Auto blogWed, 08 Oct 2014 18:30:00 EST
There's going to be a little bit more Prancing Horse in some future BMWs because the Bavarian brand is hiring Ferrari chief engineer Roberto Fedeli to join the company in November. Fedeli's new position is still somewhat of a mystery though, and he reportedly might be lending his talents to the high performance M division or possibly even Rolls-Royce. When asked by Automotive News Europe, BMW said that it "currently can't say what his role will be."
Regardless of his new job, Fedeli was a big get for BMW because of his strong résumé. He has been with Ferrari since 1988 and led the engineering for the famous Italian automaker's vehicles since 2007. Fedeli tendered his resignation in September at around the same time that chairman Luca di Montezemolo announced his decision to leave the company. However, Ferrari told ANE that there was no connection between the two events.
Say what you will about the BMW X6 - odd and ugly as it may be, it's actually been sort of successful for the German automaker. BMW has now sold some 250,000 examples of the X6 since its launch, and the company's fastback-crossover-coupe-whatever-thing gets a host of meaningful updates for the 2015 model year while not straying from its original mission.
Aside from its revised styling, most noticeably set apart by its larger, X5-inspired headlamps, the biggest update for the US-spec X6 is the addition of a rear-wheel-drive model, the sDrive35i. This trim joins the all-wheel-drive xDrive35i and xDrive50i, and since you should all be capable of decoding BMW's weird naming structure by now, you know this means the X6 will be offered with a choice of 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder and twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engines. Fuel economy figures have not been released yet, but BMW says the new powertrains are more efficient than before, mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission regardless of cylinder count.
Look for the updated X6 to hit US showrooms this fall, following its debut this week in Paris. Expect pricing to be revealed closer to the model's on-sale date. Have a look below for all of the details.
Early next year, BMW will offer droptop versions of its entry-level 2 Series. Available in both 228i and M235i guise, the 2 Series Cabriolet will no doubt take everything we already like (and don't like) about the Twoer and add that wind-in-your-hair experience. Of course, taking in all the extra sun comes at a price - $37,900 for the 228i and $47,700 for the M235i, not including $950 for destination. Those prices represent increases of $5,800 and $4,600, respectively.
Powertrain specs are identical to the coupes, with the 228i powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four good for 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The more potent M235i gets BMW's turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six, with 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of push, and can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. That's with the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is available with either engine. And for those who prefer to row their own, BMW will thankfully offer a six-speed manual gearbox with both powerplants, as well.
Following the Paris Motor Show unveiling, the pair will be shown in the US at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November before hitting dealers a few months later. Have a look at the new droptop in our fresh batch of images live from the Porte de Versailles exhibition center, and read BMW's lengthy press blast, below, for all of the official information.
The BMW S 1000 RR is already a pretty potent member of the superbike ranks, but BMW is revealing a host of upgrades for this two-wheeled lightning bolt at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show that should make it even faster.
The biggest additions to the latest 1000 RR are its new cylinder head, lighter valves and different intake cam to tweak even more power from the bike's 1.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, and BMW now rates it at a claimed 196 horsepower (or 199 horses if you go with the European measurement, converted from 146 kilowatts), a boost over the first-gen's 193 ponies, and 83 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed gearbox. Those adjustments would probably be enough to make the cycle a tick faster alone, but the Bavarian engineers also cut 8.82 pounds (4 kg) to bring the motorcycle's weight with a full tank of fuel to a feather-light 450 pounds. Much of that diet comes from the redesigned exhaust that cuts about 6.6 pounds off the scales.
Cradling that tweaked engine is a redesigned, lighter frame with fully adjustable springs. The bike also comes standard with Race ABS, stability control, seven-step variable traction control and three riding modes. In terms of styling, all of these changes are communicated through an updated fairing with repositioned, though still asymmetric, headlights.
We love Motor Trend's annual World's Greatest Drag Race video. Now back for its fourth appearance, the idea of lining some of the world's fastest cars up for a ten-wide, straight-line, full-throttle run is, well... it's pretty freaking badass.
The lineup this year boasts some impressively fast cars to be sure. The group of ten includes the following darlings: Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW i8, BMW M4, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Ford Fiesta ST, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Subaru WRX STI and, last but not least, the Volkswagen GTI. Give us any one of those for the weekend, and we're happy to take the keys.
It must be said though, that for a publication that draws as much water as Motor Trend does, there are some big cars that we might expect to be here instead. The Lamborghini Huracán or Ferrari 458 Speciale would have added some exotic flare to the list, and the omissions of the Chevy Corvette Stingray (for the second year in a row) and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are real head-scratchers.
BMW's performance division has been run by Dr. Friedrich Nitschke since 2011, developing, among other products, the new M3 and M4. But soon the good doctor will be retiring, and BMW has just named his successor.
Taking Nitschke's place as chairman of BMW M GmbH will be Franciscus van Meel (pictured at right), who until recently served as managing director of Audi Quattro GmbH - the rival outfit that makes Ingolstadt's performance models, including the R8 supercar and RS line of performance models.
Van Meel will join BMW on October 1, presumably to learn the ropes from Nitschke before the 59-year-old executive steps down at the end of the year. Back in January, Audi named Heinz Peter Hollwerweger as head of Quattro GmbH and reassigned van Meel to its Beijing R&D center, a role which evidently didn't suit him as well as creating Autobahn-storming German muscle cars.
Good news if you're one of the lucky few that can afford the new BMW i8. The high-performance hybrid's configurator has gone live on BMW USA's consumer website, meaning you can head in and customize till you drop.
If you've ever played with a BMW configurator, you'll instantly feel at home with the i8's. You have the choice of four trim packages (your author refuses to use BMW's pretentious "World" trim names), followed by wheel and exterior paint options. The interior choices are fixed to the trim level, so aside from trim, color and the choice of two wheel options, there isn't a lot to pick out on the i8.
Head on over and take a look.
Nobody should be shocked that a big, heavy vehicle like a semi truck takes a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car; it's just basic physics. However, this BMW X5 driver seemingly has a major problem grasping the concept, and it results in some serious damage to the back of his SUV.
The whole incident is very confusing to watch. The BMW doesn't even seem to have a reason to slow down before the semi slams into the back of it at fairly high speed. But to make the situation even weirder, the crashes just keep happening again and again.
To give the BMW driver a little credit, he appears amazingly calm when surveying the damage afterward. But you have to wonder what this guy was thinking when trying a harebrained move like this. Check out the video to watch the carnage unfold.
Electric cars and hybrids are here to stay, much to the apparent dismay of some auto enthusiasts, but that doesn't mean they have to represent the death of enjoyable driving. Granted, the initial run of hybrids in the US like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius weren't exactly tailor-made for aggressive folks behind the wheel, but things are clearly changing. In its latest video, Evo takes a look at three examples from Europe's new crop of electrified vehicles to show that the future of fun motoring is safe and sound.
Evo editor Henry Catchpole kicks things off with one of the most bizarre EVs of the bunch, the tiny Renault Twizy. Its low power and 50-mile-per-hour top speed might make it miles away from a hot hatch, but there's still fun to be had in extracting the most from this little city car. Next up is the Audi A3 E-Tron, which isn't technically available yet. It's a step in the right direction of eventually creating an affordable, fun-to-drive hybrid hot hatch.
However, the main event is Catchpole getting some seat time in the BMW i8. The Bimmer can really fly -literally in this case - and the butterfly-door coupe offers a clear look at the prospects for electrified sports cars. It might not have the power of hybrid supercar contemporaries like the LaFerrari or Porsche 918 Spyder, but the BMW doesn't cost nearly as much, either. See? Improved efficiency doesn't have to mean boring.
BMW is always happy to extract a little bit more gumption out of its M cars, just look at the latest 30th anniversary M5 or even the earlier CSL variants of the M3 for proof. Now, It looks like we might be getting the first glimpse of an even hotter M4, and it's wearing very interesting livery.
Our spies recently shot this M4 that could preview a future GTS version. It's all done up in MotoGP decals, but that might just be a ruse. This car sports a camouflaged lower air dam and rear wing, but those parts don't appear to be from an actual series safety car. The chin spoiler seems larger, and the rear wing is completely different. You can also spot an obvious Recaro logo on the driver's seat in one of the photos. Plus, the BMW emblem is removed at the back.
The disguised changes and odd choice of decals make this prototype incredibly weird. A BMW exec said at the beginning of the year that there were "no plans whatsoever to make a lighter, harder version just yet," of the M3 or M4, despite earlier rumors to the contrary. Check out the gallery to see what you think this is.