This newly facelifted BMW 5 Series is an outstanding all ’rounder. It’s comfortable, spacious, quiet, good looking and fun enough to drive for a big car. It’s no E39 5 Series in the twisties but it’s not bad, either. When it comes to all-around, daily-driving BMWs, the new G30 LCI 5 Series is about as good as it gets. More specifically, Joe Achilles seems to think that the BMW 530d Touring is the most complete BMW on sale and he has a good argument.
For you ‘Mericans reading, the BMW 530d Touring is a six-cylinder diesel version of the 5 Series with a wagon body style. However, it’s not the big-boy six-cylinder diesel, that would be the BMW 540d. Instead, the 530d is a bit less powerful but a bit more efficient. That means it makes 282 horsepower but also 479 lb-ft of torque. So it’s quite the punchy six-pot diesel. That power is sent through an eight-speed automatic to, in this case, an xDrive all-wheel drive system.
That much power might not sound exciting but it’s enough to hustle the heavy 530d xDrive Touring from 0-60 mph in just over five seconds. So it’s hot-hatch quick despite being a big, practical luxury car. Additionally, it manages to average around 45 mph, with a mix of both highway and spirited driving. If you baby it, you’ll see over 50 mph and a total range of almost 700 miles. That’s quite a remarkable combination of both performance and efficiency.
However, the BMW 530d Touring is also good to drive. It handles far better than its size and weight would suggest and it features a great interior. Plus, its wagon body style provides a ton of space. So when it comes to a BMW that you can own, drive everyday and use for almost every circumstance, it’s genuinely difficult to be the new 5er. Oh and it’s one of the last remaining good looking BMWs, as its grille hasn’t been bitten by a radioactive beaver just yet.
I must admit that I’m mildly obsessed with Lucid Motors. The new American EV brand is making big waves in the automotive world by offering Tesla levels of battery range and performance but with better technology and sexier styling. Lucid recently released the online configurator for its first upcoming car — the Lucid Air — and the entry-level model seems like an outstanding value.
Starting at $69,900 (after tax credits), the Lucid Air Pure — the entry-level model — packs a very healthy 480 horsepower and 406 miles of range. It must be said that the range is just Lucid’s claimed range and not its EPA-tested range, so that’s subject to change. However, the range for BMW’s iX is just a claimed range as well, so that’s all we can go by at the moment. Plus, Lucid’s execs are extremely confident that their claimed ranges will match the EPA’s tested ranges.
Considering that Lucid has been one of the developers for Formula E battery packs, there’s a good chance that the California-based manufacturer knows a thing or two about battery development. It also seems to know a thing or two about charging. Thanks to its 900-volt electrical architecture, the Air can charge up to 300 miles in just 20 minutes. Of course, there’s a caveat — to get that insanely fast charging speed, you need to use a 350 kWh DC fast charger, which is near-impossible to find at the moment. Admittedly, Lucid will sell you one for you home, called the “Wunderbox”, so you can take advantage of that blistering charging speed at home, even if you can’t out on the road.
Still, with 406 miles of range, you’re not likely to ever need to charge outside of your home. And if you can afford a $70,000 electric car, you can likely afford the Wunderbox. The Lucid Air is also the only car that can charge that quickly and it isn’t just down to its 350 kW charging speed. Tesla is working on that speed as well, however its chargers can only reach that peak speed for a very short amount of time. The Lucid Air is capable of 350 kWh for longer, hence the shorter charge time, due to advanced thermal battery management. Essentially, Lucid can keep its batteries cooler as they charge, so they can charge faster for longer.
Compare that charging speed to the BMW iX’s 150 kW charging and the Bavarian seems seriously behind the times. Not only is does the iX charge slower but it has 100 fewer miles of range, with around the same power but costing $30,000 more. The BMW iX’s flagship specs; 300 miles of range and 500 horsepower, are only going to be available on the top-shelf, six-figure car. The iX that will cost around BMW X5-money (between $60,000-$70,000) is going to have around 250 miles and 350 horsepower. So the Lucid will be the better value.
Admittedly, in BMW’s defense, its upcoming i4 will be a bit closer to the Air in terms of both its spec sheet and its body style, while also coming in at a lower price. Expect the BMW i4 to start somewhere around $50,000 but will only have a range of around 250 miles. While that’s an inferior range, the i4 is likely going to come in at around $20,000 cheaper than the Lucid Air, so its value proposition evens out a bit.
Still, the Lucid Air packs a more advanced electrical architecture and faster charging. Also, and this is entirely subjective, the Lucid looks better. It has a classic retro-futuristic French car look that I really like and its interior also looks very slick and modern.
While BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all try and take down Tesla, it seems that Lucid might be lobbing a monkey wrench into everyone’s plans. This new Air seems like a seriously impressive EV for a reasonable price.
In case you were looking to park a few million dollars, your chance to do that is here. A mint 1957 BMW 507 Roadster just popped up for sale on Bring-A-Trailer and it looks absolutely magnificent, with a matching price tag. The 507 is one of the rarest BMWs you can buy and it is known to go for ludicrously high prices. The last one we saw on sale exchanged hands for a cool $2.7 million.
The one on BaT hasn’t reached those levels yet, but the price is rising fast. It was listed at just over $500,000 a few days ago, but at the time of writing, the price tag already more than doubled, at $1,150,000. Will it break the record? It certainly seems so as the auction still has 10 days to go. As for the car itself, it is dressed up in black and it’s certainly one of a kind.
The car was part of the Series II production run and was initially bought by someone in Rome. The interior is done in cognac leather and the combination is simply stunning. It looks like it should for a car made in 1957 with 14,000 kilometers on the clock which is basically brand new. And while everything looks like a million bucks (literally) there is an issue with this car and I think it will prevent it from selling for a record-breaking sum: the engine.
According to the ad, the car doesn’t have its original engine anymore, using a 3.2-liter V8 instead. Apparently, this mill was installed early into the car’s life but we’re not given a reason as to why that happened. How that will affect the car’s value remains to be seen but the BMW records show that this is one of only 15 BMW 507 Roadster models finished in black. That should help with the pricing.
The BMW M760Li is the last V12-powered model to emerge from Munich. Production of the V12 powerplant will end this Fall and a direct successor is not planned due to the increasingly stringent exhaust gas standards and the demanding requirements for CO2 emissions in the European new vehicle fleet. Of course, the demand for the V12 BMW M760Li was never large enough, so that played a factor in the decision making process as well. The V12 is also being used by Rolls-Royce in its models, so it remains to be seen what the future looks like for the Goodwood-based automaker.
But before it bows out, the V12 still finds a life in some 7 Series models which are sold outside the European Union. So it comes as no surprise that this unique BMW M760Li hails from BMW Abu Dhabi Motors, a dealership known for its special models. The long wheelbase M760Li is painted in the Tanzanite Blue Metallic color from BMW Individual. The subdued, but exciting color was featured on other BMWs before, but not many of those were a 7 Series sedan.
The paintwork is paired with the Extended Shadow Line which comes with numerous accents in black high-gloss. The darkened kidney grille and the laser lights play well with the deep blue exterior color. The two-tone wheels further emphasize the exquisite look of the high-end limousine. In the back, the tailpipe trims look even more premium in high-gloss black than with the standard chrome color.
In the U.S., the BMW M760Li makes 612 horsepower with a sprint from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds. It’s the European version that got neutered by the OPF (Otto particle filter) reducing the power output to 585 horsepower. Peak torque reaches a staggering 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) at 1,500 rpm.
As far as performance, it was only the latest M models with M xDrive that were able to outperform the V12 models. Therefore, the argument for the twelve-cylinder became more and more difficult to make as the eight-cylinder units moved closer and closer in performance.
The new generation BMW M3 and M4 will have an extensive selection of variants. The high-selling M brothers will feature no less than four different versions of each model: the standard M3/M4, the Competition models, the CS and the top of the lines, CS. The previous generation F80 stopped at the CS, but the M4 was offered in the track-ready GTS. The G80 M3 CS and G82 M4 CS are expected to arrive in 2022, along with the M3 Touring.
But even before the market launch of the new M3, rendering artists have started to “pen” the CS version. Thanks to the Photoshop design by @bmw43__, we get to see what the potential M3 CS might look like. Similar to the previous CS models, the additional power is not the full story, even though we expect at least 525 horsepower on tap. The CS models have always refined the Competition variants, mostly through software tuning, and some aero upgrades.
The photoshoped image shows new headlights with yellow corona rings, similar to those on the M8 First Edition models or the M8 GTE racing car. The sideview gives us a look at the bronze-painted wheels, as we’ve seen on the M4 GTS. The rear-end is also likely to feature a more aggressive trunk lip, but without any other major changes. The ECU mapping will definitely be specific to the M3 CS, while the limited slip differential will be tuned up as well.
Historically, the CS models also have a refined interior design. Since the goal of a CS variant is to enhance the sportiness of an existing model, we expect to see plenty of carbon fiber inside, paired with a sportier steering wheel and some unique leather and trim combinations.
Of course, the M3 CSL and M4 CSL will be the pinnacle of the range. So it’s fair to assume that the exterior and interior changes will be significant, along with a weight loss plan. A power bump is also expected: our guess, at least 550 horsepower on tap.
The BMW i3 was never a perfect car. When it first launched, its battery was lacking on arrival, producing a lower total range than even some older competitors. It also lacked the performance punch of newer EVs at the time, such as the Tesla Model S. So, on paper, the i3 seemed a bit lackluster. Now, though, looking back at the i3 and how it’s evolved since its 2014 debut, it not only seems like a much better car but it also seems like it could be one of the best BMWs of all time.
Even today, the BMW i3 doesn’t do anything spectacular on paper. It’s still expensive, its range is still lacking and it’s not very powerful. However, the i3 is a lot more than just its spec sheet and is actually a surprisingly innovative car.
A Rarity In The Automotive World – Carbon Fiber Chassis
The i3 was the first BMW to ever use a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) chassis and it was by far the cheapest car to use a full carbon tub. In fact, it still is. If you want a car with a carbon fiber chassis, you’re going to have to look at McLarens because there’s nothing else on the road with such construction. Also, considering the direction BMW is currently going in, the i3 will be the last BMW to feature a fully carbon tub. Even the upcoming iX will use mostly aluminum and steel, with some carbon sprinkled in. So the BMW i3 is a unicorn in not only the BMW family but the industry.
That carbon fiber construction is special for a couple of reasons. The most obvious reason is its weight. The i3 is light; sub-3,000 lbs in certain specs. Because of its light weight, it can make do with a smaller battery pack and still produce adequate ranges. It can also use a small electric motor, without gobs of power, and still feel quick enough. However, weight isn’t the only reason that carbon fiber construction is beneficial.
Stiffness plays a big factor as well. Because the main structure of the chassis is one piece of CFRP, its torsional rigidity is far superior to any traditional chassis, made from bonded and welded metals. That stiffness allows the i3 to feel rock solid, like a six-figure luxury car, even over the roughest of pavement. It also allows BMW to fit stiffer suspension without sacrificing ride comfort, giving the i3 sharper handling.
Speaking of handling, the BMW i3’s rear-wheel drive layout allows it to handle with an agility that belies its looks. While the i3 might be a tall, upright hatchback, it drives and handles more like a hot-hatch than a crossover. Its steering is sharp and its chassis feels nimble, making it perfect for a city car, as it can nip in and out of traffic with ease.
Another interesting innovation on BMW’s part are the i3’s tires. During development, BMW wanted to fit the i3 with the most efficient, low rolling-resistance tires it could but didn’t want to sacrifice road-holding grip. So BMW was clever and designed very skinny but very tall tires. So the i3’s wheel size is quite large and the tires have a high profile but they’re extremely skinny, almost bicycle skinny.
BMW realized during development that the taller profile still allows for a good tire contact patch on the pavement. So even though the tires are skinny, there’s still a substantial amount of rubber on the road, allowing the i3 to better traction than you might think.
Arguably The Smartest Interior Design In The BMW Lineup
Then comes the interior. The cabin of the BMW i3 might be its best feature. We recently spoke about how the i3’s interior is potentially BMW’s best, so we won’t rehash all of those points. However, there’s more to be said about the inside of the quirky looking i3. The BMW i3 is meant to be a city car, so it has a high seating position and very tall windows. Also, due to that carbon construction again, the i3 can have narrow pillars while also meeting rollover crash standards. Due to all of that, outward visibility in the i3 is tremendous, providing drivers a commanding view of the road surrounding them.
In fact, the BMW i3’s interior is still so revolutionary that other brands are copying it. The Volkswagen ID.3 is the most recent and the most unashamed. The interior of the ID.3 is so clearly inspired by the i3 that it borders on plagiarism. It even features a higher ride height than the Volkswagen Golf, though that could also be due to the battery in the floor. Point is, the ID.3’s interior design was heavily inspired by the i3’s, even down to its quirky shift lever.
It’s also a more practical interior than you might think. Sure, the BMW i3 has a tiny footprint but because of its upright body style and sort of cube-like shape, along with its electric powertrain, BMW was able to carve out a ton of interior space. So with the rear seats folded down, you can actually haul a decent amount of luggage in the i3’s caboose. Our own Horatiu has stuffed a Christmas tree in the tiny i3 on more than one occasion. Even a bass was fitted in there.
More Popular Than Ever, Difficult To Get A New One
Also, it’s gaining popularity. At first, BMW couldn’t give i3s away. Now, it’s actually difficult to get them in the U.S. BMW dealers are back-ordered months, if they can get them at all. Admittedly, production is slower than before but demand has also gone up. As EVs become more common and sought after, customers are starting to appreciate the i3’s quirky design and driving characteristics. In other EV-centric countries, such as Norway, the i3 was always popular and is still growing in popularity.
Of course, the BMW i3 isn’t perfect and never has been. Its range, despite having been updated so many times you can’t count them on one hand, the i3 still lacks the range of its competitors. In fact, it lacks the range of competitors from five years ago. It also lacks interior tech of more modern cars and doesn’t have some of the cool semi-autonomous features of newer EVs. However, when you drive the i3 in isolation, you realize how innovative it really is. In terms of comfort tech and range, the i3 still lags far behind but it has so many interesting innovations that BMW will continue to use and learn from for years to come.
BMW has made some big waves over the past couple of weeks, with more than just car releases. First, it launched the BMW iX, a car that has divided a lot of the Bavarian fanbase. Shortly thereafter, BMW also tweeted an “Ok, Boomer” meme, in response to criticism of the iX’s design, which received even more backlash. So Horatiu and I decided to get together and discuss some of these topics.
Firstly, we start with the BMW iX. It’s an interesting car that raises several different discussions about electrification, design and the future of the brand. So we break down what the iX means to BMW, the direction it will take the brand and whether or not it’s going to sell.
We also talk about the BMW M2 CS versus the M2 Competition. I recently had the rare opportunity to drive the two cars back-to-back, within minutes of each other, and then spent extended seat time in both, separately. So I’d like to think I have a good feel for both cars. In my review of the M2 CS, I claimed that it’s the best driving car BMW currently makes but not sure it’s worth the extra money over the M2 Competition, as that’s already a brilliant car. Horatiu doesn’t necessarily agree, so we discuss why a customer might buy the M2 CS over the M2 Competition.
Lastly, we discuss the ALPINA i8, a car that was in development for a bit but what ultimately scrapped. Horatiu had the chance to talk to ALPINA CEO Andreas Bovensiepen about the i8 project and we wrote about it recently. It’s a fascinating car and one that would have been incredible, had it been made. However, it was just too difficult of a project to develop and ALPINA, sadly, had to scrap it. So we discuss that a bit as well.
As always, you can listen to the podcast below or find it wherever podcasts are found; Apple, Google, Spotify and Stitcher.
The BMW 4 Series range is made up of the Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe body styles. And while the former two have already been unveiled, if you want to get the four-door coupe model you’re stuck with the old version for the time being. That’s all about to change though, as BMW is getting ready to unveil the third body style. The news comes from the company’s design boss, Christopher Weil.
In a recent interview with GoAuto, Weil said that the reveal of the car is scheduled to take place ‘very soon’. What that means exactly is anyone’s guess but it would be pretty surprising to see the car unveiled before the year’s end. According to our sources inside Munich, the F36 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (the current model) is scheduled to go out of production in June next year, which is still quite a long way to go.
The same sources tell us that the G26 model will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2021, at the earliest. Of course, its unveiling doesn’t necessarily imply that it will also immediately go on sale, as that’s rarely the case. In fact, we’re most likely going to see the 4er Gran Coupe in pictures and videos well before it enters production. As for the car itself, we’re excited to see a new version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, as we liked the previous-generation car so much.
One of the explanations could come from the BMW i4, the upcoming electric model using the same platform underneath. Since BMW already planned to bring out the electric four-door coupe and the two are sharing most of the underpinnings, offering a second-generation 4 Series Gran Coupe wouldn’t be terribly costly after all. As for the design, imagine a stretched out 4 Series Coupe and you’re there. We can’t wait to see it anyway though.
The biggest question dominating the electric vehicles market right now still revolves around the range. That will be the biggest differentiator for the vast majority of buyers and that’s the question that is hardest to answer. That’s because the range of a car like the MINI Cooper SE, for example, will vary depending on a million different factors. The guys from CarWow decided to go a group test featuring small electric vehicles, to see which one is best and which gets closest to the official claims.
Well, there were some surprises here. The group was made up of the MINI Cooper SE, Honda e, Peugeot e-208, Renault Zoe, Volkswagen e-Up and the Opel Corsa-e. From this list, the one car that has the biggest claim is the Renault Zoe while the one with the lowest claims is the Honda e, followed closely by the MINI Cooper SE. There were no surprises regarding the winners here, as the Zoe had the longest run while the Honda e had the shortest.
Nevertheless, the MINI Cooper SE surprised everyone, going further than anticipated. The car has a rating of 145 miles in the UK but in this particular test managed to cover 154 miles which is pretty impressive and right on par with my own findings during my time with the car. What was also different on the MINI was the fact that it wasn’t predictable in how it estimated its range towards the end, showing a range of 6 miles for a long period of time before dropping fast.
What I would like to point out though is that this test was done in terrible conditions. These cars are meant to be used mainly around town and that’s where they are most efficient. As you can see in the video, they were driven mostly on the highway at 70 mph, a speed that will deplete the batteries at an accelerated pace. Furthermore, the weather was hot and the AC was on all the time, yet another big consumer of range. Even so, since the criteria was the same for all the cars, you could say this test shows which is most efficient overall.
When we look back at the E31 BMW 8 Series, the original 8er that went dormant for decades following the end of its life cycle, we often look back with nostalgia. The original 8 Series was, and still is, a great looking car that was available with a stonking V12 and a six-speed manual option. So, as BMW enthusiasts in a turbocharged, small-displacement, automatic world, we often see the E31 through rose-tinted glasses. However, back in its day, it wasn’t as well regarded, as this Car and Driver comparison from 1992 — between the BMW 850i and Porsche 928 GTS — proves.
Even back in its own day, the BMW 850i seemed to come up quite a bit short. Sure, it was one of the most high-tech, if not the very most high-tech, cars ever made at the time. However, its 5.0 liter V8 only made 296 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. When mated to a four-speed automatic, it took a glacial 7.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. While the Porsche 928 GTS used a 5.4 liter V8 that made a much healthier 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with its own four-speed auto, the Porsche only needed 5.3 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Not only was the Porsche far quicker in its time, it was far more fun to drive. Steering in the Porsche was both more accurate and provided better feel, its chassis was more agile and its suspension tuning was better balanced. The only aspects of the BMW 850i that were superior to the Porsche were its interior comfort and sound levels. The 850i was a big, comfy cruiser that prioritized grand tourer far more than sportiness. Sounds a lot like the current 8 Series, doesn’t it?
Due to that, the Porsche 928 GTS won C&D’s comparison easily. Why is this important to read? It seems as if BMW hasn’t learned its lesson with the 8 Series. The only difference between the current 8 Series and the original is that the current one has the performance to keep up in the segment. But the same complaints about a boring drive and uninspired interior remain. Thankfully for BMW, Porsche lacks a new generation of the 928.