Disability Equipped: No
Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive
Trim: Base Sedan 4-Door
Sub Model: 550i
Drive Type: RWD
Number of Cylinders: 8
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Auto blogWed, 24 Jul 2013 10:30:00 EST
We just posted our first drive of the 2014 BMW 435i yesterday, but for those wanting even more power from this stylish coupe, help is on the way. From the sounds of it, BMW will be showing off a production-ready concept previewing the M4 next month at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but until then, we have some new spy shots of the performance coupe being tested at the Nürburgring, along with its four-door counterpart, the M3.
Despite all the camouflage, it doesn't take much imagination to picture what both cars will look like, since we can clearly see the more aggressive front fascia and beefier brake setup. One interesting element we see on both cars is a double bubble roof that is almost certainly made from carbon fiber. Based on our report earlier, both the M4 Coupe and M3 Sedan are expected to debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
We can only imagine the challenges BMW is going to have explaining the i3 electric vehicle to the world. It's got a new powertain (all-electric, with optional range extender), a new production method (carbon fiber reinforced plastic!), a new brand (the 'i' line) and a new vehicle type (it's a city car). Despite everything that's different, BMW is still trying to talk about the i3 as if it fits in with the rest of the company's vehicles. But it doesn't. Not really. And that's going to make the marketing and salespeoples' jobs quite difficult.
Which is a shame, really, since the i3 is amazing. If it didn't carry the BMW 'heritage' baggage, people would be falling over each other to sing its praises. This is one of the smoothest, roomiest and slickest electric vehicles we've ever driven, with a lot of hidden surprises. It is a wonderful city car, and well designed for the car-sharing, emissions-aware drivers of the near future. But since the i3 carries the BMW name, everyone we ran into while cruising the narrow streets of and flat countryside around Amsterdam in a Euro-spec i3 recently wanted to know one thing: is it "a BMW" as well as being an electric car? During one photo shoot, a police car pulled up next to us, totally stopping traffic. While my co-driver and I instantly thought we were going to be asked to move, the officer simply wanted to know what the scoop was about all the i3s he had seen that day. Oh, and does it drive like a BMW?
We'll answer that question in detail below. The most important thing to remember is that the BMW i3 comes from the new "i" sub-brand within BMW. Like Mini, the i line really is a different beast, despite the roundel's presence. So, what makes a BMW a BMW? The answer is as easy as ABC. Or, in this case, as simple as Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works.
The BMW Z3/Z4 roadster has never really had a widespread following because it has either been too humble and small a roadster (albeit with some fun and very low-volume M editions) or it has been - in this E89 generation - too casual an image leader with no racier aspirations. The current 480-hp Z4 GTEs don't count, since they are as stock a Z4 as today's Pamela Anderson is the same blonde actress we knew as Heidi on Home Improvement. You know, sort of like those ever-so-slightly modified Toyota Camry coupes competing in NASCAR.
The ultimate highpoint for the BMW Z roadster franchise was at the very start of its life in the mid-90s, in the James Bond film GoldenEye with Pierce Brosnan. The Stinger missiles that Q's team installed behind the Z3's headlights were never fired, and BMW never even offered this self-defense package as an option. Yet another case of the ol' bait and switch.
And in all these subsequent years of Z3s and Z4s strutting their long-hooded stuff, the little sporting Bimmer could really have used a live Stinger missile or two to spice things up. The current Z4 exists, it is pretty dang sexy, and BMW seems content to let it linger there. We just drove the new midlife version of the roadster near BMW headquarters in Munich, and it served to reinforce our feelings.