Mercedes X-Class vs BMW Pickup
Mercedes has just released its X-Class concept pickup and the frenzy is growing strong. Markets around the world are set to get this “urban lifestyle pickup,” save for North America. Regardless, the Mercedes pickup will undoubtedly cause huge waves in the segment, likely spawning competition from other luxury automakers, including BMW.
We created a rendering of a BMW pickup a few months before the X-Class Concept’s launch. It was based in pure speculation on what BMW could possibly come up with for its first luxury truck. Unlike the Mercedes, we figured the BMW would utilize a unibody architecture shared with the X5 crossover. Luxury and comfort being first, a rough-riding ladder frame truck wouldn’t be the first choice for engineers, right? Mercedes obviously doesn’t think so, but hey, BMW might want to cater to a different, more refined audience who aren’t towing 7,000 pounds or hauling a metric ton.
Both trucks will definitely be big departures from the Toyota Hiluxs and Ford Rangers of the world, and Mercedes says it’s catering to Gen Xers who have previously never considered buying a pickup. BMW would likely follow that direction, leaving the commercial and agricultural sales to the segment stalwarts.
Despite the two trucks (theoretically) going after the same audience, there will undoubtedly be differences. Let’s explore that theoretical world between the Mercedes X-Class Concept and a BMW pickup that doesn’t yet exist.
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2018 BMW Pickup
News recently surfaced of BMW Australia’s Managing Director, Marc Werner, saying, “never say never” in regards to BMW’s entry into the pickup segment. As we reported, this is far from an official commitment by BMW, but it certainly creates opportunity for the automaker to expand its market reach.
And what’s more, archival Mercedes-Benz is preparing its first-ever pickup while newcomer Tesla has an all-electric pickup on the drawing board. Furthermore, GMC has its Canyon Denali headed for dealers in 2017, so it seems the premium midsize pickup segment is about to explode.
So we at TopSpeed decided to run with the idea of a BMW pickup truck. This rendering shows a midsize pickup based on the X5 platform. Like the Honda Ridgeline, it would use a reinforced unibody chassis designed to handle extra hauling and towing duties, while still maintaining a crossover-like ride. And with it being a BMW, the truck would surely handle well for a pickup. Could this be the “Ultimate Driving (and hauling) Machine?”
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What? BMW Eyeing Premium Pickup Segment?!
No, it’s not April Fools, but news from Down Under is undeniably strange. In talking with BMW Australia’s Managing Director, Marc Werner, at the M3/M4 Competition launch in Queensland, Motoring was told “never say never” in regards to BMW’s entry into the pickup market.
Yep, the M3 pickup joke from 2011 and the X3-based pickup aren’t looking so laughable now.
This all comes after BMW’s Asia, Pacific, and South African chief, Hendrik von Kuenheim told reporters in 2015 BMW would “definitely not” build a pickup. Now a year later, Kuenheim’s subordinate is undercutting his bold statement. “We’re watching the space closely,” said Werner in reference to the premium pickup segment – the same segment Mercedes-Benz is entering with its partnership with Nissan.
So could this mean BMW is actually considering the possibility of building a pickup? Perhaps, but it’s likely the German automaker is simply keeping tabs on the market space. After all, modern BMW isn’t one for letting vehicle segments slip away. A quick glance at its 3, 4, 5, and Gran Coupe Series cements that theory. BMW could, however, jump into the premium pickup segment if it sees Mercedes and Tesla making money.
And like Motoring points out, this wouldn’t be the first promise BMW has ever broken. The automaker has trailed away from its “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra to one that includes FWD cars.
Logistically, BMW could leverage its relationship with Toyota when it comes time to build a pickup. Imagine a Toyota Hilux bathed in BMW luxury. Now there’s something truck buyers would gobble up.
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2017 BMW M7
Rumors of BMW planning to build an M7 have been floating around for quite a few years, but Munich has yet to offer a high-performance version of its range-topping limousine as of 2016. The Germans did launch the M760Li xDrive model for the 2017 model year with 600 horsepower, but the sedan isn’t a full-fledged M car. That may change in the future though, as BMW has announced plans to expand its range for M-branded models in March 2016. And with what appears to be a mule of an M7 already spotted on public roads, and BMW’s competitor for the Mercedes-AMG S63/S65 could be here as soon as 2017.
The big question here is “why now?” Well, BMW has been feeling the heat from the Mercedes S63 for some time now, but it was able to fend that off with its partner in crime, Alpina, and its B7. Now, with Cadillac causing all sorts of hell with its V-Series lineup and the looming CT6-V, BMW has no choice but to remove the sandbags from the 7 Series and create the first high-performance full-size since the limited-edition 745i SA, an actual M7 without the badges, built for the South African market between 1984 and 1987.
While Munich has yet to specifically confirm the upcoming M7, our paparazzi caught a group of M-badged cars out testing that included a 7 Series equipped with bigger, cross-drilled brakes. While the sedan sports the regular 7 Series body kit, the performance brakes and the fact that it was seen alongside two BMW X6Ms and an M5 suggests that BMW is indeed hard at work to bring us the first-ever M7.
With the debut of the M7 all but a certainty, we decided to dive into the rumor mill and fish out some details that will give you a good idea of what the M7 will bring to the table.
Updated 03/21/2016: Our spy photographers caught the first mule of the upcoming BMW M7 out for a testing session somewhere in Sweden.
Continue reading our speculative preview of the 2017 BMW M7 to learn more.
There is some sort of racing for just about everything that has a motor. And while there might be a limited number of governing bodies for riding lawnmower racing, car racing has a dizzying number of organizations, each with its own set of rules. And that means that even though BMW has already built a version of the M6 to conform to the FIA’s GT3 regulations, a new car will have to be built in order to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This is a fairly new Championship, with its inaugural season having just happened in 2014. The Championship is actually just the result of the merging of the American Le Man Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series.
Since the series has its roots in the American Le Mans Series, the “LM” that you see in the name of the car stands for “Le Mans,” and the whole GTLM class is really just a copy of ACO’s GTE class for Le Mans and Le Mans series racing. The M6 GTLM is based heavily on the M6 GT3, but it is not as similar as the old Z4 GT3 was to the Z4 GTLM.
Updated 01/282016: BMW Team RLL today revealed two commemorative 100th anniversary liveries for the new M6 GTLM race cars. The new livery pays tribute to the iconic BMW 3.0 CSL which claimed the first victory at Daytona.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 BMW M6 GTLM.
BMW just introduced the 2016 BMW X1 this week, and while the next-gen crossover will surely bring a bump in sales, it hardly does anything to draw in enthusiasts that have always flocked to the German brand. Because we’re betting that it’s coming, we conjured up a rendering of a sportier version of BMW’s new baby crossover, the BMW X1 M. At this point, there aren’t any solid rumors suggesting that an X1 M could become a reality, but with vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG and Audi RS Q3 out there, such a model would definitely make sense in the BMW lineup.
With that being said, this is all just pure speculation using common design cues associated with the BMW M brand. If (and that’s a big if) BMW is planning on building the X1 M, it probably wouldn’t enter into production until late 2016 at the soonest, considering that M models usually show up about a year after the standard model and the X1 goes on sale this fall. For now, though, at least we have something to dream about.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW X1 M.
It appears the idea of BMW building a drop-top version of its popular i8 has been completely nixed. The word comes straight from a BMW representative when questioned by the Europe-based website, InAutoNews.
“There are no plans to produce the BMW i8 Spyder,” says the BMW rep.
Such a definitive and short answer is hard to question, but we still do. Perhaps BMW is saving a spyder version for the rumored i9, the hyped-up version of the i8 rumored to have a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter I-6 pulled from the M4. With such a potent gasoline powerplant combined with the electric motors from the i8, the i9 could potentially be BMW’s hottest performer.
Still, if BMW does launch the i9, we can expect it to arrive in coupe form first and then followed by a spyder version later. In short, don’t hold your breath.
The BMW representative then spoke on possible iterations of the BMW 7 Series, after future prodding from InAutoNews. Rumors suggest BMW would follow Mercedes’ lead in offering multiple versions of its luxurious 7 Series. The BMW rep again answered, “…there are no plans to produce any derivatives of the 7 Series outside of standard and long-wheelbase.” Kiss a 7 Series coupe and convertible goodbye.
While reports confirm BMW is building a larger flagship SUV slotted above the X5, dubbed the X7, rumors had suggested the 7 Series would be the base for the X7. Again the BMW rep shot the theory to the ground. “The BMW X7 will be produced in the future, but that is a different proposition and is not based on the 7 Series.” Well then.
Regardless of its platform, the X7 will be a direct competitor to the Mercedes GL-Class and the new Range Rover. Expect the X7 to hit European showrooms by 2017 or 2018.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8.
While the redesigned BMW 2 Series and the performance-oriented M235i are freely roaming the streets as we speak, the range-topping M2 is still a long way from showing itself in production guise. Sure, we’ve seen the beefed-up coupe in several spy photos during the first half of 2014, but the two vehicles spotted on inner city streets and on the Nürburgring track were merely test mules wearing various M235i body parts.
Scheduled to break cover in 2015, it seems the M2 is finally starting to take shape, as our paparazzi have caught the coupe during a new test session on the ’Green Hell.’ It’s not the first time the M2 takes on the ’Ring’s twisty course, but this time around, the BMW looks closer to what we’ll be seeing in dealerships for the 2016 model year. The differences between the first mules and the new prototype are massive, especially in the bumper area, meaning this is our best look yet at the upcoming M2.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW M2.
BMW’s M5 is rumored to get a healthy boost in power while the rest of the 5-Series lineup gets some additional features both inside and out. That’s according to the German website Autobild, which reports the changes will come with the next generation of BMW’s full-size sedans.
Leading the headlines is a rumored 626-horsepower M5 that will feature all-wheel-drive. Not much is know on how BMW plans on producing that power, but it’s a possibility the automaker will still use the same twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8. Currently that engine produces 560 horsepower, so adding an extra 66 horsepower shouldn’t be an impossible task.
The next-gen 5 Series lineup is said to also roughly 100 pounds lighter, thanks to extensive use of aluminum in place of steel. Despite the added lightness, the Bimmer will feature more premium interior materials. The iDrive controller will be revised to use smaller turn/push knob and its voice recognition software will be easier to use. The car’s automated driving features are also set for an extensive update, making fully automated driving a closer reality.
A plug-in hybrid is also set for release. Its 109-horsepower electric motor will work in conjunction with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, itself producing 240 horsepower. The hybrid is also rumored to have inductive charging abilities.
The remainder of the BMW 5 Series lineup will get power updates as well. The top version of the 3.0-liter I-6 will produce 354 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque; the diesel will produce 324 horsepower with a respectable 486 pound-feet of torque; and the M550xd will kick out 402 horses and 553 pound-feet of torque.
We can expect the new 5 Series to hit German roads for the 2016 model year.
Click past the jump to read about the current BMW M5
The news about Toyota and BMW building cars together isn’t new, as the two companies finalized the partnership in January of 2013, but thanks to the Nikkei Asian Review, we’ve got some rumors as to what the two companies have been working on. Those plans revolve around the next-generation BMW Z4 and a revival of the famed Toyota Supra.
The Nikkei reports the two cars will share the same platform, manufacturing processes, and parts procurements. The two sports cars, however, won’t be sharing the same body style and will be sold under their respective brands. What’s more, these two cars could debut as early as 2017.
The report speculates whether Toyota would be able to adopt the same carbon-fiber-extensive construction style BMW has recently adopted, citing cost as the limiting factor. However, with the falling cost of carbon fiber and its exploding popularity, the material might be within Toyota’s reach. This is especially true for such a specialized sports car as the Supra.
The Nikkei report lacks further juicy details about the partnership or its planed products, but news seems rather certain. The 2017 date is still tentative, but the possibility still remains.
As far as powertrains, it’s anybody’s guess as to what will be found under hood. Perhaps BMW will provide a TwinPower, inline six-cylinder or maybe each automaker will supply its own powerplants. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, with BMW and Toyota partnered together, the future looks bright with the addition of two exciting sports cars.
Click past the jump to read more about the future Supra and the current Z4
The news surrounding the BMW i8 is relentless these days with information flowing in left and right. But sadly, the latest bit of news doesn’t hold much promise for those looking forward to a sportier version of the i8 or a replacement for the M1 coming from the i8 platform.
Our German friends over at Autovisie sat down with Carsten Pries, BMW’s head of Product Management M, for a recent interview. His issue lies with creating competition for its own i8 by flooding the already-small segment with low sales volumes. Not to mention the need to develop more powerful hybrid technology and a larger engine sized properly for an i8-like car. What’s more, the i8 was developed from the ground up to be an electric hybrid with only a small gasoline engine.
The lack of an outright M model based on the i8 doesn’t completely spell disaster. Friedrich Nitschke, the CEO of BMW M, says the fuel-saving technology from the i8 might wind up in future M models while the sportier aspects of the M Division might find its way onto future i models.
While these words came from BMW corporate heads, Pries and Nitschke may be bluffing about the existence of a high-performance hybrid supercar. Only time will tell, so stay tuned to TopSpeed for any breaking information.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8.
Once BMW confirmed that the coupe and convertible versions of the 1 Series would be marketed as the 2 Series, it was clear as daylight that a high performance M2 version is underway.
We’ve already rendered the successor to the cool 1M and strolled through plenty of details about the upcoming coupe, but the time has come to have a look at the real deal, as our skilled paparazzi have caught a prototype version of the M2 stretching its wheels somewhere in Germany.
Far from being a production-ready vehicle, this mule wears front and rear fascias similar to those seen on the M235i Coupe, but it appears to be fitted with wider fenders. Other details that highlight the vehicle’s ankle-biting nature are the M-style wheels wrapped in Michelin tires and the cross-drilled rotors paired with blue brake calipers.
As development continues, we’re expecting to see a more aggressive front bumper, a more pronounced rear diffuser, and quad exhaust pipes.
Naturally, the M2 will be the most powerful model in the 2-Series range, with its twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six to deliver around 400 horsepower. That’s about 80 horses more than the M235i, just enough to turn the M2 into a heck of a coupe.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW M2 Coupe.