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Auto blogThu, 13 Jun 2013
According to a report from CNNMoney, BMW has been hit with a lawsuit from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after revised criminal background check policies resulted in the dismissal of 88 contractors, 70 of whom (that's about 80 percent) were black. A total of 645 contractors were required to submit to background checks at BMW's facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina after BMW switched contract companies at its plant.
Though the 88 persons who were not rehired by the new contractor all had criminal records, that may not necessarily be a legal way to screen applicants, as the EEOC counters: "BMW's policy has no time limit with regard to convictions. The policy is a blanket exclusion without any individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of the crimes, the ages of the convictions, or the nature of the claimants' respective positions."
BMW's actions were in violation of the Civic Rights Act of 1964, according to the EEOC, because they utilized "a criminal conviction policy that disproportionately screened out African-Americans." A recent bulletin offering guidance from the EEOC on the Civil Rights Act can be found here, but the EEOC's stance on the issue has been the same for years: "Since issuing its first written policy guidance in the 1980s regarding the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions, the EEOC has advised employers that under certain circumstances, their use of that information to deny employment opportunities could be at odds with Title VII."
The Nürburgring Nordschleife has the reputation as one of the most difficult tracks in the world to master - deservedly so. With 14 miles of roadway and about 160 corners over a massive amount of elevation change, the amount of grip can change from turn to turn. As the driver of the famous BMW Ring Taxi learned this weekend after a shunt into the barricades, the 'Ring can bite unsuspecting pros just as easily as amateurs.
The video of the incident below shows the M5 oversteering right into the wall as a phalanx of Porsche models arrive behind it. According to Bridge to Gantry, a website that specializes in news about the 'Ring, the taxi's passengers were picked up by another Ring Taxi and driven off with a fantastic story to tell their friends back home. "The accident happened at low speed, there were two passengers in the car, but no one had at any injuries," said BMW spokesperson Cypselus von Frankenberg to Autoblog via email.
The crash also closed track for over an hour to clean up and to haul the stricken BMW away. When a driver making a living from driving lap after lap at the Nordschleife has a crash even as seemingly minor as this one, it just goes to show why the course has the nickname 'The Green Hell.'
BMW sure seems to take pleasure in confusing the hell out of us. It used to be pretty simple: if you wanted a compact Bimmer, you had to look no further than the 3 Series. Then it was just a matter of which bodystyle you wanted. But the smaller end of BMW's lineup has gotten more complicated lately. Never mind the 1 Series and 2 Series (in their various iterations) that have slotted in below it - now the 3 Series has been split in two: Want a four-door, get the new 3 Series. Want a two-door, the 4 Series is your address. Right?
Almost. Because now there's a 4 Series Gran Coupe that keeps the two-door's roofline (or some approximation of it) but adds an extra set of doors in the back, thereby bridging the gap between the 3 Series sedan and 4 Series coupe. And it's just made its public debut here at the Geneva Motor Show.
The difference between this and the two-door 4 Series is plain to see: it's got two extra doors. But what's the difference between this and the 3 Series sedan? About two or three grand, to start with - depending on which version (428i Gran Coupe or 435i Gran Coupe) you choose. But it's also sleeker, more muscular and altogether that extra bit sexier. Which is a good trait, as you can see from our gallery of live shots above, to have in your European sports sedan, coupe, or whatever you want to call it.