back some memories of the M535i via a somewhat monotonous press video with the model.
Based on the first-generation BMW 5 Series, the model was essentially an ordinary 535i — the top of the range model at the time — that had been tuned in-house by then Motorsport Technik, or BMW’s motorsport division. Its naturally-aspirated, 3.5-liter, inline-six engine was good for 218 horsepower and 224 pound-feet of torque, which may not sound impressive nowadays but it was something entirely different over three decades ago. Unlike the previous 3.0 CSL and the M1, the M535i wasn’t a purpose-built sports car from the ground up, which makes it have an even more special aura about it from some points of view, not to mention the fact that it was the first ever M sedan.
With a rather understated exterior and using the large frame of the 5 Series, the M535i was regarded by many back then as a sleeper, or a Q-car, a vehicle which looks comfortable but certainly not fast. This probably made for some pretty interesting meetings at the stop lights, even though only 1,650 units of the model were ever built, making it a bit of a rara avis even among the few performance sedans of the 1980s.
As we all bear witness to the current shift away from gasoline engines, we end up with some truly blockbuster matchups. No longer is it just carbs vs. fuel injection, rear-wheel drive vs. front-wheel drive, displacement vs. boost, or manuals vs. automatics. Now we have rivalries that pit internal combustion in its entirety against and the very future of automotive power. Cue the explosions and thunder storm. We don’t even have to use cars from different manufacturers. Case in point: the M4 vs. the i8.
Despite drastically different approaches to performance, the stats on these machines are actually nearly parallel: both take a little less than 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, both weigh about 3,450 pounds, and both can attain a top speed of 155 mph.
Yes, the power and torque figures are completely skewed, and the drive layouts are thoroughly dissimilar, but that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s the old school against the new school, analog against digital. The petroleum will run out eventually, but today is not that day. Who will win this battle?
Autocar set out to find the answer using a race track and two capable drivers. The result is what you’d expect in some ways, but a complete surprise in others. As the future wrestles away the present from the past, we expect many more battles like this to come.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8 and M4.
Despite being named in theory after non-vehicular technology, the 2015 edition of the Computer Electronics Show (CES) was pretty packed with high-tech means of transportation, with just about many major car manufacturers jumping on the occasion of unveiling a bespoke concept car for the event in Las Vegas. The common theme among most vehicles presented was "connectivity" and/or "autonomous driving, " and for some reason it seems that German carmakers set their sights on stealing most of the accolades.
Each and every concept car presented at CES 2015 tried in the most elaborate ways to provide consumers with a peek at the world of transportation in the near future and beyond, with some of the gizmos and features sported by a couple of cars even wearing the "production ready" tag. By far the biggest surprises came from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with each of them presenting their own interpretation of the so-called "car of the future."
The luxury trio of premium carmakers wasn’t the only one to infuse CES 2015 with cars that sport extra connectivity features or self-driving options, which is why we decided to put together a short list featuring the most important cars and automotive technologies presented at the show in Las Vegas. Some are simply rehashed variants of existing vehicles, while others are futuristic thingamajigs that we will only see on the roads in the third decade or so of the new millennium. Either way, prepare for a concentrated dose of innovative means of transportation and automotive technology.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 CES.
With the 2015 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in full swing, quite a hefty amount of car manufacturers decided that it would be a good idea to offer some eye candy to all the techno geeks at the event, and BMW’s lineup at the show will be spearheaded by the so-called "M4 Concept Iconic Lights." Based on a "regular" 2015 M4, BMW’s concept car for CES is quite literally a shining example of what the Bavarian carmaker can do in terms of automotive lighting technology.
The car comes equipped with the latest version of BMW’s Laserlight technology, which now is combined with the Selective Beam function that ,in theory, is just a fancy way of saying that oncoming drivers will not get blinded by your lasers anymore. Apart from also looking a little swankier, Laserlight can now work together with the sat-nav system in order to illuminate upcoming corners while the so-called Dynamic Light Spot feature can provide the driver with an early warning of people or animals passing in front of the vehicle at night.
The headlights of the M4 Concept Iconic Lights aren’t the only new feature on the CES-revealed car, as the rear light clusters also feature some eye-candy in the form of OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) for both the taillights and the turn signals. As some of you know, BMW and Audi have been engaged in a rather silly war regarding both laser headlights and now also OLED taillights, so it would be interesting to see how this creamy-white M4 Concept will be received by all the Audi fans present at the show.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M4 Concept Iconic Lights.
With a model lineup that is constantly increasing, it is actually not that hard to find two seemingly-different BMW models that have very similar performance. Out of the many combinations available, the Germans from AutoBild decided to choose the BMW M4 and the i8 plug-in hybrid and let them decide which one is faster in a straight line. Their approach can be many things except for scientific, especially since the actual distance of the race is not shown, but it is all in good fun.
In left corner we have a 2015 BMW M4 of the slower variety, since it is equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, three-liter, inline-six with 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, the M3 Coupe replacement should hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds if the conditions are perfect. In the right corner we have an entirely different animal in the form of a 2015 BMW i8. Powered by a turbocharged, 1.5-liter inline-three that is paired with an electric motor, making for a total of 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the i8 should go from naught to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds according to official specifications.
So, on paper we have two very different yet very much alike BMW models, making for a somewhat clear motive out of AutoBild’s choice in the matter. In the real world though, shifting gears in a manual BMW M4 is not an exact science, nor is trying to keep up with an i8 that has all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with launch control. In other words, even if the official numbers were somewhat in the M4’s favor, it would need perfect conditions and a very good driver to get the best out of the model.
One of the most common aftermarket modifications performed on four-wheeled vehicles, whether it’s a car, truck, or SUV, is an upgraded exhaust. A manufacturer offering new pipes might talk about reduced backpressure or a fatter torque curve or improved efficiency, but really, the whole reason anyone gets a new exhaust is for the sound. A barking, rumbling, popping engine note makes just about any machine feel sportier, even if the data to support such a claim comes exclusively from the butt-o-meter.
So it comes as no surprise that BMW would pump exhaust noise through the stereo of its 2015 M4 sport coupe. Giving the driver that little extra tingle of exhilaration when he or she puts their foot down shouldn’t come with a void on the warranty and extra attention from the police, right?
There are a lot of folks out there, however, who disagree with the feature. On the one hand, it is a bit like cheating. Some see it as disingenuous, a cheap parlor trick to make people think the car is more aggressive than it really is.
Matt Farah doesn’t think so. He took this please-arrest-me orange M4 out to California’s Highway 33 for some full-throttle blasts and a brief deconstruction of the concept of synthesized engine noise. The verdict? Farah thinks the M4 is plenty loud, but the cabin is so well refined and insulated, that the extra stereo noise is actually necessary.
Of course, we think it’s a mute point (couldn’t resist). Anyone who really wants some no-BS exhaust sound is welcome to run open headers. That should give you a real taste of the straight-six under the hood of this high-price Bavarian import. In fact, we’d love to see that. Don’t forget to film it.
Click past the jump to read about the 2015 BMW M4 Coupe.
None of us still believe that Santa Claus actually exists, but on the off chance that he does, BMW is setting him up with a holiday ride to get his Christmas deliveries done as quickly as possible. With apologies to Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer, Santa looks pretty good behind the wheel of a 2015 BMW M4, doesn’t he?
Granted, the new BMW sports coupe isn’t going to help him shoot down chimneys or climb back up them, but with the M4, he won’t have to anymore. All he has to do is park on the street, climb inside a presumably open window, and then walk out of the front door.
Then he can go back to the M4, bring the car’s 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine to life, pump the pedal to feel the throaty roar of the engine’s 425 horsepower and 408 pound-feet of torque under the hood, and proceed to his next destination.
Sure, Rudolph and company can fly, but whatever; Santa Claus’ cool factor will be multiplied exponentially if he starts driving the M4. Maybe he’ll leave that M4 at the TopSpeed offices before heading back to the North Pole...
Pretty please, Saint Nick?
The BMW M6 entered its 3rd generation in 2012 when it debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. Compared to the previous model, it featured more aggressive styling in the front and rear, and the non-convertible variants had the weight-saving benefit of having a carbon fiber roof. For 2016, the M6 went through its mid-cycle update bringing it more in line with the other M models. It was still powered by the S63, 4.4-liter V-8 from the BMW M5 that delivers 560 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque, but it was offered with new exterior colors and new interior leather shades. Furthermore, the M6 received LED headlights, Park Distance Control, and iPhone-look. With 560 ponies on tap and the 60-mph sprint taking just 4.1 seconds (4.3 seconds if you prefer to go topless,) the M6 isn’t a bad way to spend $113,000 to $120,000.
Thanks to weight saving features like the carbon fiber roof, the M6 was actually about 44 pounds lighter than its M5 sibling. However, despite being lighter than the M5, the M6 Coupe was actually 309 heavier than its predecessor and the convertible was 110 pounds heavier than the previous-generation M6 convertible. The M6 was available with a decent list of options, but the most impressive is the Competition Package. It increases engine output by 40 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque to 600 and 516, respectively. With the competition package, the Coupe and Gran Coupe can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the convertible doing the same in four seconds. With the Competition Package, Bimmer also removes the 155-mph limiter, allowing the car to top out at 189.51 mph. Not bad.
Now that you know the main details, let’s take a closer look at the M6 and everything it brings to the table for 2016.
Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW M6.
The 2015 BMW M4 saw lots of love at SEMA this year, and for good reason. The German special has all the right roots to make it quite the tuner car for those daring to mess with something so good out of the box, like a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-six motor putting out a healthy 425 horsepower through a six-speed manual gearbox (don’t forget the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for those afraid of more than two pedals). Then there’s the suspension, which is geared with obvious intention toward track usage over previous models, with “play-free” ball joints and elastomeric bearings, a CFRP strut-tower brace, and a rear axle that’s bolted directly to the rear subframe. The result is a car that simply begs for apexes.
LA-based body kit designer Vorsteiner, which produces aftermarket aero pieces and wheels for high-end imports such as Porsche, Ferrari, and Bentley, is celebrating 10 years of business, and as a gift to itself and anyone who enjoys full carbon-composite, wide-body Bimmers, it created the M4 that lays before you. With a focus on mixing an organic look with functional performance, the design process started earlier in the year, culminating with a debut in Vegas in October 2014.
After finalizing the overall design, Vorsteiner 3D scanned the stock coupe, then overlaid the renderings to produce quick CNC prototypes to aid in development. The result, as you can clearly see, is pretty amazing. The lines pay homage to BMW’s touring car racing heritage, but keeps things within the realm of street usage. Oh, and did I mention that it’s full carbon composite?
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M4 Special Edition GTRS4 By Vorsteiner.
What do you do if you live in Sweden, you got two high-powered sports cars, and you’re bored? Why, take them to an empty airstrip and race them, of course! Here we find a head-to-head drag battle from a roll between an F10 BMW M5 and a Ferrari FF. It’s the clash of the German sedan and Italian three-door shooting-brake, but the results might not be what you expect.
Here’s what the specs tell us: while the all-wheel-drive Ferrari would almost certainly get a jump into the lead from a dig, this is a rolling start, which evens up any traction issues. Plus, both cars use double-clutch, seven-speed gearboxes, which further eliminates any driver skill discrepancies. That means it’s foot down and let the engines wind out, making this particular race purely a numbers game, with power-to-weight being the most important figure involved.
So then, we have the Bimmer weighing in at 4,288 pounds with 560 horsepower, while the Ferrari is 4,145 pounds with 660 horsepower. For the sake of simplicity, let’s put torque rating to one side for now. Rounding up, we’re left with a figure of .13 for the M5 and .16 for the Ferrari.
So the Ferrari should win, right? Not exactly.
Putting numbers on a page is one thing, but the real world is no X/Y spreadsheet, as is evident by the way the M5 walks the FF in this video. There are all kinds of forces conspiring against Maranello here. For one, the all-wheel-drive system creates quite a bit of parasitic loss at higher speeds, compared to the more efficient rear-drive BMW. Then there’s the higher drag coefficient presented by the Ferrari, which further stunts its top-end performance. Finally, the YouTube poster states that a total of three people were in the FF, while there were only two in the BMW, which knocks that power-to-weight down a peg or two.
If this race were rerun from a standstill, we’d expect the results to be totally different. As it is, the BMW only got the FF by about a car length. But, as a certain protein powder enthusiast once said, it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Hear, hear.
Click past the link to read more about this match-up.
Well, here’s an unexpected match-up. And wouldn’t you know it, behind the camera is our favorite YouTube supercar lifestyle journalist, the eternally affable Shmee150.
This time, he’s bringing us the goods from The New Coalinga Municipal Airport in Coalinga, California, for a half-mile, side-by-side drag race to find top trap speeds and the limits of acceleration. It’s called Airstrip Attack Seven, and it’s brought to you by racing organizer Shift-S3ctor. Amateurs and pros alike come out for the event, which makes for some very interesting racing down the airplane-free landing strip.
Testament to this statement, we find an Italian supercar lining up with a high-powered German SUV. Both come bearing heavy sporting intent, but the philosophies behind each couldn’t be more different. The 458 uses low weight, high revs, and a slippery profile to achieve its speed, while the Bimmer is all about brute, unstoppable force to shove its way down the track. Further complicating matters, both vehicles have been modified, with the Ferrari packing a reported 630 horsepower, and the BMW bringing 650 horsepower to the party.
There are no timing lights, no staging, just hands up, hands down, and go. The video shows the race from two different angles, which is a good way to analyze how both these machines handle this test of straight-line speed.
For those readers who enjoy a little sport, place your bets in the comments prior to hitting play.
Click past the jump to read more about this match-up.