Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BMW i5 to launch before 2015

The expansion of the BMW i family will continue in the next decade. BMW has already registered the trademark for the i1 through i9 models, …

The expansion of the BMW i family will continue in the next decade. BMW has already registered the trademark for the i1 through i9 models, with the next variant to emerge under the electric sub-brand by 2015.

The BMW i5 is rumored to be more family friendly, with extra cabin and trunk space. Autocar UK says that BMW engineers think that by adding just 100mm of extra legroom and another 150mm of rear overhang, they can create a spacious family EV hardly longer than a MINI Countryman.

Creating the i5 is potentially a much cheaper and simpler operation than stretching a conventional steel monocoque car, as the i3 uses a separate chassis. Lengthening it is mostly a matter of extending the chassis’s longitudinal aluminum extrusions. Also extending the pillarless passenger cell is mainly a case of stretching the roof and floor sections. Only the rear door structure would have to be completely re-engineered, although the hinge and clamp systems would be unchanged.

It remains unknown at the moment whether the BMW i5 will come with a more powerful electric engine, but it will most likely feature a range-extender unit as well.

The car is scheduled to debut in 2015.

Monday, November 25, 2013

AutomobileMag 2014 Design of the Year: 
BMW i8

U.S. magazine AutomobileMag names the BMW i8 as the 2014 Design Of The Year. The upcoming BMW i8 made its debut, in concept form, back …

U.S. magazine AutomobileMag names the BMW i8 as the 2014 Design Of The Year.

The upcoming BMW i8 made its debut, in concept form,back in 2009 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Since then, the hybrid sportscar went through a series of iterationsbefore settling on the production design. The car sits on a long wheelbase and it has short overhangs, a typical BMW design feature. The front appears extremely low and wide, and the super hybrid went through an extensive aerodynamic optimization. At the same time, the flat, but prominent double kidney grill makes this vehicle’s origins clear. A V-shaped ‘black belt’ starts on the bonnet and dynamically wraps around the bodyshell to the rear.

Viewed from the side, the exaggerated wedge shape, the long drawn-out lines and the flat silhouette underscore the dynamics and looks of a supercar. From the front to the rear, the car has a very dynamic, three-dimensional appearance. Surfaces and lines overlap and interlock, a method known as ‘layering’. This joins all the surfaces harmoniously and allows compact and unbelievably agile look. Its monolithic appearance lends the BMW i8 its extraordinarily powerful stature.

The special sports car aspect of the BMW i8 is unmistakeable after just a glance at the spectacular scissor doors. The prominent scissor doors swing upwards when opened.

The layering principle applies inside the car as well where the designed managed to create a synergy between functionality and clear form. All elements are light and dynamically positioned. The equipment lines ‘Carpo’ and ‘Neso’ employ the particularly light leather ‘Spheric’. This material, used for the first time in a series-production vehicle, is over 20 per cent lighter than regular leather. Lightweight construction is implemented visually; for example, the visible carbon elements in the door sill highlight its low weight.

It retains the typical BMW driver orientation with the center console aligned towards the driver. All the instruments and signs in the digital instrument panel, with its two large displays, are simple to use. The iDrive Controller is conveniently located on the center console that optically bisects the vehicle.

Here is an excerpt from the AutomobileMag feature:

It has been almost six decades since the world market was offered a fully realized “car of the future,” available to anyone holding the modest sum requested. That was the Citro√ęn DS19, which embodied many of the then-radical features that have become commonplace now. We see the i8 as the contemporary equivalent of that milestone car. The $136,625 BMW represents the kind of luxury/performance vehicle that will be quite common at all price levels in 2074. It sets a new standard for everyday automobiles and is much less extreme in both cost and performance than LaFerrari and the Porsche 918, but it is just as efficient and dazzling in its capabilities.


Friday, November 15, 2013

First Test:
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG


AMG's engine laboratory in Affalterbach would probably impress NASA's top tinkerers. The impeccable workplace sits adjacent to the building housing the division's famous "one man, one engine" production line. "How's the new turbo four-cylinder coming along?" I bluntly asked a powertrain engineer during my laboratory tour. At the time -- last October -- the engine was a rumor. So too was the car it supposedly would power in the States. The car that would eventually become the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. He smiled and looked around like a gossiping schoolboy, then whispered, "You'll be amazed at what's coming: its power, efficiency, and, yes, its sound." He smiled and shot me a thumbs-up. Could a four-cylinder AMG be a real AMG? AMGs are about torque on top of torque with a side of torque. They're dealers of tiredestruction. They're autobahn annihilators. 

One year later, I got my first crack at the final product, a 355-hp, 332 lb-ft of torque, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder codenamed M133 that's packed neatly inside the nose of the CLA45 AMG 4MATIC. The division's first engine with fewer than six cylinders is also the most powerful inline-four to ever propel a production car. It's a gem of a mill that's constructed to the same meticulous standards as AMG's mighty V-8s and V-12s, though it's done in Kölleda, Germany. Color me amazed.
 At just 2250 rpm, every pound-foot is first routed through a newly developed seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, then directed to the brand's 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system tuned for AMG duty. The setup uses a two-part propeller shaft to route torque to the rear wheels via a multi-clutch rear differential when slip or hard cornering is detected. It's a front-wheel-drive car in normal circumstances for fuel economy's sake, but can ultimately split torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles. I began questioning the engine's claimed power output as I cruised through some of Virginia's suburbs. For more than 350 horsepower, it's superbly calm. However, instances of powertrain confusion were created by jumping onto the throttle too quickly in fuel-sipping ECO start/stop mode. The gearbox and engine hiccupped, but they usually recovered quickly with a surge of smooth, hefty pull. If the pull wasn't enough, instantaneous -- almost imperceptible -- shifts and beautiful BRAAP BRAAP noises from the quad exhaust clearly indicated that the 45 means performance business. Few turbocharged cars of this caliber possess a gearbox that can match the hustle and silkiness of the CLA's.  There's a distinct lack of torque steer when jetting off from a stop, though the tires did slip some. The helm has a stout, progressive weightiness to it, but struggles to clearly communicate the nuances of the passing road. Our test team needed only 4.2 seconds to get the nearly 3600-pound CLA 45 to 60 mph from a dead stop. That's genuine sports car territory, ladies and gents, and it's faster than Mercedes' quoted 4.5 seconds. In fact, spool the twin-scroll turbocharger to its full speed and the little Benz will keep up with a Bentley Continental GT V8 (4.2 seconds), BMW M5 (4.2), and Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE (4.3) from a stoplight. A quarter-mile sprint came in 12.7 seconds while travelling 108.3 mph. The brake pedal had an immediate -- almost too touchy -- initial bite, yet halted the sedan from 60 mph in a decent but not spectacular 109 feet. On the skidpad, the CLA45 bests the C63 sedan with a 0.96 g (versus 0.94 g) lateral acceleration, and amazingly, matches its figure-eight lap time (24.9 seconds) with a higher average g load (0.79 g versus 0.78 g). The CLA can definitely dance and has a playfulness to it, but push it to 10/10ths and you'll notice it plowing into corners. The CLA45 proved its AMG pedigree on winding roads. Engaging the Sport mode on the ESP and gearbox felt like the car was given an espresso IV . All of its ECU-calculated reactions immediately made excellent use of the tauter AMG-tweaked suspension. Its chiseled body barely leaned atop the underpinnings and grip stayed abundant. The exhaust barks are the best part of going hard. It's as if the pipes from a Lancer EVO X and a Mini Cooper JCW (Gatling gun backfires and all) had a baby. It's the sort of addictive, highly engineered exhaust sound that makes you grin like a three-toed sloth on hallucinogens. Also like the EVO and JCW: The CLA's suspension absorbs little and communicates a lot. It's not harsh, but if comfort is priority numero uno during a road trip, then grab the keys to your E350. 

Our lunch spot doubled as an examination area. In approaching this latest "four-door coupe" from afar, you can't overlook AMG's signature touches: sharper aerodynamic bodywork with silver accents at its lower edges; blackened 18-inch alloys covering massive red-tinged AMG-spec brakes; a slightly lowered stance; quad exhaust peeking from an aggressive diffuser. The 45 has arrived at the entry-level luxury performance party dressed to the nines. Its physical charisma is unrivaled by its base brethren, and that's exactly how it should be.
 Inside is a sporty space decorated with aptly placed carbon-fiber trim on the dash (a $950 option), MB-Tex faux leather, and standard power front seats that are highly capable body huggers. Our "well-equipped" tester included a $2300 Premium Package (iPod/USB media interface, heated seats, dual climate control, satellite radio), $2370 Multimedia Package (COMAND, rearview camera, six-disc changer), and $2500 Driver Assistance Package (Blind Spot Assist, Distronic cruise control, and Lane Keeping Assist). Radar-based Parktronic ($970) and a Panorama Sunroof ($1480) were added as well, though you could do without either. So, who's the ideal buyer of this speedy Stuttgart sedan, err, coupe? Well, someone with a good amount of disposable income. Its base price is $47,450. Tack on all of our tester's options, plus a $925 handling charge, and that number quickly climbs to near-C63 levels. (The sedan starts at $62,875 with $925 handling and $1700 in gas-guzzler charges.) It's no democratizer of the brand, no "cheap" AMG, which to some shopping in the segment could be a turnoff. And it may take more than the usual one or two acceleration runs to pulverize its Continental rubber, and a few extra seconds for it to get to 60 mph. But the 45 is undeniably a successful custodian of the AMG name on multiple levels. And for certain buyers, that's all that matters. 
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE2.0L/355-hp/332-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION7-speed twin-clutch auto.
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)3599 lb (60/40%)
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT184.7 x 70.0 x 55.7 in
0-60 MPH4.2 sec
QUARTER MILE12.7 sec @ 108.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH109 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT24.9 sec @ 0.79 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY147/109 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS0.75 lb/mile

Read more:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Audi RS6 Avant vs. 2013 BMW M5 

Comparison Test Drive

UK magazine CAR test drives and compares the Audi RS6 Avant against the BMW M5. The Audi RS6 Avant is powered by a 4.0-liter V8 …

UK magazine CAR test drives and compares the Audi RS6 Avant against the BMW M5.
The Audi RS6 Avant is powered by a 4.0-liter V8 engine generating 560 horsepower between 5,700 and 6,700 rpm, and 516 pound-feet of torque (700Nm) between 1,750 and 5,500 rpm. This engine is equipped with two large twin-scroll turbochargers and an additional intercooler inside the cylinder-bank valley. With the new engine the RS6 Avant will sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds and up to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. However, when the car is equipped with the optional Dynamic Plus package, it can go up to a sphincter-clinching 189 mph.
2013 Audi RS6 Avant vs. 2013 BMW M5   Comparison Test Drive
The engine is mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission with “D” and “S” modes. Power to the wheels is sent via the QUATTRO system.
The 2013 BMW M5 is powered by a high-revving 4.4-liter turbocharged unit that uses the BMW M TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine outputs 560 horsepower from 5,750-7,000 rpm and 680Nm (502 lb-ft) of torque from only 1500rpm. It comes in both manual and 7-speed DCT transmission.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
Thanks to Quattro, aggressively spaced bottom gears, launch control and superglue rubber it can accelerate to 62mph in 3.9sec, accompanied by a whiff of tyre smoke and a faint trace of charger whine, yet the claimed fuel consumption is a remarkably frugal 28.8mpg.
The RS6 remains, in the true tradition of fast Audi estates, a blunt instrument to drive. Despite ceding 20bhp to its Lamborghini V10-engined predecessor it produces a massive 37lb ft of extra torque (516lb ft in all) which it smears onto the road in a fat, flat, juicy curve all the way to 5500rpm. Leave it in Auto and rely on the hugely flexible Quattro drivetrain – which can dish up to 70% of the torque to the front wheels or up to 85% to the rear – and you can simply hoon it like a hot hatch, not even worrying about understeer unless you suddenly change direction mid-corner. Switch to Manual and you’ll have to be constantly on the ball to stop the V8 crackling into the limiter through the first few cogs.
The tweakable steering works best left in Comfort – stick it in Dynamic and it weights up without any appreciable feel, plus there’s a vague spot as you turn into a quick corner.
The M5, though hefty by M Sport standards, is 65kg lighter than the RS6 (no Quattro gubbins, see?), yet it’s half a second slower to 62mph. With similar torque on tap at comparable revs, the difference is down to the extra traction and better gear ratios, but again the figures aren’t the whole story. The BMW’s steering is far superior, remaining haptically connected no matter how much lock you wind on, and its input/output ratio is both linear and immediate. Tip: don’t fiddle with the steering calibration options – they merely morph ‘perfect’ into ‘heavy’ into ‘very heavy’.
The M5 feels really quick in the mid-range, its steady torque complemented by proper dramatic punch as the revs rise, and the DCT dual-clutch seven-speed ’box outshines the Audi’s eight-speeder, albeit with less artillery drama than the previous M5. The BMW’s variable damper settings are better sorted, too, with Dynamic being less firm than the RS6’s and Comfort being less mushy. Audi may have gone too far off the scale at both ends.

Monday, November 4, 2013

BMW Concept 9 Series GT

Rendering artist Marius Bucan-Nicola creates the BMW 9 Series GT, a modern interpretation of a Gran Turismo.

The BMW 9 Series GT is a concept meant to illustrate what a top BMW “Gran Turismo” might look like, a true competitor in the category of exclusive, two-seat coupes dominated by the Mercedes SLS, Aston Martin ONE77, as well as the Ferrari F12Berlinetta. This epitomizes an exclusive niche, in which consistency and prevalence are given by the prestige and performances intrinsically linked to the uniqueness and character brought by the “DNA” of the brand, in which experiments lacking sustainability do not fit.

Ideally sportiness should not exclude elegance as well as design styling should not filter elements of innovation. But rather a subtle way can create a vision in the brand’s design. Using these premises, the first sketches I created are not typical to a car designer in the sense that from the very beginning I preferred a realistic approach to design. In the early creative stages, this approach can be itself a serious barrier to free imagination but the architectural formation was decisive to define the way of styling expression. Paying attention to proportions I tried to give personality to the concept with a dynamic sense discreetly accompanied by an exclusive touch.

The car’s silhouette is dominated by an elongated bonnet, which closes up a powerful 6 litersV12 engine, situated in the back of the front axle, connected to a gearbox in front of the back axle. The generous wheelbase, the short overhangs and the low driving position, provide the ideal mass distribution which favors excellent dynamic performances. From the profile, the impression of power is accentuated by the wheels with impressive 21″ wheels. The prominent passage line of the wheel arches wings are aerodynamically inspired by the details of the coupes from GT races.

The tense curves of the “bone line” give the car a subtle yet dynamics and forceful line. The sportiness and agility are also emphasized by the base of the side sills, downwardly splayed from back to front. Besides the functional aerodynamics role, the double-blade side expansion slots do bring a certain dramatic effect. That, together with the outline of the lateral windows frame, including the BMW “hofmeister knick” trademark, determine finally the character of this coupe.

The front-end develops around the unmistakable BMW kidney grille, slightly tilted upfront in a shark style traditional to the brand. The bold look is completed by the well-known headlights with sharp edged details and opening slots which make one think of procrastinated aggression. In the same manner, the lower area has the central grid surrounded by daytime running lights, combined with the air intakes for brakes cooling. The design of the bonnet relies on the language applied by BMW to most of their latest models. The lines running from the front wheel wings to the engine continue with down the front A-pillars. Together with roof line and the C-pillars at the rear, they form a unitary design, becoming one with the car allure. The relative narrow rear windscreen, the see-through spherical roof and the very tilted front windscreen form a homogeneous, stained glass- like surface which once again accentuates the aerodynamic profile of the coupe.

The width of the rear are emphasized by the horizontal line of the narrow back lights, bearing the trademark L- shape design, integrated as LED bulbs which, while driving, give the impression of incandescent metal. The short trunk, aerodynamically designed closes up the volume of this concept in a sporty style.

All throughout the creation and design stages I have sought to produce strong features, without unnecessary exaggerations. Although the design can described as sensual, the overall package is inspired by BMW and German engineering. Think about the timeless look of the 60s coupes (Ferrari Daytona or the original Maserati Ghibli), whose appeal will always fascinate everyone. I’m searching to achieve a perfect balance between innovation and styling with not just a sportiness approach but also an elegant driving presence. It’s about the passion combined with classical BMW proportions in a postmodernist shape.

The design is mainly about energy and in this case the sensation given by a summer stormy rain which served also as an inspiration for those sketches. I uploaded an inspirational slideshow with a superb soundtrack single “Rain” by MARA from “In Love with Love” album (available whom I want to thank in this way again for her kindness to accompany the concept with her wonderful voice.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Mitsubishi Concept SUVs Coming to Tokyo Motor Show

Montero? Is That You?