AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Crossovers and family sedans make up a huge part of the automotive market. These sensible, everyday vehicles are safe, spacious and efficient; in short they’re perfect for families, be them planned or… not. But for all their merits these cars are about as much fun as counting grains of sugar in a five-pound bag.
Contrary to Dunkin’ Donuts’ slogan, America actually runs gasoline, not deep-fried pastries. The dessert peddler may fuel people with freshly brewed coffee and lots of sugar, but when it comes to getting from point “A” to point “B” petrol is just about the only game in town. Giving drivers some much needed diversity in their fuel diets BMW is launching several new diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S.
More and more automakers are offering all-wheel-drive than in the past. This extra choice is great news for consumers but it can lead to confusion; the number of technologies on the market is practically vertigo-inducing. Each manufacturer’s system is unique, and a lot of times the underlying hardware is different. Not every all-wheel-drive setup was created equally. Which one is best for you? Here’s an overview of what some major manufacturers offer.
Though it hasn’t been made official by the German automaker themselves, it is widely believed that the BMW M135i Concept which is debuting at the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show, will be heading to production.
The M135i Concept will head to Geneva with an inline-six powerplant featuring BMW’s “M Performance Twin Power Turbo technology”. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be twin-turbo, but we’re expecting it to be making around 335-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. BMW has only promised that it’ll sport over 300-hp.
According to an inside source, the M135i will head to production and will have an optional xDrive configuration. The majority of Europe will definitely be getting it, and we’ll hold our breath on whether or not it’ll make its way to America. It’s really not a huge surprise to hear that the M135i will make its way to production, but this is as close to confirmation as we are going to get for now.
GALLERY: BMW M135i
BMW is expanding its offerings on the new 6-Series Coupe and Convertible by adding the ever-popular M-Sport package, a diesel option, and for the first time in the 6-Series model’s history, an xDrive all-wheel-drive variant. The 640d Coupe and Convertible models will be powered by a 3.0L straight-six with 313-hp and a whopping 464 ft-lbs of torque while claiming around 43-mpg (on the European cycle).
The 407-hp turbocharged V8 6-Series will also have the xDrive option available on the 650i, which has been a fairly popular option across all the other BMW models that currently offer it.
Most exciting, however, is the addition of an M Sport package to the 6-Series, giving it a sportier appearance. The package comes complete with an M-aerodynamics kit with all new front and rear bumpers, LED foglights, 19-inch M-alloy wheels, sport seats with Alcantara/leather upholstery and an M-leather steering wheel. Those that wish to take part in BMW’s Individual range program can also order their vehicle in custom paint shades, wheels and other options.
Pricing has yet to be announced and look for all models (except the diesel) to be offered in the U.S.
GALLERY: BMW 6-Series M-Sport
The BMW 5-Series xDrive models will hit dealerships this October, right before the snow hits the ground, but if you want to pick up one of BMW’s all-wheel-drive sedans, you better be prepared to make it rain.
The base 5-Series xDrive will start at a not insignificant $52,775 for the 535i and $62,875 for the 550i. Both cars represent a $2,300 increase over the standard, rear-drive cars, but with the xDrive models so popular in snowbelt areas, we predict that BMW will have no problem reaping the extra premium in Canada and the Northeastern United States. XDrive models also come with Hill Descent Control, a specialized system that helps vehicles navigate steep grades by controlling vehicle speed, a useful feature on snowy and icy hills.
New xDrive system will be available on 750i and 750Li models
For the first time ever BMW will offer all-wheel drive on the 7 Series, starting this Fall. The xDrive system will be optional on both the 750i and 750Li models, increasing BMW’s range of 7 Series cars to five.
The xDrive system as found in the 7 Series will give sure-footed stability while also delivering performance, as it will be able to send up to 80 percent of the power to the rear wheels, which should help limit understeer significantly. BMW’s Integrated Chassis Management system will then work to control throttle input while adding brake in the rear (somewhat like a limited slip differential) to give “perfectly neutral handling.”
BMW promises that additional enhancements will help the all-wheel drive 7 Series models be some of the most nimble AWD sedans in the market.
Additionally, BMW has officially announced the introduction of an M Sport Package for the 7 Series which includes an M steering wheel, a lift-reducing aero kit, 19- or 20-inch wheels and Active Roll Stabilization (on rear-wheel drive models only). A special Carbon Black Metallic color will also be offered.
Official release after the jump:
555 horsepower and 500 ft-lbs of torque
BMW Board Member Ian Robertson stands with BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld at the Shanghai Auto Show during the BMW press conference.
We had expected that BMW would premiere its new X5 M alongisde the X6 M at the New York Auto Show and so we were surprised when only the X6 M took the stage in the Big Apple.
BMW apparently decided to get all the publicity it could out of the mostly-similar SUVs, making the choice to save the X5 M for the Shanghai Auto Show. And so yesterday BMW drew back the covers on the 555hp monster.
The X5 M makes all that power through the use of a twin-turbo direct-injection 4.4-liter V8 engine. As for torque, that number is 500 ft-lbs from 1500 to 5650 rpm.
BMW says it has all but eliminated pesky turbo-lag through a new invention it calls CCM (which stands for Cylinder-bank Comprehensive Manifold). This new manifold is a one-piece unit and has been designed with every cylinder working together to minimize “charge cycles.”
The X5 M features BMW’s M Sports Automatic transmission, which BMW claims is much faster than previous unit – although no shift times are available. Gear changes can be made by using the automatic stick shift, the paddle shifters on the steering wheel or automatically in the default setting.
The X5 M model will continue to use BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, making it (and the X6 M) the first AWD M models. Also standard is the Dynamic Performance Control system that first made its debut on the X6. It allows for power to not only be distributed between the front and rear wheels, but between the left and right rear wheels.
As a result of all this power and grip the X5 M can hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
That speedy sprint is achieved in the Power mode (and likely with the Launch Control on), which can be activated by hitting the M button on the steering wheel. The M button can not only activate the “Sport” program for the engine and transmission, but also an “Efficiency” program, allowing for earlier upshifts and improved fuel-economy.
In terms of the look of the SUV, it stays mostly similar up front but features special front fenders and a distinctive rear diffuser with quad tailpipes. A set of 20-inch wheels is also standard with 275/40/20 front tires and massive 315/35/20 rear tires.
As braking is always an important part of every M-car, and this bruiser no doubt weighs triple what some of the original Ms did, the X5 M gets four-piston calipers with 15.6-inch front rotors and 15.2-inch rear rotors.
And as for Launch Control, it’s sure to be used, and abused by many owners. Here’s how it works:
To activate Launch Control, the driver stops the vehicle, moves the gear selector into the M/S position and activates the Sports Power mode, as well as the M Dynamic mode, or respectively, the DSC-Off mode. Then, with the transmission in stage M1, the driver presses down the brake pedal and moves the accelerator to at least 60% throttle, setting Launch Control to standby. Standby status is confirmed by “starter’s flag” symbol in the instrument cluster. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the vehicle will accelerate with full power in “genuine racing style.” In the process, the M Sports Automatic transmission automatically upshifts at the ideal points, with the fastest possible shifts and optimum wheelspin control. The driver may terminate the Launch Control process at any time by reducing the throttle position.
GALLERY: BMW X5 M
More on the BMW X5 M and X6 M after the jump: