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The 2012 BMW 6-Series is a significant improvement on the previous model, in aesthetics, performance, and features. Today, a new model joins the 6-Series lineup: the Gran Coupe.
A four-door take on the 6-Series theme, the new Gran Coupe was previewed at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, and confirmed for production not long after by development chief Klaus Draeger. The wait for official details and specs is finally over.
The standout feature of the car’s design, the two additional doors, do surprisingly little to take away from the 6-Series’ familiar coupe lines–the roofline still drops quite rapidly into the short rear deck, and the added length is absorbed by strong character lines and accent marks on along the sides.
BMW today announced it has taken a 15.16 percent stake in SGL Carbon SE, a leading manufacturer of carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). This move should surprise no one, as BMW has been closely partnered with SGL for several years now, but it does put a point on the near future of mass-produced vehicles with carbon fiber or CFRP components.
The value of carbon fiber is obvious: it’s light, it’s strong, and, for luxury and performance enthusiasts, it carries a certain cachet of exclusivity. That last factor may be changing as wider use is made, but it’s still attractive in its own right, and its lightweight structural virtues are nearly inimitable.
BMW is recalling 32,084 model year 2008-11 5-Series, 5-Series Gran Turismo, 7-Series, X5 and X6 models equipped with turbocharged V-8 or V-12 engines. At issue is a circuit board for the electrically powered auxiliary water pump, which can overheat to the point of posing a potential engine compartment fire risk.
Specific models affected by this recall, with the associated build date range, are as follows:
With the 2012 Infiniti M35h already setting Guinness records and the 2013 Lexus GS 450h shown off at the Frankfurt Auto Show, today’s unveiling of the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 makes it a three-way race for sport-sedan hybrid supremacy. How do the numbers stack up?
First up, lets look at each car’s hybrid drive system. The 2012 Infiniti M35h starts with the familiar 3.5-liter V-6 paired with a 50 kW electric motor for a net output of 360 horsepower. The 2013 Lexus GS 450 follows a similar path, pairing an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor of not-yet-specified output and net power of 338 hp. The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 slots in just below the other two, but does it a little differently, with a 300-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder paired with a 40 kW electric motor for a net output of 335 horsepower.
BMW’s new 3-Series, the sixth generation of the automaker’s entry-level sedan, is now bigger, bolder, and with a revamped engine lineup including a hybrid option, more fuel efficient than ever.
Set to go on sale in February as a 2012 model, the ‘F30’ 3-Series also debuts BMW’s new face, which features elongated headlights reaching along as far as the trademark kidney grille.
Based on the 535i, the ActiveHybrid 5 marks the third production hybrid from BMW, though it will be one of only two on sale (the other being the ActiveHybrid 7) soon as the ActiveHybrid X6 ceases production.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is still a fresh, frenetic memory, but I’ve spent the last two days driving some of BMW’s newest hardware up and down California’s central coast. Between clipping canyon apexes and whirring along in high-tech quietude, it became clear: the new 6er coupe is about more than just better looks.
Power, of course, is ample. The 400-horsepower, 450-pound-feet of torque twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 does its job even more readily and forcefully than in the new Convertible, thanks to its lighter weight–several hundred pounds were saved in the hard top even though the Convertible was designed from the ground-up as its own body-in-white. The adjustable ride and transmission/throttle controls offer four settings ranging from relaxed freeway cruise to sharp-edged corner hustler, but even the sportiest isn’t beyond the pale for most in ride quality or harshness.
Driving is often a pain, particularly in dense, congested urban cores.
Start and stop, brake suddenly, stay carefully in your lane, drive defensively, then park in tight spaces.
What if the car could do all that for you?
At the German company where I work, the relationship between German colleagues and North American and British colleagues can be strained. It comes down to the German cultural capital of speaking directly, clearly and very unambiguously.
I have been party to social situations where one colleague (non-German) asked her office mate (very German, right down to the black socks and Birkenstocks) what he thought of her new shirt. He replied, “it’s ugly, the color doesn’t suit you.” It’s the whole truth, the blunt truth, and nothing but the truth.
Following this past weekend’s leak, BMW has released the first official images of its new Concept M5 ahead of its world debut later this month at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. Like previous concept cars from the hallowed M division, the design you see here is pretty much what will be used for the upcoming 2012 BMW M5 super-sedan due in showrooms at the end of the year.
BMW has also confirmed that the new M5 will pack a high-revving V8 engine with ‘TwinPower Turbo Technology’. For the uninitiated, this is the name BMW applies to engines featuring the benefits of twin-scroll turbochargers, direct injection and the automaker’s latest variable valve timing technology.
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