The new BMW M135i didn’t get a lot of glowing reviews when it first came out. But sometimes, the car world just needs some time to adjust to the fact that the 1er is no longer a rear-wheel drive model. And that is a very controversial topic when it comes to the Bavarian brand. The new 1 Series is a better car than the old one overall, but for some people that doesn’t really matter. All they want is mind-numbing performance, and the looks and sounds to go with it.
The M135i delivers on those front in standard guise. Having driven it myself, when speaking about it, words like ‘capable’ and ‘exceeds expectations’ pop up. Sure, there’s always room for improvement, but overall, this is a fun to drive, FWD car, with a lot going for it. Can tuners like AC Schnitzer improve on that recipe? Well, the video below should shed some light, at least in the sound department.
The German tuner came up with a couple of upgrades for the exhaust and you can check out how much of a difference they make, courtesy of the two video below. The setup on this particular car is not exactly complicated. All that has been changed was the final silencer, with one made by AC Schnitzer. It’s entirely made of stainless steel and has the ‘Carbon Sport’ tailpipes installed. According to the tuner, this not only makes your car louder but improves the air flow as well and makes your car faster.
What you should also know is that there are other options available from AC Schnitzer or other tuners out there, should you want a different sound for your M135i. However, if you replace more of the exhaust, removing the Otto Particulate Filter this car comes with may be mandatory and that means your car will probably no longer be road-legal. This setup, on the other hand, includes the OPF and is perfectly fine with the current legislation in Europe.
Back in 1972, BMW debuted its first ever electric car — the BMW 1602 Electric-Antrieb — which was used as a shuttle for the ’72 Olympics. It was essentially a 1602 that had been converted to electric power, all the way back in the ’70s. Beat that Tesla. Of course, the 1602 Electric amounted to almost nothing and BMW stopped playing with electric cars for several decades afterward. That doesn’t mean that the little electric 1602 didn’t capture the hearts of some enthusiasts, though.
Designer David Obendorfer decided to develop a concept of what a BMW 1602 Electric would look like today, if it were reimagined. What he came up with was the BMW 02 Reminiscence concept and it’s immediately recognizable as a reimagined BMW 1602. Without being overly retro, the 1602 Reminiscence is a faithful reimagining of the old Olympic shuttle and is very clearly a BMW. In fact, it looks more like a proper BMW than many modern BMWs.
Being an electric concept, Obendorfer played around with the front end, which wouldn’t need any grilles for cooling. So it gets a wide gray panel that’s split in two, down the middle, with the shape of the 1602’s kidney grille sort of embossed in the panel. The concept car also gets the beautiful shoulder line that accentuated not only the 1602 but also the iconic BMW 2002.
In this new video from Frank Stephenson, he breaks down the 02 Reminiscence and what makes it such a good concept design. Obviously, Stephenson is more capable of describing the finer points of its design than I am, and he seems to be a big fan of this concept. Stephenson also says that it’s a car he’d love to drive and we have to agree. If BMW, or anyone really, would turn such a good looking concept car into a production car, we’d all be very excited.
We’re here to break down email marketing as it applies to bloggers, so let’s dive in. One of the questions I’m asked most frequently by readers who are new to blogging is, “When should I start building my email list?”
My answer to that question is always today. As a blogger, it’s never too early (or too late) to start building your email list.
While there are certainly many different ways to monetize your blog, the potential for generating a meaningful amount of income from your blog, grows substantially with the size of your email list. As the number of readers on your email list grows, so does your ability to recommend or sell them relevant (useful) products or services.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. When you purchase a product or tool using one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me keep all of this in-depth content free of charge to you. Know that I only recommend tools I’ve personally used and stand behind.
There’s even an ancient proverb in the blogging world that sums up the importance of growing your email list from day one with your blog… “There’s always money in the banana stand email list.”
All jokes aside, before we dive into this guide, let’s talk about what an email list is (and isn’t) in the context of blogging.
What is an email list for bloggers?
Your email list refers to the community of email subscribers you’re collecting from the pool of readers who come to your blog. Your email subscribers are the people who’ve opted in (by submitting their email addresses in a form embedded on your blog) to receive regular updates, new content notifications, recommendations and/or offers from you—directly to their email inboxes.
While blogging may be the best way to build an online presence, snag search traffic and establish yourself as an expert in your field, email marketing is how you can personally connect with your target audience. Unlike social media and search engines, nothing can prevent you from reaching everyone on your email list.
Email marketing is so powerful for bloggers because it’s a direct channel between you and your readers—that you get to personally own and control.
Clearly, email marketing can be a powerful weapon in the blogger’s digital marketing arsenal.
Here are four key ways email is stands out from other marketing techniques for bloggers:
It’s personal: Email marketing allows you to personalize messages for each individual in your email list. By collecting information about your readers at sign up, you can create segmented lists (using an email marketing tool like ConvertKit) that allow you to tailor your message in all sorts of creative ways.
It’s measurable: While almost all digital marketing channels include some sort of analytics to gauge results, email is one of the most easily measurable. The impact of email campaigns can often be measured in real-time across a wide range of behaviors, allowing you to accurately determine the ROI of your efforts.
It’s scalable: Email is arguably the greatest one-to-many communication tool ever invented, especially for bloggers. No matter how large your list grows, email allows you to deliver a consistent experience to everyone on your list.
It can be automated: Not only can email campaigns be written and scheduled in advance, they can be triggered by all kinds of user behaviors to give your audience the right message at the right time.
Alright, so clearly email marketing is a major channel you need to pay attention to as a blogger.
But beyond just its benefits from a marketing perspective, email marketing also stands to help you monetize your blog much more effectively.
How bloggers can profit from email marketing
No matter what your blog is about, you’re probably asking yourself these kinds of questions daily…
Well, guess what… email marketing can help you in all three of these departments.
Email marketing can increase traffic to your blog
Even your most enthusiastic fans won’t catch every new piece of content you publish.
Most of us simply don’t have the time to revisit our favorite blogs everyday to see if there’s anything new.
As work and other things continue to vie for our time, it’s easy to lose interest and focus our attention elsewhere.
Email gives you a chance to let everyone on your list know exactly when you publish new articles and allows you to stay top-of-mind for potentially thousands of people. When combined with a consistent posting schedule, email marketing can help you regularly steer large amounts of traffic directly to your latest and greatest content.
You can even use automated drip campaigns (when using one of these top email marketing tools) to send some of your older posts to new subscribers, exposing more people to your best articles and extending their shelf life.
Email marketing can increase your regular blog readership
Readers that voluntarily opt-in to your email list have demonstrated that they have more than just passing interest in your content.
They’re genuine fans and potential leads you can cultivate into paying customers. By taking advantage of the personalization emails make possible, along with some clever content, you can turn your subscribers into your own personal marketing team.
Not convinced? According to my recent blogging statistics, blog posts are 3.5 times more likely to be shared on social media by your email subscribers.
Email also gives you a chance to give people special bonuses like eBooks, white papers, templates or video courses as incentives for signing up and joining your list. Some examples you can gather inspiration from right here on my blog include things like:
These attractive offers can draw more people to your site, and in turn, grow your blog readership as more people discover your content.
Email marketing can help you monetize your blog
Email marketing allows you to build real connections with your audience and personalize your content to better match with their interests.
By building trust with your email list, you’ll be in a better position to eventually sell them products and services. Here are a few examples of ways you can monetize your blog.
Word to the wise: If you do choose to go this route, don’t just load up your emails with a bunch of ads and sacrifice writing meaningful content.
Too many ads or ads that have nothing to do with the topic of your newsletter will undermine your credibility and get people clicking on the “Mark as spam” button. This puts you in hot water with your ESP and chips away any trust you’ve built with your audience.
Instead, try to find sponsors that have products and services that align well with your content and tactfully direct your users to them when appropriate.
14 key email marketing terms (explained)
Like any discipline, email marketing has its own vernacular.
Here’s a glossary of some of the most common words and acronyms you’ll encounter.
Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of email addresses in your subscriber list that didn’t receive your message. An email is classified as a bounce when it cannot be delivered and is rejected by a subscriber’s email server. Bounces are divided into two categories, hard and soft bounces. A hard bounce indicates a permanent reason someone could not receive your email. Invalid email addresses, domain names that no longer exist or being blocked can all cause hard bounced. A soft bounce usually indicates a temporary delivery issue, like a full inbox or an offline server.
CTA (Call to action): A CTA is an image or line of text that encourages your audience to take action—like make a purchase, click a link, sign up for a course, etc.
CTR (Click Through Rate): CTR is the percentage of people who clicked on at least one link in your email message.
Delivery Rate: The percentage of emails that were successfully delivered to the recipients’ inboxes. It is the total number of emails sent, minus hard and soft bounces, divided by the gross number of emails sent.
Double Opt-in: This is a two step process by which subscribers must confirm their opt in by clicking a link in a confirmation email or responding to the confirmation email in some other way.
Drip Campaign: Drip campaigns are a sequence of emails that are triggered by a specific user action or timeline and are delivered in a specific order.
ESP (Email Service Provider): An email service provides is a company that provides email marketing or bulk email services
Open Rate: This is the percentage of subscribers who have opened your email. Open rates vary wildly across industries, but in general, you want to see at least 20% or better.
Pre-header text: The small amount of text that is displayed in some email clients to give a preview of the email’s content.
Personalization: This refers to adding personalized elements to your email message based on information you have collected about that specific user. This could include using the recipient’s name, referencing their location, order history, or other data.
Segmentation: This refers to diving your list into various categories depending on your subscribers’ geographic location, interests, purchase history, and more.
Spam: Illegitimate or unsolicited email messages.
Transactional Email: Transactional emails are automated messages triggered by the specific actions of a user. Some examples are welcome emails, shipping notices, order confirmations, password reminders, and purchase receipts.
Unsubscribes: This is the number of your subscribers that have voluntarily chosen to unsubscribe from your email list.
These are the basic email marketing-related terms you’ll need to familiarize yourself with—but expect to see plenty more enter the scene as time goes on.
Be sure to include a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of your emails
Honor unsubscribes and stop sending people messages if they no longer want to receive them
Next up in our email marketing regulations discussion, let’s (quickly) talk GDPR.
GDPR: What it is and why you should care
On April 14, 2016, the EU Parliament voted in favor of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which established a set of data privacy laws across Europe.
Some of these regulations govern the use of email marketing in ways all marketers should be familiar with, whether you explicitly do business in Europe or not:
Email consent must be freely given: Users must actively provide consent. Pre-checked boxes and similar mechanisms are not compliant with GDPR. Email consent also needs to be separate from any other terms or conditions. Under GDPR, you can’t force people to subscribe to your email list in exchange for a free eBook you wrote, whitepaper or download.
Records of this consent must be kept: GDPR requires companies to keep accurate records of consent when people sign up for email lists. Your ESP should be able to help in this regard.
You may need to get consent from existing subscribers: If you have no record or evidence you received consent, you may need to launch a re-permission campaign to document consent.
How to build an email marketing strategy for your blog in 7 steps
In order to be successful with your blog email marketing (in terms of driving traffic and monetizing your content), you’ll need a clear strategy. Here’s mine.
1. Identify your email marketing goals
Top performers in any field, from sports to business, set goals for themselves to focus their performance and prioritize their time and resources.
Succeeding in email marketing isn’t any different.
Here are a few goals you may want to consider for your own email marketing efforts:
Get more subscribers: The money is in the list. A healthy, growing list of subscribers is what will enable you to accomplish all of the wonderful things I’ve mentioned in this article. But it’s important to realize that lists decay by about 22% every year as people change email addresses, unsubscribe, and even just lose interest. You need to constantly work at growing your list if you want to take advantage of the power of email marketing.
Increase engagement: Maybe you’ve already started collecting email addresses and sending newsletters. Now you need to focus your efforts increasing engagement. After all, having a massive list is worthless if your audience is not taking action. Engagement could come in the form of opens, click through, social shares or even email responses.
Grow traffic and increase conversions: As you advance in the email marketing game and develop products and services to sell to your audience, you’re naturally going to focus on increasing conversions. Email is a great tool for both nurturing leads and converting them into paying customers.
2. Create a strategic plan of action
Now that you’ve determined your goals, you can start building your email strategy.
This plan doesn’t have to be overly complex or lengthy—think of it as a general outline for how you will create and schedule your content so you can stay focused and meet your objectives.
A good email strategy has 4 main components:
Identify your audience.
All great content starts with having a firm handle on who your audience is.
Who are you speaking to?
What are they interested in?
How does this align with what you are offering?
If you’ve already started your blog, you probably have a good idea of who your audience is—but depending on the way you’ve captured emails on your blog, your subscriber list may have more narrowed interests.
For example, if you’ve placed email capture forms on blog posts with a specific focus or topic (like cooking for instance), then you know that the subscribers who came in through those forms are interested in that subject. The better acquainted you are with your readers, the easier it will be for you to write compelling content that will keep them hooked.
Separating your audience into different categories depending on their interests, location, or behaviors will enable you to develop different versions of your content that can be tailored for each group.
Define your content.
Great, you now know exactly who your audience is and what your goals are.
Now you have to figure out what exactly you’re going to send them.
In addition to sending your audience your latest blog posts, think of other ways you could take advantage of email to offer more personalized and focused messages.
For example, you could send companion content that offers a behind the scenes look at the blog post outline that fueled your latest article, write holiday or special event themed messages, send surveys or polls that ask for feedback and share the results, or curate content from other blogs or websites.
Additionally, you may create different versions of your content based on the segments you create. The more segments you have, the more you can tailor your content to match your audience.
Take for example, how I’ve created a series of hosting-related articles here on my blog that address different segments of my audience:
Most new bloggers send a monthly newsletter, but there are no hard and fast rules here.
You may have to experiment to determine exactly what the right cadence is for your audience—and as you begin to publish more content, it’ll make sense to deliver more emails to your growing list. Some bloggers have found success sending weekly or even daily emails to their list, especially if their business revolves heavily around their email lists.
If you do choose to send frequent emails, make sure that they are high quality and deliver value.
If you ever have to choose between taking time to write a quality email or needing to just send something out to readers to keep up with your schedule, error on the side of quality.
Sending out a low value or rushed email just to maintain consistency will do more harm than good.
To start out, stick to a monthly schedule and then adjust as you get into the groove with your content.
You’ll also need to pick which day and time you’ll be sending your email out.
Mondays and Fridays typically have lower open rates than other days of the week, as most people are either coming back from their weekend or starting it.
According to most recent blogging data, Tuesdays are your best bet—but again, experiment to find what works best with your particular audience.
Create a schedule.
With your content and cadence firmly in mind, it’s time to set a production schedule to ensure you’re cranking out great emails.
Being consistent with your email marketing is one of the best ways to grow your list.
Your production schedule will be unique to you based on your personal circumstances and methods. Start by estimating how long it will take you to gather ideas, write your content, and design your email or template and try to develop a realistic schedule you’ll be able to stick to.
You may even think about writing a few email campaigns in advance and scheduling them in your ESP to give yourself a little wiggle room.
Once all of these elements are firmly in place, the last thing left to do is hit send!
It can be a little nerve wracking to shoot off your first email, but keep in mind that email marketing is all about continuous improvement.
Take advantage of the analytics your ESP provides to iterate and improve your emails with each send.
Email marketing do’s and don’ts.
DO: Grow your email list by providing valuable content DON’T: Buy a list of email addresses. Ever. DO: Write catchy pre-header text DON’T: Use spammy words or phrases DO: Segment your list and use personalization DON’T: Send the same email to everyone on your list DO: Write emails that contain valuable or entertaining content for your readers DON’T: Spam your readers with low value messages DO: Use analytics to refine your content and strategy DON’T: Ignore your email metrics DO: Try A/B testing multiple designs and formats to see which is more effective DON’T: Copy someone else’s content
Now, let’s talk about how to choose the right ESP (email service provider).
3. Pick your email service provider
Email service providers (ESP) are companies that offer bulk emailing services and are critical partners in your email marketing campaigns.
Here are the top 3 email service providers for bloggers in 2021:
ESPs like these three above provide a wide range of services that are essential to your email marketing efforts—including tracking, list management, email deliverability as well as ensuring your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant.
Aside from these basic features, you may want to evaluate what advanced features will be important for your email marketing campaigns.
Automation: Drip campaigns, transactional emails, and other forms of automation can greatly expand your email marketing capabilities and allow you to send the right messages at precisely the right time. Most of today’s popular ESPs offer the ability to both automate and schedule messages in advance, but ConvertKit is by far the leader in this category today.
Templates: While plain-text emails still serve an important service, you’re going to want to send eye-catchings emails that look great across all email clients and operating systems. Coding up HTML emails is notoriously difficult. Flexible templates can help you craft beautiful emails that make your content shine.
Advanced analytics: Understanding just how well your campaigns are performing is an essential part of email marketing. Unlike print, radio, or television marketing, email is extremely trackable. Your ESP should offer you a variety of analytics in an easy to use dashboard so you can constantly improve your email campaigns.
Mobile-friendly: According to Hubspot, 46% of email opens happen on mobile devices. It’s critical that your emails look good across a variety of screen sizes and operating systems. A good ESP should offer tools to both create and test your email designs so you can be sure they look great no matter what devices they’re being viewed on.
Aside from these key features, your biggest priority should be finding an ESP that fits within your budget.
Fortunately, most of the leading ESPs have a variety of very low-cost plans (and free trials) for bloggers and solopreneurs, which can still help keep your costs of blogging very low.
As your list grows and your needs increase, you’ll need to either sign up for a paid monthly plan or pay a fee for each individual campaign you send.
Free email marketing tools and resources:
TestSubject: The three factors which influence email open rates the most are the sender name, the subject line, and the pre-header text (the little preview of an email’s content displayed in some email clients). Smart marketer’s optimize these three factors to give their email a better shot at earning an open. TestSubject is a free tool that allows you to preview what your sender name, subject line, and pre-header text look like on a variety of popular mobile devices. It also helps you avoid the potentially cringe-worthy effects of truncation that can happen to some unfortunately worded subject lines (see below).
ISnotSPAM: The vast majority of email accounts use sophisticated spam filters to prevent illegitimate or nefarious emails from making it into the inbox. The problem is that many of these spam filters could mistakenly flag your message for spam if has certain characteristics. When your email lands in the spam bin, your message is not reaching its intended audience and your time and effort is wasted—this is a definite blogging mistake to avoid. Additionally, your ESP could be flagged which could put your account at risk. ISnotSPAM is a free service that will analyze your email for any spammy characteristics and highlight any changes you should make. Simply send your email to the address on their site and view your report.
Hemingway: The best emails are bold and clear. They’re not loaded down with useless jargon or overly complicated words. Even the best writers benefit from a second set of eyes to make sure they haven’t gotten too wordy. So what can you do if you can’t afford the services of a professional editor? Try Hemingway, a free web and desktop app that’s the will analyze your writing and offer suggestions on how to ensure your writing has more impact.
CoSchedules Email Subject Line Checker:A good subject line is one of the most powerful ways you can influence someone to open your email. The Email Subject Line Checker by CoSchedule is an easy-to-use tool that grades your subject lines and gives specific, data-backed suggestions for optimizing them.
4. Optimize your blog to get more email subscribers
You collect email addresses by putting email capture forms on your website.
ESPs typically provide an HTML/CSS code snippet you can copy and paste into the code of your website or template—and ConvertKit integrates directly with all of the top WordPress themes.
Where you place your email capture form and what information you collect can have a big impact on your results. Additionally, you may choose to use a combination of locations for optimal effect.
Here are a few pros and cons for each:
In your header: Putting your email capture form in your header by your site navigation is a solid choice. It’s easy to see, displayed across all pages, and be integrated seamless into your site design.
In your footer: The footer at the bottom of your website is another good choice for you email capture form. It’s not too prominent on the page, which is great for the user experience, but some may miss it if they don’t scroll down far enough.
On a separate landing page: Having a separate landing page for your email capture form may not get as much traffic as other pages on your site, but it will give you a chance to sell people on why they should sign up for your list and all the benefits they can expect to receive. In turn, this may result in subscribers that are less fickle and more invested in receiving your emails.
At the bottom of each blog post: This is a great strategy because it allows you to tweak your copy for each post and also segment your list based on topic depending on which posts each form is attached to. It can be a bit cumbersome to implement, but it’s a great tactic that will help you personalize your message in unique ways.
In an exit popup: An exit-intent popup uses clever code to display a popup when someone tries to leave your website. It’s an attention grabbing method that can be really effective, but may also irritate some users. Use sparingly.
In addition to placement, you want to think about what information you will request in your form.
The less information you ask for, the easier it will be for people to sign up. While this sounds appealing, you will have very little information about your audience to go on when you write your content. This makes it harder to target them with personalized content and compelling offers.
If you ask for too many details, this creates more friction and you’ll see fewer people signing up for your list. Writing compelling content will be easier, but fewer people will finish the process and join your list.
Experiment to find a healthy balance that will work best for you.
5. Increase your email open rates
In addition to the trust and goodwill you’ve built with your audience, the top three factors that influence your email open rate are your subject line, sender name/email and pre-header text.
Here are a few best practices and suggestions for improving the effectiveness of each:
Keep it short and sweet
Don’t use spammy words like free, limited time, special offer, etc
Be descriptive yet appeal to curiosity
Avoid all caps
Use a familiar name your audience will recognize
Avoid a ‘no-reply’ email address
Ensure your email address matches your URL
Work with your subject line to convey an exciting message
Include a call to action
You typically have around 100 characters to work with, use all of it
Keep it concise
On a related note to subject lines, check out my guide about how to write a headline for your blog posts (to truly capture the attention to your readers).
6. Boost your email clickthrough rates
If people are opening your emails but you’re not seeing click through, this could signal problems with your email design, content, or the CTA you’re using.
Here are some tried-and-true suggestions you can try to drive higher clickthrough rates in your email marketing campaigns:
An overly text heavy, long, or visually unappealing email will keep people from clicking.
Focus on making your emails scannable, and use eye catching images to make your emails interesting to look at.
Use responsive email templates (like those included in ConvertKit) to ensure your emails look great on all kinds of devices.
When it comes to email, whether in the context of messaging your email list or in doing smart blogger outreach, brevity is usually the name of the game. Nobody wants to read an overly long email so keep your thoughts concise and organize your thoughts into scannable chunks.
Pay attention to your analytics to ensure your content is resonating with your readers. Ask for feedback from readers and apply their suggestions to write more compelling content.
Sometimes the problem is simply your call-to-action. An unclear or unappealing CTA will be ineffective— focus on making your CTAs clear, enticing, and easy.
Use large text, buttons, or vibrant colors to draw people in.
Additionally, try to have only one CTA in your email. Multiple CTAs will be confusing to your readers and undermine their effectiveness.
7. Monetize your email list
Email marketing is a great way to inform and entertain your audience, as well as build relationships and nurture leads.
The ALPINA XB7 is an interesting car because it’s probably the less visibly different to the BMW on which it’s based than any other ALPINA product. Sure, it looks better thanks to the wheels and it has some nicer trim on the inside but, as far as the eye can tell, it’s not all that different than a BMW X7 M50i, which wears a much cheaper price tag. So Autocar wonders whether or not the ALPINA is worth the extra money.
There’s a real argument to be made that it isn’t wroth the price premium. The ALPINA XB7 is a brilliant SUV but so too is the BMW X7 M50i and, since both cars are so similar, why spend the extra money? On paper, there doesn’t seem like much reason to do so. The XB7 does make a bit more power, with its ALPINA-tuned 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 600 horsepower and 590 lb-ft, versus the 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of the X7 M50i. Though, that doesn’t translate into too much more speed.
Additionally, the X7 M50i is already incredibly supple, packs a very similar interior with equally gorgeous materials and has the exact same space inside. So there’s an argument to be made that the X7 M50i is the better buy. Though, we’d argue that if you can spend over $100,000 on an uber-luxury SUV, the ALPINA XB7 is absolutely worth the premium because of the way it drives.
Drive any BMW product back-to-back with its ALPINA equivalent and you’ll immediately notice the latter’s silkier steering, more nuanced ride quality and more enjoyable handling. There’s a fluidity to the way ALPINAs drive that feels superior to their BMW counterparts. Driving an ALPINA, using its controls, feels like operated slick, well-oiled, precision machinery. It’s almost difficult to put into words. Plus, even if the ALPINA might not feel that much better, it’s nice to know that it actually is better and more capable.
For example, during a BMW press event on track, ALPINA had sent over a few XB7 SUVs for us journalists to test. Surprisingly, I saw those XB7s sitting on track, waiting to be thrashed. Bewildered, I asked the BMW execs if we were actually going to get to drive the massive luxury war elephants on track. Not only did they say yes but they said it was at the demand of ALPINA boss Andreas Bovenseipen. He specifically told BMW to track-drive the ALPINA XB7 and sent over several sets of tires to destroy in the process. That’s how you know ALPINA means business and that’s how you know they’re worth the extra money.
If there is one misconception about the new 2021 BMW M3 and M4 is that the two M brothers were built and designed for the Chinese market. But today, in a meeting with BMW M, we learned that, as expected, the U.S. market and customers are the real target for the G80 M3 and G82 M4. Nearly 45 percent of future G80 M3 customers are expected to come from the United States (40 percent) and Canada (5 percent). Out of those, 12 percent are more likely to grab the standard rear-wheel drive M3, 28 percent of them the M3 Competition RWD and the rest 60 percent will likely opt for the M3 Competition with M xDrive.
The second market share is reserved for the United Kingdom (14 percent), followed by the Germany with 7 percent. The sales in China are expected to represent a market share of 6 percent, same as Australia, and ahead of Japan at 4 percent. The G82 M4 Coupe seems to be less popular in North America with a projected market share of 34 percent – 30% for the US. The UK again comes second with 18 percent, preceding Germany (12 percent), China (11 percent) and Japan (5 percent).
The model split is similar to the G80 M3 sedan. 8 percent of customers are expected to take ownership of the rear-wheel drive M4, while 29 percent could be interested in the M4 Competition model. The largest market share by models is reserved for the M4 Competition with all-wheel drive.
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, we sat down for a Zoom interview with Domagoj Dukec, BMW Head of Design. We asked him point-blank if the massive and controversial kidney grille was designed with the Chinese market in mind. “We don’t design cars for specific markets,” Dukec said at the time. “Of course, we look at the trends and influences in different markets, but in the end, we are a global company and with a global lineup,” added the chief designer.
BMW has also emphasized over the last few months during many formal and informal discussions with us that this new direction in design aims to shake up the revolutionary design approach we’ve seen in the past decade. For years, many BMW customers have asked for a broader differentiation in design, moving away from the stigma of “same sausage, different lengths.” And if there is one thing that’s clear is that the new M3 and M4 will have no problem standing out in the BMW lineup, or even on the road among other brands.
With the new generation of BMW M3 and M4, the Bavarians have decided to make a big change to one very specific function and it’s a change that will make many enthusiasts happy. With both the new M3 and M4, manual transmission drivers will be able to turn off auto-rev matching independently of other settings. Manual lovers rejoice.
In most recent BMWs equipped with manual transmissions, auto rev-matching was a default function and could only be turned off if both traction control and stability control were also turned off. It was an odd decision because it essentially forced heel-and-toe enthusiasts to turn off all dynamic safety functions in order to properly enjoy their manuals. It frustrated many BMW enthusiasts, as they couldn’t safely heel-and-toe, which is a skill most enthusiast practiced for years before perfecting.
Now, BMW has listened to the enthusiasts and has allowed for auto rev-matching to be turned on or off completely independently of other settings. It will be its own function that can be toggled on or off, via the iDrive screen. But now it begs the question — is auto rev-matching really lame or actually kind of cool?
I know, I know, I know, you’re taking away my enthusiast-card for even suggesting that auto rev-matching could be anything other than lame. However, I must admit that, sometimes, I actually kind of like it.
See, I’m a lazy man by nature and if there’s not some sort of incentive, I don’t feel like doing extra work. While driving on a twisty back road and having fun, of course I want full control over my manual. There’s something so deliciously satisfying about nailing a perfect rev-match on my own, with no computer assistance. However, slogging away in mundane everyday traffic, I just don’t feel like it. There’s no fun incentive there to do the extra mental work. So, during those circumstances, having the car perfectly match revs on its own is kinda nice.
Also, I must admit, I’m not the best at heel-and-toe. I have relatively small feet (ha ha, snicker all you want but I’m 5’9″ and everything’s in proportion), so if a car doesn’t have really well-placed pedals for heel-and-tow, it can be tricky for me. Plus, my brain sometimes has a hard time getting my two feet to work three pedals, while also trying to concentrate on driving. So only when it’s fun to do, such as when driving spiritedly, do I actually want to do it.
Which is why I’m so happy to hear that BMW is making it a selectable function. For someone like me that likes rev-matching on their own but can also appreciate the car doing it for them in certain circumstances, having the option to choose is wonderful. Plus, choice really is the greatest luxury of all. So thank you, BMW, for making it something we can easily choose, rather than something that we have to be scared to turn off.
In an unusual turn of events, MINI gave its current crop of three-door and five-door hatchbacks a second facelift. Due to some sluggish sales and bad timing, BMW Group felt that a full-on generation change for the current MINIs was a bit too costly at the moment. So we won’t see another generation of MINI for a couple of years. Instead, to keep things fresh, the MINI Cooper received its second makeover and now its making its media rounds.
This newly nipped and tucked MIN Cooper was driven through Hamburg, Germany, one of the biggest shipping cities in all of Europe and the main point of entry and exit for cargo ships in its home country. Being the MINI speaks German as well as it does English, Germany is like a home away from home.
In this new photo gallery, we get to see a Chili Red MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door slice through the port-laden city of Hamburg and the bright red paint work really pops under the gray sky. The city of Hamburg is as beautiful as it is old and the MINI works perfectly on its tight, cobblestone streets. The original Mini was developed for cities just like Hamburg and, despite having grown immensely since the original, the new one proves its DNA by still working well in the city.
We’re also happy to see that, despite being an aging design, the current MINI Cooper still looks really good. Its shape is timeless and the new grille design actually works quite well, even though it’s a bit of a last minute refresh. Most of its competition is newer, faster, more spacious, safer, and brimming with newer tech but the MINI Cooper is still one of the most desirable hatchbacks on the market and this photo gallery shows us why.
BMW’s new 4 Series Convertible gets a new photoshoot in Germany. Featured here is the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive Convertible painted in the new San Remo Green color. This new BMW 4 Series Convertible is obviously based on the brand-new 4 Series Coupe, so it gets all of the same new styling elements and mostly the same mechanics. Obviously the biggest change is that its roof folds down.
Last-generation’s 4 Series Convertible used a folding metal roof, making it a hard-top convertible. This new drop-top 4er ditches the folding metal roof for a 40-percent lighter, less complex soft-top and it’s all the better for it. Not only does reduce weight but it also lowers the center of gravity, as that weight loss is up high in the chassis structure.
Thanks to having a much more compact roof structure, the new 4 Series Convertible gains an additional 1.2 cubic feet of trunk space, bumping it to a total of 9.0 cubic feet. One cool aspect of this new soft-top roof is the fact that it comes in two different colors. There’s the standard black roof, which is rather obvious, but there’s also the optional Moonlight Black roof, which adds a metallic shimmer to it in direct sunlight.
BMW has gone to work to increase the torsional rigidity and strength of this new 4 Series Convertible. Additional front bracing connects the front shock towers to the bulkhead as well as the front end and more bracing was added to the rear axle as well. New side skirts with additional rigidity have been added, as well as a sheer panel to the front end, a new rear floor plate and a reinforced transmission tunnel. All of which are designed to make the Convertible as close to the Coupe, in terms of rigidity, as possible.
Aside from those Convertible-specific changes, this new topless 4 Series is still a 4 Series. So it still handles every bit as well; thanks to the same as-standard lift-related dampers or adaptive suspension; and gets the same engines. In the US market, there will be the BMW 430i Convertible and BMW M440i Convertible, both of which will be offered with either standard rear-wheel drive or optional xDrive all-wheel drive.
The BMW 430i gets the same 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the Coupe, making 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. While the BMW M440i Convertible still gets a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six with 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The M440i also gets a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup.
San Remo Green and not only is it fabulous but it’s also just one of several new interesting colors. Portimao Blue Metallic, Artic Race Blue Metallic, Sunset Orange Metallic and Bluestone Metallic all combine with the standard suite of BMW colors to offer a more complex pallet than most other BMWs. They’re all welcome additions but San Remo Green is the most exciting.
The BMW M850i is one of my favorite cars in the Bavarian car maker’s range today. It has more than enough power, looks that could kill and the performance to match. There is one aspect that could use a bit of improvement though, especially in the EU — the sound. The 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 of the M850i is not exactly known for its outstanding sound. It’s decent but overall considered by many to be too quiet.
And in Europe, the reason for that quietness hasn’t got a lot to do with the engine itself but with the European Parliament. That’s where legislation was put in place, forcing car makers to use particulate filters even on petrol-powered cars, virtually muting them. It’s a shame too, as the M850i has one of the best sounds overall but you might miss it completely if you’re not careful. That’s something the guys from Armytrix might help you out with.
They are known for making some of the loudest exhaust systems in the world and that’s not usually to my taste. In the case of the M850i though, considering how toned down the car is in the first place, their products actually work. What you hear in the video below is a valvetronic setup. That means you can control whether the valves in the exhaust are open or closed, with the car’s on-board buttons.
You should also know that this is a de-catted exhaust which means it won’t be road-legal in many places. Removing the cats is a big no-no and is only recommended for track use, as it improves engine response and can actually improve horsepower ratings slightly. So, while the sound of the M850i is really enticing with this exhaust on, it may be an issue for you to use it on public roads, depending on the laws in the country where you reside. Other than that, let’s enjoy some V8 sounds.
Some brands are so loved and respected that they make it seem like we’ve had them around for ages. And yet, that’s not the case most of the time. Amazon wasn’t even a thing no more than 20 years ago. Apple was a medium-sized company before the iPhone came out and that was just 14 years ago. The BMW M division, believe it or not, is going to turn 50 next year.
The BMW sub-division was founded officially in 1972 but work on this project started a few years before that, thanks to Jochen Neerpasch. It was a necessary step for the Bavarian brand as they wanted to keep being competitive in all sorts of Motorsport events for the years to come. And for that, they needed a special department to handle all that. Over these five decades, marvelous machines came out of the capable hands of the engineers working there and we are extremely lucky to be on the receiving end of their hard work today.
As you might imagine, BMW won’t let the occasion pass without a proper celebration. The ‘most powerful letter in the world’ needs to be acknowledged and according to some internet rumors, the people in Munich are preparing a few special models to mark the occasion. As far as we can gather, these cars will be based on models that are currently on sale but they will have special designs and features to remind us of how fast 50 years flew by and what achievements the BMW M division can boast with.
The special models will be built for a year, between March 2022 and 2023 and they will be introduced early next year. The company was founded in May 1972 so we should see the peak of the celebrations (which we imagine could last for the entirety of 2022) taking place in the last month of Spring.