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2019 BMW i3 - Driven

2019 BMW i3 - Driven

BMW’s first EV still holds its own but not for long

There aren’t too many models out there that can legitimately lay claim to being funkier than the Nissan Juke, but the BMW i3 is one of them. It was introduced in 2013 as BMW’s first step into the electric market with a single purpose in mind – to see if people would actually be interested in an electric BMW. Well, the i3 has served its purpose very well and actually received a lot of attention. Whether that attention was received because of its funky minivan-like hatchback appearance or because it was an electric BMW is up for debate, but after 6 years on the market BMW has no choice but to dig into the electric car segment even more, so you can write the i3 off as a success either way.

That success, however, doesn’t come without a price, and in this case, the BMW i3 is paying the ultimate price – it will eventually die off as BMW focuses on other electric vehicles. With the i3’s time on the Earth limited to the next few years as BMW runs out parts inventory, we decided it would be a great time to test out the i3 before it fades off into oblivion. After all, it’s the last of its kind and, therefore, is probably as good as it will ever get. This is our story of a week well spent with the soon-to-be-extinct BMW i3.

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2020 BMW 1 Series

2020 BMW 1 Series

The little BMW hatchback returns with state-of-the-art tech and new looks

The 2019 BMW 1 Series, also known as the F40, is the third-generation version of BMW’s smallest vehicle yet. Launched in 2019, the F40-generation 1 Series is the first of its kind to feature a front-wheel-drive architecture, as BMW ditched the RWD platform it has been using since 2004. Now underpinned by the UKL2 architecture borrowed from Mini, the 1 Series is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The F40 1 Series replaces a highly dated model in a market that already includes a highly advanced Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the relatively old Audi A3. BMW has yet to announce whether the new 1 Series is coming to the U.S., but chances are we won’t get this generation either. Let’s find out more about the brand-new BMW 1 Series in the review below.

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2020 BMW 1 Series with M Performance Parts

2020 BMW 1 Series with M Performance Parts

M Performance parts available from launch on for the all-new 2020 BMW 1 Series

BMW has not wasted any time showing off the optional M Performance parts it plans to offer for the all-new 2020 1 Series hatchback. The all-new, front- or all-wheel-drive model has just debuted, but BMW has already showed off what it can look all decked out with official sporty bits and there’s certainly an air of boy racer about it. It actually looks like a traditional hot hatch with all of them fitted.

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2019 BMW 118i - driven

2019 BMW 118i - driven

Grab one new while you still can

BMW will soon stop production of the current, second-generation, F20/F21 1-Series, a model that is a truly unique proposition in the compact hatchback segment. What sets it apart from all other similar rivals is the fact that it has a longitudinally mounted engine and most examples are rear-wheel drive (although some xDrive-equipped models were also sold). This engine and drivetrain layout dominates the driving experience, and it turns the current 1-Series into a peerless car in its segment. And, it’s not rear-wheel drive just for the sake of it, because it handles like a true rear-wheel-drive car should, blending a surprisingly playful rear end when you want it to be, with a reassuring, surefooted feel when you want grip.

My 2019 BMW 118i five-door hatchback tester was also quite an interesting proposition because its power plant only has three cylinders and a displacement of 1.5-liters. However, thanks to turbocharging, the three-pot is surprisingly apt at moving the car and, since the engine is small and light, it improves the car’s overall handling characteristics.

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2018 BMW 330i GT xDrive - Driven

2018 BMW 330i GT xDrive - Driven

BMW’s 3-Series Gran Turismo is the other practical variant in the 3-Series lineup for those who don’t want to buy the wagon. It actually has more carrying capacity than the load lugger, and unmatched passenger room, as well as a hatchback design, so you can load big items into the back fairly easily.

It’s really the amount of interior space that impresses in the 3 GT, a car that is nowhere near as popular as it should be because, from my experience with it, there’s actually a lot to like, and it has a bit of a lovable character. Comfort levels are very high, especially if you avoid the harder suspension of the M sport pack (which apparently ruins the ride quality), and opt for the standard setup with adaptive dampers - it is the most comfortable 3-Series you can buy by quite some margin.

Design and styling may not be to everybody’s taste, certainly, but the fact that it has a bit of extra ground clearance over a regular 3-Series and the fact that it’s slightly taller overall, doesn’t negatively affect the way it looks. I think that for a halfway model whose aim is to convince you not to buy an actual crossover or SUV, it looks more than adequate and for some reason better in person than the 6-Series Gran Turismo - its larger and more expensive 5-Series-based brother.

In the 330i xDrive Luxury spec I tested, it was motivated by a turbocharged four-cylinder which is easily powerful enough for lively acceleration and not terrible on fuel. I wouldn’t call it explicitly sporty, but it is miles better to throw around a twisty road than, say, the BMW X3, which just feels tall and cumbersome by comparison.

BMW is probably not going to make a follow-up model for this 3 GT, due to its low appeal in these crossover crazed times. That means a few years down the line it will be even less of a common sight so as time progresses people may start looking for these as a rare, slightly oddball model, but one with excellent daily driver credentials.

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2018 BMW 225xe iPerformance plug-in hybrid - Driven

2018 BMW 225xe iPerformance plug-in hybrid - Driven

BMW raised a few eyebrows when it debuted its front-wheel drive-biased 2-Series Active Tourer model, and people quickly called it “not a BMW,” it was a model which dilutes the brand, and just plain ugly. However, after spending a few days with the top-of-the-range plug-in hybrid version of the 2 AT, the 225xe iPerformance, its many qualities did start to shine through, in spite of my initial hesitation to like it.

And I did like it in the end, even if not for the usual reasons one traditionally appreciates a BMW. I found it very spacious to sit in, with surprisingly comfortable seats, I liked its excellent fit and finish, and even the one-box design started to grow on me.

The driving experience is also pretty good, but again, not very BMW-like. It drives like one of the larger models in the MINI lineup, and that’s no accident because they all use a shared (modular) architecture.

My tester was also made even more likable thanks to its plug-in hybrid powertrain which works very smoothly and seamlessly, allowing it to change its character from silent side street cruiser to a hissing, turbocharged all-wheel-drive people carrier with hot hatch performance.

Photography by Andrei Nedelea

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2019 BMW i3 120Ah

2019 BMW i3 120Ah

The little branded boy is here with a better stamina

BMW introduced the i3 in 2013 and literally invented the premium compact EV segment in the industry. Not to mention, it has been ruling ever since. However, the i3 has been facing some heat lately from other market players like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt. In my opinion, it’s got the best looks and interior, but was lagging behind in its core duty – long travel range. But it seems like BMW has worked on this and has introduced the 2019 model with 120Ah battery pack.

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2018 BMW i8 and i3 Starlight Edition

2018 BMW i8 and i3 Starlight Edition

There’s a matching BMW i3 to go with it

Proving that it can match fancy with the best automakers in the world, BMW has rolled a one-off BMW i8 that’s dressed up in actual 24-karat gold. The unique creation is called the i8 Starlight Edition, and if you happen to have deep pockets, it can be purchased, provided you end up with the winning bid. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. The BMW i8 Starlight Edition — and the i3 Starlight Edition, for that matter — will be up for auction to benefit the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97.

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Golden BMW i3 And i8 Starlight Edition Revealed

Golden BMW i3 And i8 Starlight Edition Revealed

Golden i3 or i8, anyone?

BMW has introduced tons of special versions of its i cars - the i3 and the i8. Now, the BMW Czech Republic division revealed a new stunning pair of special editions- the BMW i3 and the i8 Starlight Edition, two models that show off the exceptional possibilities of BMW’s paint partners at Toplac. As the official partners of the BMW ColorSystem, Toplac employed painter Miroslav Spicak and designer Zoltan Matuska to create the unique BMW i3 and i8 drizzled in gold. Literally.

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2020 BMW i3 M

2020 BMW i3 M

Adding some sport to Bimmer’s electric cube

BMW launched the i3 electric errand-runner in 2014, and recently introduced a new iteration called the i3s at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This latest “s” version is sportier than the standard model, gaining more power and extra handling capabilities, which got us thinking – where would this sort of evolution eventually lead? Would (could?) BMW turn the i3 into a bona-fide sports machine, rather than just an eco model with 15 extra ponies and a lower stance? If so, what would something like that look like? To answer those questions, we gazed into our crystal call, drew up a rendering, and did a little speculation. The end result is this – the BMW i3 M, a true motorsport performance box with specs to back the badge. Try 0-to-60 mph in less than five seconds and tail-happy handling dynamics, all with that i-branded eco friendliness when you’re ready to dial back the aggression.

So yeah, it’s just a rendering for now, but why not? After all, BMW is no stranger to the world of high-speed hybrids – just look at the i8, the success of which most likely prompted further discussion on the topic amongst BMW’s top brass. Add in copious rumors that such a thing is indeed under development, plus the fact that actually producing this thing wouldn’t be terribly difficult for the brand, and we’d say odds are split 50/50 yay to nay. Read on for our speculative take.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW i3 M.

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2018 BMW i3

2018 BMW i3

New tech and a performance-oriented model keeps things fresh

The BMW i3 was introduced in 2013 and was the company’s first zero emissions, mass-produced vehicle. Part of BMW’s then-new sub-brand, BMW i, which also includes the i8 sports car, the i3 was also the first volume production vehicle to feature carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). A five-door hatchback with a 125-kW electric motor, the i3 is available optionally with a range-extending, two-cylinder engine and a small fuel tank. The city car has had great success on the market, ranking third among EVs sold globally from 2014 to 2016. Sales reached 50,000 units in 2016 and surpassed 70,000 examples in 2017, when the i3 became the world’s third best selling electric car. For 2018, BMW rolled out a significant upgrade that adds new styling features and a revised powertrain.

Received with great enthusiasm and praised for its premium appointments — in contrast to many small EVs being rather mundane in this regard — the i3 won several awards in its first year on the market. On the flipside, the German firm received its fair share of criticism for the car’s bumpy ride, high price, and limited practicality. Did BMW fix some of the EV’s issues with this mid-cycle facelift? Join me in the review below to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW i3.

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2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo

2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo

The Replacement for the 5 Series GT is here!

Do you like the idea of combining a sports sedan, an SUV, and a wagon? If so, then you’ll be happy to know that we’re finally getting details of BMW’s latest model: the 6 Series Gran Turismo. Set to go on sale in November of 2017, the 6 Series GT is initially available in three different variants, each of which gets their own engine. Power output ranges from 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet up to 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet. But wait, there’s a ringer here too, as the 6 Series GT will be available at lunch with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel that’s good for 265 horsepower and a staggering 457 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, but all-wheel drive will be available on select trim levels if you’re willing to pony up some extra dough.

But, before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s just put it all on the table and point out that the 5 Series GT, the model this 6 Series replaces, performed horribly on the sales front, serving as one of the brand’s least popular models. So, BMW’s answer was to make it bigger and more luxurious and to pit it against models like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7. So, will a bigger Gran Turismo sell better than the 5 Series GT it replaces, or should BMW give up on trying to make the Gran Turismo a thing? Let’s take a look at what we know so far and talk more about it.

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2014 - 2020 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

2014 - 2020 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

The Active Tourer and Grand Tourer get facelifts for 2018

BMW is updating its 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Grand Tourer for the 2018 model year with some slight changes to the bodywork, some new bits on the interior, and a few modifications to the drivetrain. Beyond that, the two cars carry on unchanged from their 2015-model-year introduction.

Since BMW’s naming scheme is a bit ambiguous, some explanation is needed. The Active Tourer and Grand Tourer are basically the same car. They ride on the same platform and share the same design, interior styling, and powertrain. The difference comes with the number of seats and the wheelbase length. The Active Tourer seats five while the Grand Tourer is 8.2 inches longer, 1.9 inches taller, and has room for seven people thanks to the added third-row seat.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series

This is your last chance to get a RWD 1 Series

Unveiled back in 2011, the second generation of the 1 Series is now part of a growing family of BMW compact models, having been accompanied by the 2 Series Coupe, Cabriolet model and Active Tourer variant back in 2014. Available in either three-door or five-door guises, the smallest BMW model is rivaled by the likes of the Audi A3, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Lexus CT, but unlike any of the aforementioned models it is the only car in its segment to be based on a rear-wheel drive architecture. Its engine lineup consists of a host of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF, while all-wheel drive xDrive traction is available on selected models.

With the model now a little over three years old, the Bavarian carmaker has recently facelifted its five and three-door range, restyling much of its controveral exterior design and refreshing the entire engine lineup. Bringing a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 12 percent, new 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines now constitute the base models, having been borrowed from the latest MINI. The model with the lowest fuel consumption in the entire range will now be the 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, whose 116 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque are paired with a combined fuel economy of just 69.2 mpg. The biggest surprise comes on the outside though, as the new BMW 1 Series Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) shows an completely different look. Gone are the "Angry Birds" headlights, having been replaced by restyled ones that are more in line with the current BMW design theme. Small improvements to the front and rear bumpers have also been made, while the square-ish taillights are now L-shaped, just like on pretty much every other BMW model.

Update 5/9/2017: BMW will update the current 1 Series Hatch one last time before it ushers in a new-gen, FWD model to replace it. Check out our special section below to see the new spy shots and to learn more about it.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 1 Series

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2017 BMW M140i

2017 BMW M140i

BMW’s range-topping hatchback gets a new engine, but no upgrades inside and out

BMW introduced the second-generation BMW 1 Series in 2011, when the redesign also brought a split between the hatchback and the coupe models. While the former continued to use the 1 Series badge, the latter was renamed the 2 Series. The new 1 Series had a fresh design, updated technology, and revised engines. However, unlike the first-gen car, the F20/F21 models didn’t get a proper M variant. Instead, BMW launched the M135i, which was equally powerful despite not being a full-fledged BMW M.

While Munich doesn’t seem very eager to build a new 1M anytime soon, it has just updated its range-topping 1 Series for the 2017 model year. It goes by the name M140i and comes with extra horsepower, optimized fuel consumption, and improved performance. On the flipside, the new badge changes nothing in terms of exterior design and interior features, leaving the performance-oriented hatchback unchanged for the 2017 model year.

The bad news is that BMW still doesn’t want to bring the second-generation 1 Series to the United States, and as a result we won’t find the updated M140i in dealerships. This leaves us with the similarly sized M240i Coupe that BMW launched alongside the hatchback or the absolutely wild M2. Until BMW decides otherwise, let’s have a closer look at its most powerful hatch to date.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M140i.

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