BMW is joining the list of automakers expanding their regional Takata airbag recall into a nationwide one. In this case, 140,000 3 Series built for model years 2004 to 2006 are affected.
BMW quietly revealed a 5 Series GT concept earlier this week at an event in France, and it sports a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of a whopping 670 horsepower.
BMW quietly revealed a 5 Series GT concept earlier this week at an event in France, and it sports a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of a whopping 670 horsepower. That’s right, a hybrid BMW hatch-crossover with more estimated power than the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
BMW’s setup is called “Power eDrive,” and it uses a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that provides juice for two electric motors; they work with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This 5 Series GT would be able to travel for 62 miles under electric power.
The prototype shows the high-performance potential of the system, but the 5 Series GT is “purely a concept,” BMW spokesman Julian Arguelles told BMW Top News.
BMW revealed the prototypes to illustrate its plans to increase production of plug-in hybrids. Its goal is to add plug-in variants to all of its “core-brand models,” though specifics and timing are unclear.
“We believe that for the United States, this is going to be very important.” – Julian Arguelles
Let there be no doubt, BMW is serious about electric vehicles.
The German automaker said this week it will make plug-in hybrid versions of all of its core models, an aggressive move that demonstrates its commitment to electric propulsion systems. BMW did not specify which vehicles will get the plug-in systems or provide a timeline for when they will arrive.
But the announcement is clearly more than blustering, and the company revealed a 3 Series plug-in prototype this week at an event in France. BMW said the 3 Series uses a version of its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (240 horsepower, 300 pound feet of torque) with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission in place of the torque converter. It has an all-electric range of 22 miles. A plug-in X5 with the same powertrain was also displayed alongside the 3 Series, though the X5 has been on the auto-show circuit for more than a year, including a recent stop in Los Angeles.
To the casual observer, there’s a sort of schism in the world of fuel sipping. The Japanese, Koreans and Americans have embraced electrification by way of hybrid powertrains, while our German friends lean towards diesel technology. BMW is actively pushing to change that impression, as it’s announced that it will take a break from niche-busting MPVs and lifted, four-door coupes to produce plug-in hybrid versions of some of its “core-brand” models.
This charge will be led by a 3 Series eDrive, whose innards are shown above, with BMW fitting a version of its turbocharged four-cylinder and an electric motor to its popular sedan. This, it should be noted, is quite a departure from the ActiveHybrid 3, which relies on a thirstier 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder. More specific details, such as the total system output, the electric range of the plug-in system or the amount of time it will take to charge, aren’t yet available. BMW has, however, said the eDrive 3’s systems are “directly based” on those used in the i3 and i8, and that includes larger components, like the lithium-ion battery and electric motor.
“All BMW Group models benefit from BMW i. The fundamental technology involved in battery cells, electric motors and the power electronics will be used in our upcoming plug-in hybrid models,” said BMW board member Herbert Diess. “When it comes to the electrification of the drivetrain, we are deliberately developing a wide-ranging expertise in order to offer our customers worldwide the ideal solution.”
BMW will unveil a prototype of the 3 Series eDrive in Miramas, France, although it’s not clear when either it, or the X5 eDrive the company mentioned in its attached press release, will arrive to market.
Car and Driver is keeping new blood pumping into its annual 10Best cars list with three new entries making it on for 2015 and a perennial favorite falling off. Among the biggest shocks this year is that the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series are no longer named, despite years of some portion of that lineup earning a mention. In another surprise, the Tesla Model S (specifically in S 60 trim to fit under the $80,000 cost cap) makes it to the 2015 roster and is the only electrically motivated member of the group.
Despite the loss of the 3 Series, BMW isn’t entirely shut out this year, because the M235i gets its name on the list. Car and Driver argues that the little coupe feels like a welcome throwback to the E46 chassis M3 of the early 2000s. In addition to the Model S, the final newbie to the annual group is the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The inclusion of these new members knocks the Audi A6/A7 family and Ford Fiesta ST out from the 2014 rundown.
The 2015 10Best cars list certainly seems to have something for everyone from the hot hatch fan to the family man and even the green car driver, thanks to the addition of the Tesla. Head over to Car and Driver to read its detailed explanations for each vehicle’s inclusion, but if you’ve got a difference of opinion or just really like the list, let us know in Comments.
Looking at the current automotive landscape, especially from German makers, you quickly get the impression that less definitely isn’t more. BMW alone offers its 3 Series platform in practically every segment possible, including the regular sedan and 4 Series Gran Coupe, which would seem to be direct competitors. Porsche might be the winner, though, with 20 different variants of the 911 listed for sale on its US website. However, some of this model madness might be reaching an end as companies begin cutting back spending or shifting money to other priorities.
According to Yahoo Finance, the offerings from the German automakers are up 25 percent over the past three years to over 200 models in Europe. The peak is expected to come around 2018 at 230 separate vehicles, according to consulting company PwC.
Amazingly, BMW, which is among the poster children for this model explosion, might be changing its tune. “I’m sure there will be points in the future where we look at certain cars and say, ‘Maybe we need to think differently now,'” said head of sales Ian Robertson in an interview, according to Yahoo Finance. The statement certainly sounds shocking coming from a company rumored to have 23 front-wheel-drive vehicles all using a single platform on the way.
The shift in thinking might not be a question of whether automakers can build all of these distinct models, but rather if it’s the best way to invest their money. The small footprint of European dealers makes it difficult to show all of these vehicles off. Also, even if platforms and drivetrains are shared, there’s still the extra expense in marketing each one. Finally, “every single variant increases development and logistics expenditure,” said Porsche spokesperson Achim Schneider to Yahoo Finance.
So what do the German automakers do with the extra funds from not exploiting every possible niche? Volkswagen is reportedly working on cutting costs, and BMW is too. Also, Porsche is trying to grow overall sales. If this actually happens, maybe picking the perfect 911 will be a bit less complicated in just a few years.
In this installment of The List Shorts, Formula Drift driver Michael Essa demonstrates two versions of the classic donut in his BMW E36 3-Series. Host Jessi Combs attempts to replicate his technique in a Ford F-150 Tremor.
Watch as Jessi checks “perfect a donut” off of her list.