BMW – Fri, 19 Jul 2019 16:45:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AutoGuide.comBMW – BMW Holds North America’s First Ever M Festival Near Toronto Tue, 16 Jul 2019 19:36:49 +0000 BMW Holds North America’s First Ever M Festival Near Toronto BMW Holds North America’s First Ever M Festival Near Toronto
The first M Festival in North America sets a hot lap of success. more]]>
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Turns out that winning your first-ever NBA title gets you more than just a parade. It also gets you an M Festival. And depending on where your interests lie, that’s better.

North America’s first-ever M Fest was held outside Toronto, Ontario last weekend, and BMW was kind enough to invite out us before the gates opened to give us a taste of what they had planned. Between the drag racing, the track experiences, the autocross, the race cars, the race car drivers, and so much more, it’s safe to say that no one was bored this weekend.

The M Fest has been going on for a few years now but has so far stayed far from the new world. With events in Germany, South Africa, and Japan, though, it was only a matter of time before the fest came to North America.

The location was a bit of a surprise, though. Canada’s storied Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Of course, there was no problem with the venue. CTMP has been around since the early ‘60s and was designed for F1 cars of the era. Considered one of North America’s fastest tracks, it was the perfect venue for BMW’s works drivers to take lucky fans for a hot lap in an M5. Having just earned poll at the previous weekend’s IMSA, M8 GT driver Jesse Kohn tried to take my head off in an M5.

So the venue was fine. It was just surprising that Canada was selected over one of the US’s bigger markets. Turns out, though, that Canadians disproportionately enjoy M products.

BMW M Festival

Canada is BMW M division’s fourth-biggest market by volume. Behind only the US, the UK, and Germany, Canada outsells China, Japan, and any other country despite the long winters and the small population.

“There’s a passion you feel for M Sport [in Canada],” says Marcus Flasch, president fo BMW M. “It’s a strong community for performance cars in general.”

And indeed it was. With more than 4,300 in attendance at the festival, BMW’s factory drivers were forced to give more than 3,000 track experiences and BMW had to pay for 186 tires.

It’s not all track experiences, though. The fun continued off-track with an autocross section filled with Z4s, M340is, and X2s for attendees to try out. Then it continued off-road, with CTMP’s camping area giving the more SUV-inclined among us the chance to test the X4 and X3’s off-road chops.

There was fun to be had without roads at all thanks to nightly concerts with acts like Serena Ryder, Dear Rouge, and more.

“The BMW M Festival was a huge success,” said Sebastian Beuchel, Director of Brand Management, BMW Canada. “The M Festival allows us to bring our brand to life and enable people – from customers, fans to enthusiasts – to interact and engage with all that BMW has to offer. We have the best fans in the world.”

As mentioned above, though, there were a number of driving activities to be accomplished and although we only spent a few minutes per car, that won’t stop me from opining on their quality. So here follow 7 micro-reviews of the BMW M lineup arranged by each event.


M340i: The 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque mean this thing takes off in a hurry. It didn’t feel as much faster than the four-cylinder as you might expect, but that’s mostly an endorsement of the four-pot. It gives you a little bit of oversteer if you ask for it, but the nose isn’t quite as pointy as you might hope.

Z4 M40i: Same engine as the M340i but a better package for the autocross. One of the most intuitive cars I’ve ever driven. Get in, go fast, look good doing it. The nose is direct, the tail is waggly and the Z4 made me feel like a hero.

X2 M235i: With 300-odd horsepower and all the performance chops of a Sports Activity Crossover (or SAC), the X2 M235i is a shockingly sprightly little thing. It really does feel like the hot hatch we all thought the X2 could become. Unfortunately, that also means that there’s a healthy amount of understeer. Naturally, having just jumped out of the Z4, a part of the understeer came down to me driving it wrong, but I don’t want to take all of the blame!


X3 M40i: This was the only vehicle I drove off-road. The course runs through CTMP’s campsite and the X3 M40i at least proves that it’s the M product for you if you live wayyyyy off the beaten path. I still find hill descent control uncomfortable and unnecessary (if the point of off-roading is to challenge yourself, why would I want to take both my feet off the pedals?), but it worked just fine on a reasonably steep and very silty downhill section. We also got some wheels in the air, which seemed not to bother X3 at all. Overall, pretty well done.

Drag Racing:

M850i Coupe: Dat V8 engine… It sounds good, looks good and will allow you to brake boost all day long. Thanks to its 530 hp, it gets to 60 MPH in just 3.7 seconds, which is mighty quick. I loved the convertible and the coupe looks better.

Track Drive:

M2 Competition: We all say this is the M we’d buy at the office and it’s nice to be reminded why. Driven around CTMP’s Driver Development Track, the little M is a feisty bulldog of a car, utterly convinced (and convincing) of its ability to take on all comers. It’s easy to control at all angles of lock. The car feels fast, direct, and best of all, fun!

Hot Lap:

M5 Competition: Unfortunately, I didn’t get to drive this around CTMP’s Grand Prix circuit. Fortunately, I got a ride from Jesse Kohn, who had just set pole the weekend before. Breakneck acceleration is partnered with breakneck lateral Gs, the M5 Competition is a supercar aping car that looks like a regular sedan. It’s the Walter White of cars, the Steve Buscemi (in ConAir) of M cars, the Dexter of sports cars. And it doesn’t disappoint when a great driver gets behind the wheel.

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BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is a Party in the Back Thu, 20 Jun 2019 21:17:06 +0000 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is a Party in the Back BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is a Party in the Back
That rear end is the most striking part of the car. more]]>
The ultra-luxurious new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe has been unveiled with four doors and a striking rear end.

The entry-level 8 Series Gran Coupe will be in the form of the rear-wheel drive 840i. With the 340-hp turbo inline-six, the cost of entry begins at $84,990, plus $995 destination. Meanwhile, the M850i xDrive will start at $109,895.

On many cars, the design of the rear seems like an afterthought — or possibly a feature designed by a separate team from the front. Either way, it’s rare that a rear end is the most striking part of a car’s design. Here, though, BMW has crafted such complexity and visual strength, that I find myself continuing to stare at the rear ¾ view.

The front end of the 8 Series Gran Coupe is a duplicate of the Coupe, while the A-pillar rearward is unique. The manufacturer states that the 8 Series Gran Coupe has, “More legroom than ever in a BMW coupe.” That’s because it’s not a coupe, BMW.

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Best BMW 3 Series Alternatives – The Short List

As compared to the Coupe, the GC is taller (+61 mm), wider (+30 mm), and longer (+231 mm), with a wheelbase that’s been stretched by 201 mm. Considering this car is actually likely to carry rear passengers, the shape had to change to provide the head and legroom necessary to house them. The form that is struck by as the C-pillar joins the rear of the car is muscular and distinctive. It is my personal opinion, but I strongly prefer a sharp definition to the end of a trunk lid — which every other 4-door coupe that I can think of lacks.

BMW might have consciously designed the car to avoid the need for a motorized rear spoiler to create downforce. With weight management in mind, the doors, outer skin of the roof, hood, front shear panel, engine subframe, front bulkhead, and rear bumper support are all made from aluminum. That complex trunk lid is plastic, the cockpit support is magnesium, and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic is used in the center tunnel to reduce heft and maximize rigidity where necessary. As a result, the Grand Coupe’s weight gain was limited to 154 lbs. There will also be an optional carbon-fiber roof that will replace the heavy glass double sunroof and offer a lower the center of gravity.

ALSO SEE: Where is BMW Made?

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe front

With two engines available at launch, the 840i Gran Coupe will be offered with the aforementioned 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo inline-six, making 340 hp and 369 lb-ft. This will be routed through the 8-speed automatic to the rear wheels, through a standard M Sport active locking differential. All-wheel drive is offered in the 840i xDrive Gran Coupe and the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 makes a stated 530 hp and 553 lb-ft and will only be offered in the xDrive application. The M8 is expected to share the running gear with the current M5, including the AWD system.

The rear seats in the 8 Series Gran Coupe are formed to mimic the fronts, providing rear occupants an increased level of lateral support in the case of an enthusiastic chauffeur. The center console extends all the way to the rear of the cabin, all but negating the use of the back’s center seat. BMW calls it a 4+1-seater, but the belt is probably just there to appease some government agency on the off chance it gets used.

A multitude of interior finishes and colors will be available but I hope every buyer will option a two-tone interior like that in the photos. Those rear seats look like they should be fitted to a car with a Shelby badge on it and that’s not a bad thing. The instrument panel and doors will feature leather wraps to compliment the chairs, which are sport seats as standard. However, M Sport seats are available in M Sport package cars and the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best BMW Accessories


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Jaguar and BMW Join Forces on Next-Gen Electric Drive Systems Wed, 05 Jun 2019 18:28:09 +0000 Jaguar and BMW Join Forces on Next-Gen Electric Drive Systems Jaguar and BMW Join Forces on Next-Gen Electric Drive Systems
The two companies seem like a good fit. more]]>
Former FCA CEO, the late Sergio Marchionne, predicted long ago that car companies would have to join forces as automotive research and development costs continue to rise.

The insightful Italian-Canadian cautioned companies from spending billions to develop identical tech to their rivals just to call it their own, and it seems the industry is beginning to listen.

SEE ALSO: Jaguar I-Pace vs Tesla Model X: Which EV is Right for You?

This week, Jaguar and BMW announced a partnership that will see them join forces on next-generation EV drive systems – likely realizing that it is pointless to develop their own versions of technology that will end up performing in similar or nearly identical ways.

In a statement, the two companies said the “strategic collaboration will build on the considerable knowledge and expertise in electrification,” within Jaguar and BMW. Jaguar brings knowledge gained from the development of the I-Pace SUV to the table, while BMW will contribute through experience gained developing and producing the i3.

“The agreement will enable both companies to take advantage of efficiencies arising from shared research and development and production planning as well as economies of scale from joint procurement across the supply chain,” Jaguar and BMW added.

ALSO SEE: The Best EV Charges for Your Home

Jaguar and BMW are a good fit for one another as they have similar levels of experience with production electric vehicles. They are also both luxury automakers, so they will have similar needs for their next-gen electric powertrains with regard to refinement, performance, and range. Future Jag/BMW powertrains will still be quite different, however, with both saying they will develop systems “to deliver the specific characteristics required for their respective range of products.”

Jaguar and BMW did not provide a timeline on when we could see its next-generation electric drive system make its debut.


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Top 5 Best BMW 3 Series Alternatives – The Short List Tue, 28 May 2019 14:30:24 +0000 Top 5 Best BMW 3 Series Alternatives – The Short List Top 5 Best BMW 3 Series Alternatives – The Short List
If you want a compact sport sedan but want something a bit different, you have a few options. more]]>
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The BMW 3 Series is a living legend.

Generation after generation, this sports sedan has delivered the goods: scintillating dynamics, luxury appointments, and impeccable German pedigree. But would you believe, this blue-chip Bimmer isn’t the only game in town?

Arguably, BMW’s venerable 3 Series sets the luxury sport sedan standard. It’s well-built and efficient, engaging and refined, but there are myriad excellent alternatives to this Bavarian four-door. In fact, here are five of our favorites.

5. Jaguar XE

We start with something from the British Isles. Jaguar’s XE offers subtle styling inside and out with pleasant dynamics and a broad range of powertrains. This sports sedan can be had with a fuel-sipping diesel under the hood, two potencies of turbo-four and even a supercharged V6 that’s rated at 380 horses. For enhanced versatility all-wheel drive is available with every engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 Retro Car Features That Need to Make a Comeback – The Short List


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4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Now, for a classic 3 Series rival, the smart and sophisticated Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In a lot of ways, this challenger is all about diversity. You can get it in sedan, coupe, and even cabriolet formats. A plug-in hybrid drivetrain is offered, as is a high-performance AMG version, an ideal foil to the speedy BMW M3. There’s a tasteful elegance to Stuttgart’s offering, a maturity the 3 Series seems to lack. And that interior? It’s a ‘beaut, bringing to mind a baby S-Class. Under the hood there’s power-a-plenty. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, though you can also get force-fed V6 and even a hand built V8 for all-out performance.

Get Mercedes C-Class Prices

3. Tesla Model 3

Now, for a 3 Series alternative that, increasingly, is stealing both sales and mindshare away from this esteemed Bimmer. The Tesla Model 3 is fast, upscale and comes with four doors, making it a perfect fit for this list.

Broadening the Model 3’s appeal, it’s available in several flavors from a mid-range, rear-drive version with about 264 miles of range, to a performance variant with four-corner traction and enough juice to go 310 miles between charges. That hot-rod example can also hit 60 miles an hour in just 3.3 seconds, topping out at 155. Beyond all this, the Model 3 offers loads of high-tech gadgets, from a gigantic control screen on the dashboard to Enhanced Autopilot, Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver aid.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Sexiest Cars – The Short List

Another feather in its cap, Model 3 sales are booming. Supposedly, this car was the most-popular luxury vehicle in the U.S. last year, with nearly 146,000 delivered, handily outpacing combined sales of the 3 and 4 Series.

Get Tesla Model 3 Prices

2. Genesis G70

Next up, something more conventional, though still completely out of left field: the Genesis G70. This South Korean upstart is unexpectedly excellent. In fact, we’ve taken such a shine to this four-door, it easily drove away with our 2019 Car of the Year award. With expressive design, a luxurious interior and excellent road manners the G70 is hard not to fall in love with. Of course, the optional 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, which can rocket this car 60 miles an hour in as little as 4.5 seconds, doesn’t hurt, either. Even the base four-cylinder engine is plenty stirring and can be paired with a manual gearbox.

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1. Alfa Romeo Giulia

Unquestionably, one of our favorite upmarket sports sedans is the Alfa Romeo Giulia. A driver’s car through and through, it melds classic exterior styling with segment-leading dynamics. Seriously, even the base model, which features a 280-horsepower turbo-four is amazing to drive. But if you’re a true enthusiast, you’re going to want the Quadrifoglio model, which features Ferrari-sourced, 505-horsepower V6 that makes all the right noises and delivers astonishing performance, zero-to-60 in less than four seconds.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Badass Sedans – The Short List

There you go, five of our favorite luxury sport sedans, but, of course, there are other options, from the new Volvo S60 to Infiniti’s shapely Q50. But what is your favorite BMW 3 Series alternative? Leave a comment down below.

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Top 10 Hybrids with AWD Mon, 27 May 2019 20:14:50 +0000 Top 10 Hybrids with AWD Top 10 Hybrids with AWD
If you want an AWD hybrid but want don't want an SUV or crossover, you have many options. more]]>
Hybrids are gaining traction – and we don’t just mean they’re growing in popularity. There’s also an increasing number of electrically assisted automobiles on the market that also offer the benefits of all-wheel drive.

Not just crossovers and SUVs, either – of which there are many, from the humble likes of the Toyota RAV4 to the uber-luxurious Bentley Bentayga. Or supercars, for that matter, like the Acura NSX, BMW i8, and the discontinued Porsche 918 Spyder. We’re talking about standard-production passenger cars that you can buy today.

So if you want your next car to have all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain but don’t need (or want) the larger form of an SUV (or the performance of a six-figure sports car), here are 10 hybrids with AWD that are currently waiting for you at your local dealership, ranked by price. Stay tuned: We will have a list of SUV and crossover hybrids with AWD very soon.

Top 10 Hybrids with AWD

Toyota Prius AWD-e

hybrids with awd

  • Hybrid
  • 121 hp / 105 lb-ft of torque
  • 50 mpg (combined)
  • $27,310 (delivered)
  • AWD: Optional

The cheapest model on our list is also the most fuel-efficient, and one of the latest to couple four-wheel traction with hybrid propulsion. Refreshed for 2019, the Toyota Prius is now available with a new AWD-e system that adds extra electric motor on the rear axle to give it extra grip. It takes a small hit in fuel economy, which Toyota estimates at 52 miles per gallon in the city, 48 on the highway, and 50 on the combined cycle – slightly down from the standard, front-drive Prius’ 58/53/56. But it’s still one of the most efficient all-wheel-drive vehicles you can buy.

The AWD system in this Prius is unique in that it only connects the rear axle from zero to 6 mph regardless of conditions for stronger and more confident launches, and at speeds at up to 43 mph if wheel slippage is detected. When slippage is not detected and at speeds over 43 mph, the electric motor is essentially disconnected and the Prius continues to operate as a front-wheel-drive car.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Toyota Prius and Prius AWD Review


Get New & Used Toyota Prius Prices

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

hybrids with awd

  • Plug-In Hybrid
  • 137 hp / 134 lb-ft of torque
  • 35 mpg (combined)
  • $35,970 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

Though billed as an SUV (and with most of the off-road capability to back it up), the Subaru Crosstrek is essentially a jacked-up, rugged wagon version of the Impreza (much as the Outback is to the Legacy). It’s also the only electrified vehicle Subaru currently offers, packing the Japanese automaker’s signature flat-four engine and all-wheel drive, but augmented with a pair of electric motors with plug-in capability. Short of the Prius, you won’t find a more fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive passenger car (however far it may push the definition) on the market.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Home EV Chargers


Get New & Used Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Prices

Volvo S60/S90 T8 eAWD

hybrids with awd

  • Plug-In Hybrid
  • 400 or 415 hp / 472 or 495 lb-ft of torque
  • 29-31 mpg (combined)
  • $56,040 / $64,895 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

Volvo’s T8 “Twin Engine” powertrain is an impressive feat of engineering, extracting upwards of 400 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine – thanks to the addition of a turbocharger, supercharger, and electric assist (with plug-in capability to boot). In addition to XC60 and XC90 crossovers, Volvo offers the trick powertrain here in both the S60 and S90 sedans (but not, for the time being, in the V60 and V90 wagons). They’ll deliver 31 and 29 mpg, respectively, on the combined cycle. And if you go for the performance-oriented S60 T8 Polestar Engineered, you’ll have 415 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque to play with, which is more twist than you’ll find anywhere here this side of a Porsche or AMG Mercedes.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Volvo S60 Review: The Best-Driving Volvo Yet


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BMW 530e xDrive iPerformance

hybrids with awd

  • Plug-In Hybrid
  • 248 hp / 310 lb-ft of torque
  • 28 mpg (combined)
  • $56,695 (delivered)
  • AWD: Optional

BMW offers a wide array of hybrids, including sedans, crossovers, hatchbacks, and supercars – but you can’t get all of them with all-wheel drive. The 530e offers the automaker’s xDrive system as an option, and only takes a slight hit in fuel efficiency as a result: 28 mpg on the combined cycle with all-wheel traction, compared to 29 without. The 330e is slated to return next summer, based on the new 3 Series and with more muscle, but don’t expect it to offer all-wheel drive like the plug-in 5 Series.

Get New & Used BMW 5 Series Prices

Audi A6/A7/A8

  • Mild Hybrid
  • 335 hp / 369 lb-ft of torque
  • 25 mpg (combined)
  • $59,895 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

Ever the champion of all-wheel drive, Audi has taken the bold step of equipping three of its top passenger cars with a mild hybrid assist as standard. The A6, A7, and A8 all come with the same 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, augmented by a 48-volt electrical system to channel 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It returns the same 25 mpg (on the combined cycle) in the mid-sized A6 sedan and the svelte A7 Sportback, but just 22 in the larger A8 limousine.

Get New & Used Audi Prices

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD

  • Hybrid
  • 377 hp / 341 lb-ft of torque
  • 28 mpg (combined)
  • $62,895 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

Honda’s luxury division, Acura has made all-wheel drive integral to its hybrid approach in the MDX crossover, NSX supercar, and this, the RLX sedan. The 3.5-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque (as available in the standard RLX), but the Sport Hybrid with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive adds three electric motors – one up front, two in the back – to boost output up to a combined 377 hp and 341 lb-ft, all the while delivering 28 mph on the combined cycle.

ALSO SEE: Where is Acura From and Where is Acura Made?


Get New & Used Acura RLX Prices

Mercedes-AMG E53/CLS53/GT53 4Matic+

  • Mild Hybrid
  • 450 hp / 568 lb-ft of torque
  • 24/23/21 mpg (combined)
  • $73,545 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

The letters AMG have long stood for Mercedes performance, but the German automaker’s in-house tuner has stepped into the electric age with its new 53 models. The powertrain mates a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight six with a 48-volt electric supercharger to a nine-speed automatic and 4Matic+ all-wheel drive (both tuned by AMG). It produces 429 hp and 384 lb-ft, but with the 21-hp/184 lb-ft EQ Boost kicking in, it’ll deliver as much as 450 hp and 568 lb-ft. And there’s no shortage of body-style choices: you can get it in the E-Class sedan, coupe, or convertible, in the CLS four-door coupe, and in the new flagship GT 4-Door Coupe (as well as the GLE crossover).

Get New & Used Mercedes Prices

Lexus LS500h AWD

  • Hybrid
  • 354 hp / 257 lb-ft of torque
  • 26 mpg (combined)
  • $84,055 (delivered)
  • AWD: Optional

Every iteration of the Lexus LS, stretching back 30 years now, has been powered by a V8. Not the latest version, though: this one’s available exclusively with V6 engines. But you can get it with a hybrid assist, and (unlike its LC coupe counterpart) all-wheel drive. The latest LS500h isn’t as powerful as the twin-turbocharged LS500, but it’s two to three times as potent as the other all-wheel-drive hybrid Toyota product that kicked off our list. It’s also about as plush, roomy, and laden with tech as anything else on the market, and will return a respectable 26 miles per gallon of gasoline on the combined cycle.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Cheap AWD Cars and Crossovers


Get New & Used Lexus LS 500h Prices

BMW 745e xDrive iPerformance

  • Plug-In Hybrid
  • 389 hp / 442 lb-ft of torque
  • 22 mpg (combined)
  • $96,545 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

The electrified version of BMW’s flagship 7 Series, the new 745e is bigger, brawnier, and altogether more upscale than the aforementioned 530e. With a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, it’s also considerably more potent than the four-cylinder 740e it replaces. But the increased output comes at the expense of fuel economy: where the previous 740e was rated at 27 mpg on the combined cycle, the new 745e returns just 22 mpg, putting it near the bottom of this list in terms of efficiency (to say nothing of its very high purchase price).

Get New & Used BMW 7 Series Prices

Porsche Panamera 4/Turbo S E-Hybrid

  • Plug-In Hybrid
  • 457 or 677 hp / 516 or 626 lb-ft of torque
  • 23 / 20 mpg (combined)
  • $104,150 / $187,450 (delivered)
  • AWD: Standard

Porsche offers not one, but two plug-in hybrid versions of its four-door grand tourer. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid packs a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 with an electric assist to deliver a combined 457 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, which would already make it one of the most powerful on this list. But the Turbo S E-Hybrid goes even further, with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 electrically boosted to a massive 677 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy isn’t stellar, rated at 23 and 20 mpg, respectively, on the combined cycle, but either can be had in the standard-wheelbase four-door, stretched Executive, or Sport Turismo wagon body-styles, offering a wide array of choices.

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8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List Sun, 12 May 2019 02:18:55 +0000 8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List 8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List
A V8 swap isn't for the faint of heart. more]]>
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How can you transform your ride into something truly special while drastically improving its performance at the same time? Just swap in a V8 engine!

Welcome to another installment of The Short List! It’s hard to argue with the smooth, responsive performance of an engine with two banks for four cylinders. I think we can all agree, the addition of a V8 can improve practically any car.

SEE ALSO: Winners and Losers from the 2019 New York Auto Show – The Short List

This engine configuration provides maximum displacement in a relatively small package, meaning you can shoehorn one into a space normally occupied by something as small a malnourished four-cylinder.

Now, on this list, we’ve focused on realistic V8 swaps, ones you could do yourself using readily available kits. This means there are no crazy one-off builds from SEMA or anything, as much as I’d like to see a Rolls-Royce Merlin swapped into an original Mini, but I digress.

8. Jeep Wrangler (Hemi)

Starting things off, who wouldn’t want a V8-powered Jeep Wrangler? If you’re a JK owner and are unhappy with Pentastar power, or worse, that breathless, old 3.8-liter pushrod V6, the folks over at Quadratec will happily sell you a kit that allows a 5.7-liter Hemi to mount under this off-roader’s hood. Making it worth the $5,800, this kit also includes things like a new wiring harness, an updated transmission crossmember and high-flow catalytic converters. Engine not included.

Of course, there are other companies that will sell you kits allowing you to drop a GM LS V8 into your Wrangler, but c’mon, a Chrysler product should really feature a Mopar powertrain.

7. E46 BMW 3 Series (GM LS)

Love the E46 3 Series? Who doesn’t? All these years later, it’s still my favorite BMW. But if you’re unsatisfied with the performance provided by this generation 3er’s inline-six, fear not, there’s room for an LS ahead of the firewall. Vorshlag Motorsports sells a variety of brackets and bolts that allow this legendary V8 to securely mount inside the bowels of your favorite 3 Series where it can provide stupid-fast acceleration with plenty of rumbling sounds.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best BMW Accessories

6. Ford Focus (Small-block Ford or Modular)

The Ford Focus has always been a scrappy little car, funky and fun to drive, but it’s never been the fastest thing on four wheels, especially the first-generation model. That changes if you grab the V8 conversion kit from Kugel Komponents. It allows you to drop a small-block Ford or modular V8 into your Focus. Best of all, this kit is completely bolt-on, requiring zero welding, however, it ain’t cheap, costing roughly $8,000, which doesn’t include an appropriate engine, transmission or rear end. Still, the idea of a rear-drive Focus with V8 power is tantalizing…

SEE ALSO: Why the Four-Cylinder Hybrid is the Best Powertrain in the Jeep Wrangler – The Short List

5. Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 (GM LS)

The Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 family of sports coupes is a blast to drive, sharp, light and plenty engaging. But the major complaint about these cars is a relative lack of power. Their 2.0-liter boxer four maxes out at about 205 ponies, though this is nothing a little LS can’t correct. For a mere $3,200, Weapons-Grade Performance will sell you a kit that allows one of these V8s to fit into the engine bay of your BRZ-family vehicle. Opt for the $7,500 complete kit, which comes with extra goodies like cooling components, upgraded wiring, a new instrument cluster and more, and you’re well on your way to roasting the tires, just provide the LS engine and transmission of your choice.

4. Nissan 350Z (GM LS)

Nissan’s Z car is a legend. For decades, it’s provided performance and driving dynamics in spades. Now, if you own a 350Z, the acceleration it offers is more than adequate, but who wants to settle for good enough when you could have astounding? Rectifying this, Sikky Manufacturing offers a little something that – surprise, surprise – lets you enjoy the smooth giddy-up of a GM LS V8. Base price is around $2,250 and it goes up from there depending on what goodies you want.

Interestingly, with this kit, no modifications to the factory crossmember or subframe are required. And that’s an important word of warning; V8 conversions are generally neither easy nor cheap. Lots of heavy wrenching is involved, and many require welding. While they can be SERIOUSLY COOL, swaps like these are NOT for the faint of heart.

3. Honda S2000 (GM LS)

Unquestionably, one of the greatest sports cars of the last 20 years is Honda’s S2000. Light and nimble, its naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine revved to the heavens above to deliver exhilarating performance. But for all its virtues, this two-seater had one serious flaw: a complete lack of torque. You had to wring its neck or else it wouldn’t move. But solving this issue is as easy as signing your name; just cut a check for a suspiciously inexpensive $1,650 and you’ve got most of what you’re going to need in order to fit an eight-cylinder fire-breather between the S2000’s front fenders. Yes, yet again, it accepts another LS, which you have to provide…

2. Subaru WRX (GM LS)

With standard all-wheel drive and unusual-sounding boxer engines, Subarus are not afraid to be different. But let’s say you want something a little more mainstream, to make your WRX sound like a muscle car. Well, now you can do that thanks to a bunch of components offered by the website Buy their subframe kit, oil pan and more and you’ll be well on your way to LS-ifying your favorite Subaru.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Diesel-Powered Cars You Can Buy in the U.S. – The Short List

1. Mazda MX-5 Miata (GM LS)

Miata Is Always The Answer, right? Sure, unless you’ve got to haul sheets of plywood. Anyway, if you want an absolutely INSANE MX-5, get in touch with the fine folks at Flyin’ Miata out in Colorado, because they’ve figured out how to fit a V8 into each generation of this legendary Mazda car: NA, NB, NC and even the new ND. This swap is sure to transform a light and nimble vehicle into something absolutely insane, a car that’s fast enough to outrun some supercars. Because don’t forget, the Miata has always been a featherweight.

It’s amazing how popular GM’s LS engine is. It’s taken over the world, trouncing both the Chrysler Hemi family and Ford’s various V8 offerings. And why shouldn’t it? They’re reliable, GM’s built untold millions of them meaning they’re affordable, they support huge displacements with very compact external dimensions. This puts it right in the sweet spot of the Venn diagram, making it an ideal engine for V8 swaps.

Check out more episodes of The Short List

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BMW i4 Electric Sedan to Get 372 Miles of Range Mon, 25 Mar 2019 21:13:02 +0000 BMW i4 Electric Sedan to Get 372 Miles of Range BMW i4 Electric Sedan to Get 372 Miles of Range
That's on the generous European testing cycle. more]]>
BMW’s four-door electric i4 sedan is taking shape and BMW has given us a sneak peek at the car winter testing in Arjeplog, Sweden.

The car was shown off as part of a photoset showing off BMW’s electrified lineup winter testing. Colder climates pose unique challenges to EVs like reduced range. The completely camouflage-covered i4 was shown next to the partially camouflaged iX3 and the completely camouflaged iNext.

The i4 is BMW’s midsize addition to the i range and the company claims that it’s good for 600 km of range (372 miles) on the European test cycle. BMW also claims that the electric motors will help get the i4 to 60 mph in an appropriate 4 seconds.

ALSO SEE: Where is BMW Made?

bmw ix3

Production of the i4 sedan is set to begin in early 2021.

The iX3, meanwhile, will essentially be an electric version of the X3 and will be the brand’s first EV crossover. With more than 400 km of range (248 miles) on the European test cycle and DC fast charging, it should help BMW compete against the likes of Audi, Mercedes, and Tesla and will arrive in 2021.

The iNext, meanwhile, is a much more futuristic product that will be built on BMW’s next modular chassis and will feature BMW’s fifth-gen electric system.

bmw i next and i4

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Home EV Chargers


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Where is BMW Made? Mon, 25 Mar 2019 19:16:32 +0000 Where is BMW Made? Where is BMW Made?
You probably know of its German roots, but where else do BMWs come from? more]]>
Do you know where BMW is from and where it makes its cars today?

It should be fairly obvious. After all, BMW’s place of origin is right in its name, which stands for Bayerische Motorenwerke or “Bavarian Motor Work.” But while you might be well aware of BMW’s German origins, it operates many plants outside of its homeland today.

SEE ALSO: 2019 BMW X7 Review

In this post, we’ll provide a brief overview of BMW’s history, where it was first incorporated and where its plants are located today. This post will focus on the BMW plants that serve the North American market, as it operates many plants that serve single markets only, such as those in China.

Where is BMW From?

BMW was technically incorporated in Munich, Germany, in 1916, and its global headquarters are still located there today.

It was originally founded as aircraft manufacturer Rapp Motorenwerke, but the company was renamed Bayerische Motorenwerke in 1917 following the departure of company founder Karl Rapp. The company was also the result of the amalgamation of two other companies with Rapp, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, and Automobilwerk Eisenach. BMW considers the founding date of Bayerische Flugzeugwerke on March 7, 1916, to be the official founding date of BMW.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best BMW Accessories or Top 10 Best BMWs of All Time

Where is BMW Made?

Most of BMW’s cars are built in Germany, but not all of them. Here are all the BMW plants that serve North America:

BMW Group Plant Dingolfing – Dingolfing, Germany

  • BMW 4 Series
  • BMW 5 Series
  • BMW 7 Series
  • BMW 8 Series

BMW Regensburg – Regensburg, Germany

  • BMW X1
  • BMW X2

BMW Leipzig – Leipzig, Germany

  • BMW 2 Series
  • BMW i8
  • BMW i3

BMW US Manufacturing – Greer, South Carolina, USA

  • BMW X3
  • BMW X4
  • BMW X5
  • BMW X6
  • BMW X7

BMW San Luis Potosí – San Luis Potosí, Mexico

  • BMW 3 Series

Magna Steyr (Contract plant) – Graz, Austria

  • BMW Z4

SEE ALSO: 2020 BMW 3 Series Review

Get New & Used BMW Prices

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Amnesty International Slams EV Industry For Unethically Sourced Batteries Fri, 22 Mar 2019 19:04:44 +0000 Amnesty International Slams EV Industry For Unethically Sourced Batteries Amnesty International Slams EV Industry For Unethically Sourced Batteries
And its reliance on coal-powered battery production. more]]>
Human rights foundation Amnesty International has published a report slamming automakers like Renault and BMW for their unethically sourced batteries and reliance on coal-powered battery production.

The report, entitled ‘Amnesty challenges industry leaders to clean up their batteries’, claims the raw earth materials used in the production of lithium-ion batteries are linked to human rights abuses such as child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the mistreatment Indigenous peoples living near lithium mines in Argentina. It also claims current-day lithium ion vehicle batteries can pose environmental risks that could “undermine their green potential.”

“Amnesty International has documented serious human rights violations linked to the extraction of the minerals used in lithium-ion batteries, particularly in the DRC,” the report says. “A 2016 investigation found children and adults in southern DRC working in hand-dug cobalt mines facing serious health risks, neither protected by the government nor respected by companies that profit from their labour. Amnesty’s research has linked these mines to the supply chains of many of the world’s leading electronics brands and electric vehicle companies.”

SEE ALSO: Daimler Breaks Ground On Second Lithium-Ion Battery Plant

These companies include Samsung SDI, Apple, BMW, Daimler, Renault and of particular note, Samsung SDI. The Samsung subsidiary is a large supplier of automotive batteries, with its products being found in many modern-day EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids. According to Reuters, Samsung SDI is the world’s sixth largest lithium ion battery manufacturer.

Furthermore, the report also raised concern about the environmental impact of battery production. Because most of the lithium-ion batteries used in today’s cars and electronics are made in China, South Korea and Japan, they are often times manufactured in plants powered by coal and “other polluting sources of power,” Amnesty said. Demand for rare earth minerals used in lithium ion battery production has also sparked new-found interest in deep-sea mining, which “will have serious and irreversible impacts on biodiversity.”

“Every stage of the battery lifecycle, from mineral extraction to disposal, carries human rights and environmental risks,” an Amnesty spokesperson said.

The report concludes by saying Amnesty is calling on governments, the auto industry, investors and consumers to “create an ethical and sustainable battery, which can be used for electric vehicles and in the electronic industry,” within the next five years.

[Source: Amnesty International]

This article originally appeared on

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Win a Trip for 2 to Bimmerfest West 2019 Mon, 11 Mar 2019 19:56:40 +0000 Win a Trip for 2 to Bimmerfest West 2019 Win a Trip for 2 to Bimmerfest West 2019
Love BMWs? Love the West Coast? Love free stuff? Have we got to the contest for you! more]]>
Love BMWs? Love the West Coast? Love free stuff? Have we got to the contest for you!

You and a lucky friend could be on your way to sunny California to attend Bimmerfest West 2019.

Just click here and fill this survey for your chance to win!

Winners will get airfare for two, three nights’ accommodation, and $500 in spending money. Plus you get entry to the year’s biggest celebration of BMWs and their fans.

You and a lucky friend could be on your way to sunny California to attend Bimmerfest West 2019 taking place on May 25 to 26 in at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

ALSO SEE: Bimmerfest West 2019 is Just Around the Corner! Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Bimmerfest is happening at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Bimmerfest California hosts countless BMWs every year and activities will include autocross, the Battle of the Bimmers, and a real BMW Heritage Corral.

So enter today for your chance to enjoy the show season early and attend Bimmerfest West.

Contest open from March 8 to April 19. Winners will fly for California on May 24 and return home on May 27.

Click here for full contest rules and regulations.

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Bimmerfest West 2019 is Just Around the Corner! Here’s Everything You Need to Know Fri, 08 Mar 2019 13:49:26 +0000 Bimmerfest West 2019 is Just Around the Corner! Here’s Everything You Need to Know Bimmerfest West 2019 is Just Around the Corner! Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Bimmerfest 2019 California is the biggest BMW car show in the country. more]]>
Bimmerfest 2019 California is the biggest BMW car show in the country featuring two days of action for BMW enthusiasts. Running on May 25-26 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, the show will be held at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA.

Activities include:

  • * Battle of the Bimmers
  • * Bimmerfest Track Days
  • * Featured Car Corral
  • * Heritage Corral
  • * AutoCross
  • * Dyno Runs
  • * Parade Lap on Track
  • * Food Truck Festival and Biergarten
  • * Vendor Alley with 70+ BMW Related Companies

Entry: Bimmerfest West 2019 is $30 per car for exhibition parking within the stadium or $20 per car for general admission. (Purchased On-Site)


2-day entry exhibitor pass per car for $45 plus free Parade Lap (savings of $15 for entry plus $20 for Parade Lap). Total savings of $35!

2-day entry general admission per car for $30. Total savings of $10.

As always, passengers enter for free, so bring your partner, your kids, your parents, your buds, and your pets so that everyone can enjoy the show.

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Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles Fri, 01 Mar 2019 13:00:09 +0000 Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles
You can have the best of both worlds! more]]>

Top 10 Practical Perforance Cars Main Art

This post was updated for 2019

Let’s say you’ve got an insatiable appetite for speed but you also have other responsibilities like three kids, a golden retriever, volunteer work on weekends and other domestic duties.

We hear you loud and clear and feel your pain. But just because you need sensible transportation doesn’t mean you have to completely sacrifice performance at the altar of practicality. Oh no…

SEE ALSO: 10 Sports Cars the Civic Type R Beat Around the Nürburgring

There are actually plenty of highly entertaining vehicles on the market right now that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, one so lasting that you can go for a drive on Monday and still have a grin for the rest of the week. These models span the market from luxury vehicles to family sedans, SUVs to pickup trucks; some of them are even quite affordable, but others not so much.

Dodge Charger Hellcat

One of the easiest recommendations we can make is the Charger Hellcat. This full-size sedan packs the heat of two fully operational nuclear reactors, well, maybe not that much power, but its supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi is an absolute beast. This Dodge has 707 horses on tap but that’s not its only parlor trick. It also comes with four doors, a spacious back seat and 16.5 cubic feet of luggage space. With a base price around 68 grand, how do you argue?

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks: 2019

Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon


But let’s say you need even more luxury and interior space than a Hellcat can offer. Well, Chrysler’s old partner turned ruinous overlord is happy to oblige. The Mercedes-AMG E63 S wagon is as fast as it is practical thanks to a zero-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds and more than 64 cubic feet of cargo space. Delivering that explosive performance is a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 that puts out 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of twist. It’s paired with a special nine-speed automatic transmission that provides maximum acceleration. All told, this car is roomy enough that you could start a jug band and go on tour across the country. Base price is around $110,000.

ALSO SEE: Top 15 Best LEGO Car Sets

Subaru WRX STI


Of course, not everyone can afford to drop 100 G’s on a new ride. Fortunately, there are some practical and attainable performance cars on the market today. One such model is the Subaru WRX STI. This small sedan starts around $38,000 and serves up an energetic 310 ponies and 290 pound-feet of torque from its 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer engine. It also features a standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Upping its versatility factor, this car comes with Subaru’s famous Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, which means the WRX STI is ready for just about any kind of driving.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Station Wagons: 2019

Volkswagen Golf R


Arguably even more practical than the boxer-brandishing STI is Volkswagen’s Golf R. This hot little compact is graced with a commodious hatchback body, one that endows it with a metric ton of interior space, or more specifically around 53 cubic feet of junk-ingesting room. Beyond that, it’s powered by a 288-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a lightning-fast seven-ratio automatic. Like the Subaru, torque is routed to all four corners for maximum grip. Throw in subtle design, a premium interior and lots of features and it’s easy to fall for this VW. Base price is around 41 grand.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk


All-wheel drive is all well and good, but some people need serious off-road capability and that’s something these systems cannot deliver. For true mud-slinging, a Jeep is just about perfect, but not just any model. How about one that’s as competent on the racetrack as it is on the Rubicon trail? The brand’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk  features the same 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 as in the Charger Hellcat. Predictably, it’s bolted to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. What other vehicle offers nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo volume and can hit 60 miles an hour can in just 3.5 seconds? Base price is roughly $87,000.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Top 15 Best AWD Sports Cars

Ford F-150 Raptor


But sometimes you need an open bed, which the Grand Cherokee cannot offer unless you’re skilled with a reciprocating saw. Eliminating the need to slice and dice is the Ford Raptor. This ground-pounding pickup is certifiably badass, with copious ground clearance, dedicated hardware and the power to back it all up. Under the hood, it features a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that delivers 450 ponies and 510 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed to the wheels through an efficient 10-speed automatic transmission. All told, this SVT F-150 is fast, tough and extremely desirable.

Tesla Model X

Plenty of people have a bone to pick with Tesla for one reason or another. Still, throngs of others are devoted to this automaker with religious-like fervor. Is the firm failing or does it deserve mountains of praise? Like most things in life, the answer is somewhere in between. Sure, the company has made some curious missteps over the years but it’s also working to revolutionize transportation in a way we haven’t seen in a century or more. At the tip of this thrust into the future, Tesla offers well-heeled drivers a vehicle that’s both reasonably practical and stupendously fast. They’ve built a crossover that can hit 60 miles an hour in less than three seconds yet still has enough room for the entire family. The Model X is equal parts utility vehicle and scud missile, an impressively swift product with an emissions-free driving range of around 290 miles.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best AWD Coupes

Audi RS 7 Performance

The Audi RS 7 is a German delight, especially in hopped-up Performance trim. It features a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, a highly advanced powerplant matched to an eight-speed self-shifting gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive. All told it’s packing more heat than Mexican drug cartels, 605 horses to be precise. This “four-door coupe” can seat four adult passengers in reasonable comfort and hold a fair amount of stuff thanks to its lift-back rear end. But perhaps best of all it drives amazingly well, looks gorgeous and can hit 60 miles an hour in as little as 3.6 seconds. Base price is around $130,000 so, unfortunately, you may have to sell drugs in order to afford one.

ALSO SEE: The Best Performance Tires and Why You Need Them

Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo


The Porsche Panamera is a big car with a long wheelbase and generous back seat. But just because it’s of the larger persuasion doesn’t mean it can’t thrill the driver. In Turbo Sport Turismo guise, it’s unusually spacious, with up to 49 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. Underhood resides a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that delivers 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. Allied with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission it can hit 60 miles an hour in as little as 3.4 seconds. Top speed is 188. Base price for the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is about $155,000.


Providing speed, style and reasonable amounts of space, BMW’s X6 M seems to have it all. A 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 567 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Harnessing that goodness is an eight-speed M Sport automatic transmission. Despite a husky curb weight, the X6 M can rocket from zero to 60 in about four seconds flat.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Diesel Cars You Can Buy in the US – The Short List

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