Tag Archives: BMW M3

BMW M Makes Splash with Four New Diesel Models

26 Jan

BMW M550d Sedan: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

It wasn’t long ago when there was only a handful of BMW M cars to choose from. BMW’s Motorsport division has sold the legendary M3 and M5 for over 25 years, with others along the way such as the M6, M Coupe and M Roadster. However, recently BMW’s high-performance brand has expanded and multiplied, completely changing their “M” (marketing) strategy, with the unveiling of the X5M and X6M SUV’s and 1M Coupe.

BMW M has also made a dramatic change in the types of engines used within the last 3 years, and this is reflected in the four new diesel vehicle. Gone are the days of Motorsport’s naturally-aspirated engines. With the introduction of the X5 and X6M BMW moved away from the traditionally higher-revving, but less fuel efficient naturally aspirated engines in favor of forced injection, known internally as TwinPower Turbo technology. TwinPower effectively combines the air entering the turbocharger in a way that gives you twice the power equivalent of conventional turbocharging.

BMW M550d Touring: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

Enter “BMW M Performance” models. The M550d xDrive Sedan, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d diesels will spearhead this new model lineup. These vehicles are based on the current model lines, but as the name implies have been developed and improved by BMW M division. Changes to the engines, transmission, suspension and chassis result in increased performance, improved handling, practical everyday usability and excellent fuel economy.

Powering the M Performance lineup will be a new inline, six-cylinder diesel engine. Along with a 3.0-liter displacement the engine is aided by three, yes…three turbochargers. This, when paired with a diesel’s ability to produce massive amounts of torque result in 381 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque. Power is transferred to the wheels via an eight-speed sports automatic transmission with enhanced gearshift dynamics. Zero to 62 MPH performance figures vary from 5.4 seconds for the X5 M50d, to only 4.7 seconds in the M550d Sedan.

BMW X5 M50d: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

On the more economical side the new tri-turbo inline six achieves between 30.5 MPG in the X6 M50d and 37.3 MPG in the M550d xDrive. These numbers are possible due to an auto stop/start function and an ECO PRO mode.

Esthetic adornments on the exterior include exterior mirrors and air intake bars painted in Ferric Grey paintwork and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes. Nineteen-inch M alloy wheels come on both the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan, Touring and X5 M50d. The X6 M50d gets 20-inch M alloy wheels and exclusive 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Ferric Grey available as an option for all models.

BMW X6 M50d: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

Unique interior styling feature gearshift lever with M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles and BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite. Two trim choices are available, Brushed Aluminium Shadow in the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d or Aluminium Hexagon in the BMW M550d xDrive. The M sport seats are finished in Nappa leather and Alcantara with contrast stitching and embossed M logo.

The four new diesel M vehicles are scheduled to go on sale in Europe beginning this summer, but whether or not these are destined for U.S. shores is yet to be determined.

New 3.0-liter Inline Six-Cylinder Diesel Engine with Three Turbochargers: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

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An icon in motorsports, the BMW 3-series.

15 Sep

By Matt McCarron

BMW M3 GT2 Art Car Design By Jeff Koons: Courtesy BMW Group

In the world of motorsports specific names instinctively come to mind. Manufacturers such as Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have developed a reputation on their ability to transfer on-track victories into the successful marketing and sales of production cars. As the saying goes “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”

Few vehicles in automotive history have done this more effectively than the BMW 3-series. Since the first 3-series rolled off the assembly line on May 2, 1975 its race and road-going cars have been inextricably linked. BMW Motorsport GmbH, which was established in 1972 began racing the new 3-series as soon as they were able to produce a track-ready vehicle. By 1978, just three years after the car’s initial launch, the 3-series had already cemented itself as a perennial title contender in a number of races and championships.

The close relationship between road and track versions of the 3-series would again make its presence known in 1985 with the introduction of what would become one of the most successful touring cars in history, the BMW M3. Again, it didn’t take long this special motorsport-derived version of the 3-series to make its way to the racetrack. In 1987 the E30 M3 began racing in touring car championships throughout Europe. The E30 M3 would go on to claim a total of 1,436 victories throughout the world, including the two titles in the no-holds-barred Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), two European Touring Car Championships (1987, 1988) and the World Touring Car Championship in 1987.

1987 Zakspeed BMW E30 M3: Courtesy BMW Group

Besides winning overall manufacturers and drivers titles the BMW 3-series has also become a staple in long distance endurance races such as the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Multiple generations and variations of the 3-series, from the 320i and 325i to the M3 GTR V8 and M3 GT2 have claimed the crown at the ‘ring and other prestigious racetracks around the world.

More than 35 years have passed since the 3-series was first unveiled to the world. Although the manufacturers and drivers have changed the philosophy for BMW’s most popular model line has not wavered. BMW continues to enter the 3-series in a number of racing series in both the United States and abroad. As in years past, 2012 will mark a new chapter in the history of the renowned 3-series. Following years of absence BMW will return to the German Touring Car Championship with the all-new BMW M3 DTM.  In addition the 3-series will continue to be raced by BMW factory teams and private operations in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Road Racing Series.

BMW M3 DTM Concept Car: Courtesy BMW Group

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Lightweight BMW M3 CRT unveiled

27 Jun

By Matt McCarron

Limited Production BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology): Courtesy BMW Group

Power to weight ratio in everything in racing. Less weight allows a vehicle to accelerate with less friction and drag, making it quicker and faster. Lowing the weight of a car also its improves, agility, responsiveness and overall handling. BMW Motorsport, established in 1972, has a long tradition of taking their regular street cars and creating lighter and more nimble versions. The past lightweight M3’s include the iconic 3.0 CSL as well as lightweight M3s developed for both the E36 and E46 chassis production runs.

This past weekend, in anticipation of the Nurburgring 24-hour race BMW M unveiled their latest slim and trim creation, the BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology). Unfortunately for U.S customers the M3 CRT will only be available to those in the European market.

Unlike the two previous production lightweight M3’s, BMW M chose to use the E90 M3 four-door chassis as the basis for the M3 CRT. This M3 has trimmed down thanks to a substantial portion of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The hood of the M3 CRT is made of CFRP, making it 50 percent lighter than the steel equivalent on the regular E90 M3. The innovative material is also used in the construction of the vehicles seats. The M3 CRT supports its passengers with bucket seats composed of recycled-paper honeycomb and an exterior covering of CFRP. The final spots where CFRP is utilized is on a portion of the front lip used to channel air, and on the rear spoiler. All of these weight reductions allow the M3 CRT to have an unladen weight that is 99 lbs less than the standard M3 sedan. According to BMW, if you take into account the interior changes the weight savings total 154 lbs.

M3 CRT with special rear spoiler: Courtesy BMW Group

In accordance with the rest of the vehicle BMW Motorsport has placed a special, enlarged version of the naturally-aspirated V8 power plant in the M3 CRT. The engine, which can also be found on the M3 GTS, has been increased from 4.0-liters to 4.4-liters. Both horsepower and torque have also been increased because of this. At its peak the 4.4-liter punches out 450 hp at 8,300 rpm, with the maximum torque of 324 lb-ft ready to go at 3,750 rpm. All 67 units of the M3 CRT feature the seven-speed M double-clutch transmission (DCT) with launch control. The added horsepower combined with the reduction in weight give the M3 CRT a power-to-weight ratio of 7.7 lbs per horsepower.

The M3 CRT only comes in one color, BMW Individual Frozen Polar Silver metallic with Melbourne Red accents on the side kidney grills and hood vents. The interior offers the same individual touches with special aluminum grain on the door panels and trim pieces. Rounding out the interior is an Alcantara-covered M steering wheel, and special Sakhir Orange and Black two-tone design that covers the lightweight bucket seats.

BMW CRT Individual two-tone interior: Courtesy BMW Group

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

New BMW 1-Series Revealed

6 Jun

By Matt McCarron

With the first generation of the 1-series in the rear view mirror BMW has unveiled the second generation of their smallest and most fuel efficient vehicles. The second generation (F20) promises to deliver a strong combination of efficiency, luxury, performance and aggressive styling.

BMW has chosen to stay consistent with the push to bring turbo technology to a growing number of their vehicles.  For the first time all models of the 1-series, including both gasoline and diesel engines feature BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology package, with twin-scroll turbocharger, high precision injection, Valvetronic and Double-Vanos variable valve control.. Five new 1-series models, two gas-powered and three diesels have been unveiled so far.

BMW 1-series 116i and 120d: Courtesy BMW North America

The 116i and 118i are the two gasoline-powered versions, with the diesel 116d, 118d and 120d rounding out the lineup. The 116i and 118i both feature a 1.6-liter four-cylinder in-line engine, producing 136 hp and 170 hp respectively.

The remaining three diesel variants all share the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder in-line engine. These also have the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology package and variable-geometry turbocharger with common-rail, magnetic-valve direct injection. Horsepower output varies from 116 hp in the entry level 116d to 184 hp in the 120d.

Not only do these engines feature the very latest in technology, but they’re also extremely fuel efficient. The 116d gets a  estimated 65.6 mph combined, significantly better than a Toyota Prius which gets 50 mph under the same conditions.

BMW 116i: Courtesy BMW North America

Although the new 1-series is loaded with Star Trek-like technology under the hood it’s not limited to just that area of the vehicle. The fuel-efficient engine can be mated to an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. It also has an Automatic Start/Stop function in both manual and automatic transmissions and ECO PRO mode which is activated using the driving experience switch.

To round out the new 1-series BMW has changed the dimensions to allow for more comfort and sportier styling.  The body has been expanded by 85 millimetres, wheelbase is 30 mm longer,  front track is 51 mm wider and rear track 72 mm wider. The interior height is unchanged, but the width has been expanded by 17 mm to give it a more spacious appearance. The result of all of these changes is 21 mm more rear legroom and a luggage compartment expanded from 11 to 23 cubic feet.

BMW did not opt to bring diesel or entry-level versions of the first generation 1-series to the U.S. It is still unclear whether or not BMW will change its marketing strategy and bring these new fun and fuel efficient BMW’s to the U.S. market. Hopefully they do, because 65 mpg, a manual transmission and turbocharged engine sound like the essence of getting the most bang for your buck.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

SLS AMG Roadster revealed, finally.

5 May

By Matt McCarron

After many rumors that the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster was among one of the three vehicles Mercedes-Benz was scheduled to debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, it turned out to be a no-show. So, if it wasn’t debuted at the New York show, then when would Mercedes finally lift the veil of secrecy and show the SLS AMG Roadster to the world. Well, the automotive world got their answer on Thursday when Mercedes revealed the drop-top version of their SLS AMG supercar will make its world premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show in September.

The final details of the SLS AMG Roadster are still being hammered out by AMG engineers, but numerous things have been set in stone. One of the most unusual and intriguing aspects to the roadster is its soft-top. Mercedes claims the soft-top can be deployed or retracted in just 11 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph, with just the touch of a button.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster testing in Papenburg, Germany: Courtesy MB USA

The soft-top, which is comprised of three layers of fabric has been engineered with a weight-optimized magnesium,steel and aluminum construction, capable of with withstanding the vehicle’s top speed of 197 mph, regardless of whether or not the soft-top is covering the interior cabin, or neatly hidden behind the passenger seats. To ensure this structural integrity the SLS AMG Roadster has undergone high speed testing at three different high-speed tracks, in Papenburg, Germany, Nardo, Italy and Idiada, Spain.

In addition to the high-speed testing, the SLS AMG Roadster and its high-tech soft-top has endured a plethora of other testing including a high-intensity rain test and climate change tests where the vehicle was exposed to a variety of extreme climates around the world.

Mercedes says the SLS AMG Roadster still needs to undergo a number of quality test on other parts of the vehicle before it makes its world premiere on September 13 in Frankfurt. However, if the soft-top has survived such extensive and extreme testing, chances are the rest of the vehicle will also stack up to Mercedes’ and customer’s demands. But only time will tell if this version of the SLS AMG holds up to the reviews and acclaim of its hard-top sibling.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

First ride E30 M3: Superb handling, engine and classic BMW styling

3 May

By Matt McCarron

What do you get when you take an E30 M3 in pristine condition, add a list of modifications as long as the Great Wall of China, some windy back roads and an experienced driver? A memorable experience, that’s what.

When GermanAutoNews was offered the chance to take a ride in an E30 M3, it didn’t take much time to come up with a decision. After all, this is the E30 M3 we’re taking about, a car synonymous with the S14, a high-revving inline four-cylinder that loves to be pushed above 3,000 rpm, and impeccable handling thanks in part to the vehicle’s 52 to 48 weight distribution. However, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill E30 M3. In fact it’s about as far from the stock North American spec E30 M3 as it could possibly get.

1991 BMW E30 M3

This special E30 M3 was built by Turner Motorsport of Amesbury, Mass. To make this M3 stand out from the pack Turner went all-in with just about every option or upgrade available including a 2.5-liter stroker kit, stage 3 ported/polished head, Evo 3 throttle bodies, Evo 2 camshaft, B&B Triflow muffler, heavy duty clutch, lightweight flywheel, coilover suspension and a whole host of other improvements.

All of these improvements were evident as the M3 rounded the corner of Haigis Mall at UMass Amherst. The vehicle’s exhaust gave off a subtle yet undeniable drone as it made its way toward our camera, and the suspension could be seen trying to keep up with the never-ending bumps and dips that are much too prevalent around the UMass campus. The final component to be experienced before even entering the vehicle was the award-winning sound system, featuring two Focal 27VX 11″ subwoofers,  165EX 3-way and 136EX 2-way speakers and Precision Power 4400 and 2600 amplifiers.

As the ride began we hoped the owner and driver of the M3 would drive the car like it was supposed to be driven. And it didn’t take long to figured out the owner wasn’t intent on leisurely driving around town, all the while being careful to stay under 3,000 rpms and stay at the recommended speed limit.

Actually, from the moment we left the first stoplight it was apparent this was going to be a fun ride. So we fastened our seat belt and away we went. The 2.5-liter S14 screamed with ever-growing intensity as it roared towards redline, while the heavy duty clutch gave the ride a sudden and attention-grabbing snap as it ripped into the next gear. Both upshifts and downshifts came quickly, maybe even somewhat harshly, courtesy of the five-speed Dogleg transmission and upgraded drivetrain.

2.5-liter S14 with Evo II valve and intake cover paint design

The stiff and tight suspension, featuring coilovers along with upgraded camber plates, control arms, strut braces and sway bars made taking corners at high speeds a thing of beauty. There was practically no bending and no nose-diving whatsoever when carving through a corner. The 52 to 48 front to rear weight distribution really showed its worth on the back roads, allowing little to no understeer or oversteer.

As we made our way back toward the campus we really showed the under-appreciated power of the 2.5-liter S14. In today’s high-end, high-performance car industry, where more and more vehicles are approaching or eclipsing 500 horsepower, the 270 provided in this M3 might seem like a pathetic amount. I mean really, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 hp, but that doesn’t matter. The Sonata might have more horsepower, but the S14 delivers all 270 horses to the driver in an unforgettable crescendo of noise and emotion. The S14 screams and howls in ways modern engines just can’t match. In a world where naturally aspirated engines are increasingly being discontinued in favor of forced induction units, the S14 stands alone as one of the truly great naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines of all time.

Our ride in the E30 M3 showed us something. It isn’t the most powerful, quickest or most eye-catching vehicle we have been in. However, when push comes to shove it just might be the best. It combines a raw, un-computerized experience, something that is becoming harder and harder to find in today modern vehicles, and something we will not soon forget.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Video: Onboard 1991 E30 M3 with 270 horsepower

3 May

Here’s a video of a very agile and powerful E30 M3. This vehicle has at least 78 more horsepower than a stock North American spec E30 M3, which has 192 hp.  This E30 M3 is a replica of the Sport Evolution (Evo III) version of the E30 M3. The Sport Evo was limited to 600 units and featured an enlarged 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It produced 238 horsepower and is considered to be the epitome of the legendary E3o model line.

Photos and story will follow soon.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com