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BMW 128ti hatchback might be the 1 Series to buy


The BMW 128ti not only brings a bit more oomph to the hatchback lineup, but it also revives the “ti” name. First badge appeared over 50 years ago on the “Neue Klasse” models – BMW 1800 TI, 2002 TI or the 1802 TI and 2002 TI. The legendary racing pilot Hubert Hahne brought fame to the “TI” name. In 1964, Hahne drove the 1800 TI to win the European Touring Car Championship with 14 wins of 16 starts. Hahne was the first to lap the Nürburgring in under 10 minutes in a touring car.

Therefore, the “ti” badge has some big shoes to fill when it arrives this year. First things first though: the 128ti won’t be available in the United States as the hatchbacks don’t get a lot of love here. Yet, we do expect the new hot hatch to become a big seller for the Bavarians in Germany. The front-wheel drive BMW 128ti is positioned directly below the top-of-the-range model of the BMW 1 Series, the BMW M135i xDrive. But in many aspects, it will be the more fun car to drive.

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80 Kilograms Lighter Than The M135i xDrive

The BMW 128ti saves quite some weight over the more powerful xDrive hot hatch – 80 kilograms less for a total of  1,520 kilos. The power is sent to the front-wheels, so while it has less grip, its lower weight makes it more fun to toss around. While it doesn’t get the xDrive, it does inherit the highly pre-stressed stabilizer bearing and the stabilizers. Additionally, the steering has been specifically aligned to the vehicle for precise reactions, providing the driver with direct response. The mechanical Torsen differential has the locking ration slightly reduced to 31 percent from 38 percent.

 A Good Amount Of Torque And Power

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BMW’s 128ti hatch also features a 2-liter engine four-cylinder with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology with a power output of 265 bhp and 400Nm of torque. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h comes in at 6.1 seconds. In comparison, the M135i xDrive has 306 HP and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque coming out of the 2-liter 4-cylinder transversely mounted engine. The M135i gets to 100 km/h from standstill in 4.9 seconds.

Read Also: BMW M135i xDrive Review

In corners and on the track, we expect the 128ti to be the more fun to drive. There is less weight to haul around and the steering is more precise. During a test drive on the Nurburgring, the 18 inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, in combination with the ARB system, ensured an impressive level of grip. Instead of the rock-hard dampers, there is decent everyday comfort and, on top of that, driving behavior that is still worthy of the ‘Ring.

M Sport Brakes

Sweetening the deal even further are the M Sport brakes, which are carried over from the M135i. That means the BMW 128ti gets four-piston monoblock calipers up front, with floating single-piston calipers out back. The calipers will also be painted red, which will differentiate the 128ti from its blue-calipered M135i sibling.

A Golf GTI Worthy Competitor

Though, no one is expecting the 128ti to be the spiritual successor of the 2002 ti, nor is anyone expecting it to be some great return of BMW’s purist-handling greatness. But it’s certainly a very special compact car. The multitude of changes in the areas of chassis and driving dynamics alone makes it clear that BMW is taking seriously its entry into the new segment. Cue in some cool exterior bits and this BMW 128ti is ready to take on the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI.

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BMW M outsells Mercedes-AMG in 2020


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BMW M GmbH extended its lead over Mercedes-AMG 2020 with another record year. BMW M’s worldwide sales report shows 144,218 units sold in 2020, exceeding the record set in the previous year by 5.9 percent, despite the corona pandemic. Naturally, all automakers were affected by COVID-19, so it comes as no surprise that Mercedes-AMG had a decrease in sales. The Affalterbach-based competitor sold 125,129 units, 5.3 percent less than in 2019.

BMW’s lead last year extended by over 19,000 vehicles. The gap was certainly narrower in 2019 with just 3,700 more units sold by BMW.  The significant gap increase is also noteworthy against the background that the best-sellers BMW M2, M3 and M4 were at the end of their life cycle in 2020 and were not available all year round in most or all markets.

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The new X5 M and X6 M SUVs certainly contributed to the BMW M record sales, with a high demand seen in the United States. Of course, the sales report also counts the M Performance Automobiles where BMW has several high-selling products, like the M340i, M340d or the X3 M40i. The M Performance Automobiles sub-division has been one of the fastest growing within the company in the last few years.

New products will join the M lineup in 2021, including the highly controversial G80 M3 and G82 M4. The M440i Coupe and Convertible will also become available in all markets around the world. Despite its polarizing design, we expect that the new M3 and M4 to exceed the sales of the previous F80/F82 generations. For the first time, the new M brothers will be offered with an all-wheel drive component which will likely bring new customers to the brand.

Naturally, the purists will still enjoy a six- speed manual – in some markets – so retaining the core fan base might be achievable.

[Source: BimmerToday]

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Sean Connery’s BMW 635CSi is Going Up for Auction


BMW has a surprisingly good history with the James Bond franchise, having had several cars in Bond films. However, all of those Bond films featured Pierce Brosnan as the titular character, the sixth actor to step into the iconic role. The first, and arguably the most famous, Sir Sean Connery also has a connection to BMW, though, as he previously owned a BMW 635CSi back when it was new and his very car is going up for auction.

This specific car is a 1986 BMW 636CSi and is finished in Alpine White with a dark blue leather interior, which is a genuinely lovely combination. It only has 61,841 km (38,426 miles) on the odometer, so it’s still incredibly fresh and looks to be in fantastic condition. Connery is said to be the first owner of the car and he kept it in the coastal city of Marbella, Spain until 1998. Whoever bought the car from Connery kept it in the UK and then Luxembourg after that.

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Under the hood is a 3.5 liter inline-six, related to the one that powered the original BMW M5 and makes 220 horsepower. When paired with a five-speed manual, it was capable of 0-60 mph in the mid seven-second range. But speed was never the BMW 635CSi’s main goal. Instead, it was designed to be a great looking (nailed it) grand touring car that was as enjoyable to drive as it was to look at.

At the moment, Sir Sean Connery’s 6 Series is back in the UK and its auction ends in just under three days (at the time of writing this). The bid is currently up to £17,250 but is expected to sell between To £30,000 and £60,000, which is a rather broad window. To be fair, though, that seems like a decent price for a future classic BMW that used to be owned by the first ever James Bond and one of the most famous actor’s of all time.

[Source: Top Gear]

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BMW iX2 electric crossover could take on the Tesla Model Y


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Germany’s AutoBild.de publishes an article on a potential future BMW iX2. The electrified variant of the second generation BMW X2 has been mentioned before, including in a name filling by BMW. The next BMW X2 is due out in 2023 and it’s based on the third generation BMW X1 which will launch in 2022. The X1 is currently in the testing phase and several test mules were already spotted out in the open.

If it comes to market, the BMW iX2 will advance the company’s electrification plans which calls for 12 fully electric vehicles by 2022-2023. The second-gen X2 will also join the “Power of Choice” movement which offers a powertrain for every type of consumer. BMW currently offers the X2 with an electrified drivetrain, in the form of an X2 plug-in hybrid.

Just like the already confirmed iX1, the BMW iX2 would be available with front wheel drive and all wheel drive variants. The power output is rumored to be around 180 PS (177 hp) for the FWD model, while the AWD iX2 could come with around 250 PS (246 hp). The electric driving range is purely speculative at the moment, even though AutoBild mentions around 400 km (245 miles) on a full charge.

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We expect the new X2 to continue the design language of the current generation, but with slightly larger kidneys. The coupe-like roofline will live on, as well as the sporty stance and hatchback-like rear-end. The BMW iX2 will, of course, feature a slightly different design, just like any typical BMW electric car.

BMW’s plant in Regensburg will manufacture both the U11 X1 and the new X2. The Leipzig plant, which will also produce battery modules and high voltage batteries, could include the electric X1 and X2 on their production lines.

[Via TopElectricSUV]

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Check This Retro-Review of the Original BMW M6 from Car and Driver


I personally can’t get enough of these retro-reviews from Car and Driver. As someone who has stacks of Car and Driver, Motor Trend and Road & Track magazines, looking back at how cars were reviewed in their own time is something of a guilty pleasure of mine. So when one of those aforementioned publications posts one of their reviews from long before I was able to collect magazines, I get positively giddy. This specific one comes from July 1987, in which Car and Driver reviewed the original BMW M6.

Back in the ’80s, the BMW M6 made its way to North America with a 3.5 liter inline-six with 256 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque. That engine was paired with a five-speed Getrag-sourced manual gearbox and sent power to the rear wheels. It was capable of 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds and it felt even faster than that on the road. However, its outright speed isn’t what made it so great. In fact, it was the last thing Car and Driver cared about because of the rest of it was so good.

It’s funny, looking back, the original BMW M6 doesn’t seem like a hugely exciting car. However, C&D’s staff raved about it and couldn’t get enough of it. Not only was it considered to be incredibly beautiful at the time but its interior was also beloved for its immense quality and luxury.

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Yet, it also did all the important stuff right. The BMW M6, despite being luxurious, had the perfect driver’s seating position, with fantastic feeling seats and a near-perfect steering wheel. Aside from its annoying seat controls, it’s interior was considered to be nearly flawless.

So too was its driving experience. Sure, it wasn’t as fast as the Corvette at the time, while costing double the money, but it was so much better to drive than the ‘Vette. The BMW M6 boasted telepathic steering feel, an excellent chassis and an overall sense of enjoyment that it was almost impossible to beat.

When we think back about some of the best driving cars in BMW’s history, the original BMW M6 is rarely discussed. Read this retro-review, though, and you’ll wonder why it wasn’t always considered to be one of the all time greats.

[Source: Car and Driver]

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First BMW iX3 electric SUV arrives for German customers


The BMW iX3 was unveiled in 2020, but it was only destined for the Chinese market. Today, the first iX3 electric SUV for German customers has arrived in Bremerhaven. The iX3 arrived on the giant car transport ship “Phoenix Leader” of the shipping company NYK Line. The 200-meter-long and 32-meter-wide freighter can transport over 5,000 cars. Naturally, further BMW iX3 units are expected to arrive in Germany in the next few weeks. But unfortunately, the U.S. market will not get the rear-wheel drive electric SUV.

The iX3 is also the first car to use the potential of the ‘Power of choice’ principle BMW has been raving about, which sees all three types of cars (ICE, PHEV, BEV) built on the same platform. According to BMW, using this modular way of building cars should offer the Bavarian company the freedom to make whichever model they please without huge costs and at a fast pace, adapting to the demand on the fly.

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The entry-level iX3 model is dubbed “Inspiring” and starts at EUR 68,040.33 in Germany. For the high-end “Impressive” model, customers will have to pay more at a starting price of EUR 73,401.68. Customers can choose from Carbon Black metallic, Sophisto Grey brilliant effect metallic, Mineral White metallic, Phytonic Blue metallic, Piedmont Red metallic and Cashmere Silver metallic. The Phytonic Blue metallic and Piedmont Red metallic variants combined with accents in Frozen Grey or Pearl-effect Chrome instead of the hallmark BMW i blue detailing.

The new electric motor powering the iX3 develops a peak output of 210 kW / 286 PS (282 hp) and a maximum torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft), which are constantly available over a wide rpm range, even at high revs, contrary to most of the existing electric vehicles on the market.

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The acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h takes 6.8 seconds, while the top speed of the new iX3 is electronically limited to 180 km/h. The new BMW X electric model also employs the ARB technology (actuator continuous wheel slip limitation), already seen on the i3 and front-wheel drive compact models, as to improve traction.

The gross energy content of the new high-voltage battery installed in the iX3 reaches 80 kWh, while the net storage capacity hits an overall 74 kWh. The increased energy that can be stored in the battery is the result of the dense prismatic cell architecture of the battery, comprising 188 units.

Thus, the new iX3 is capable of achieving a range of up to 459 kilometers in WLTP cycle or up to 520 kilometers in the NEDC test cycle.

[Source: BimmerToday]

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Hyundai Could be Partnering with Apple on Project Titan


Apple recently made headlines with news that Project Titan, its famed Apple Car project, was back on, following a period of it being put on hold. The news also brought word of Apple potentially developing some new battery technology that would not only increase range but reduce weight. Since then, speculation has swirled over what sort of fruit Project Titan would bear; would it be an entire car from Apple or would it just be battery tech or potentially even just autonomous software? If it does end up being a car, many experts believe that Apple would partner with another automaker to actual manufacture it. The prediction seems to be coming true, as Hyundai recently announced that it’s in talks with Apple about a new partnership.

A recent report from Korea Economic Daily TV claimed that Hyundai and Apple are working together to develop autonomous electric vehicles and could even end up building batteries in the U.S. While the broadcaster for the news show didn’t provide any sources, Hyundai did provide a statement, acknowledging its discussions with Apple over a potential partnership, though the statement stopped short of mentioning any details.

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“Apple and Hyundai are in discussion, but as it is early stage, nothing has been decided,” said Hyundai in the recent statement.

A former Hyundai designer recently said that such a partnership, including Hyundai manufacturing the car, would make a lot of sense for Apple but does caution that it could be problematic for Hyundai. “Apple outsourcing car production to Hyundai makes sense, because (Hyundai) is known for quality,” said Jeong Yun-woo, former Hyundai designer and a professor at UNIST in South Korea recently told Reuters. “But I’m not sure whether it is a good strategy for automakers to be like the Foxconn of Apple as automakers face risks of losing control to tech firms,” he continued.

Hyundai already has strong manufacturing capabilities and is currently one of the top automakers, in terms of quality, reliability and safety. It also has an EV architecture on which to build a new car and tons of know-how in that field. So partnering with Hyundai does make a lot of sense and could actually help to create a great new EV. Plus, Apple likely wants to avoid all of the hassle of working with auto unions and supply chains, which Hyundai already does.

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When Apple’s Project Titan was first rumored, several years ago, BMW was one of the very first automakers rumored to be working with Apple. Apple CEO Tim Cook even had a meeting with BMW execs immediately after the rumors began to swirl, though the meeting may have been unrelated. However, it’s rather ironic that Hyundai is most likely to be the automaker to work with Apple on this project, as the head of Hyundai’s R&D is none other than Albert Biermann, former head of BMW M.

If this joint venture does end up birthing an all-electric, highly-autonomous automobile, it will be interesting to see how legacy automakers, and new EV automakers like Tesla and Lucid, handle it. Apple has a following like no other, so if fans learn that a new Hyundai/Apple EV is on the market, it could shakeup the auto industry like we’ve never seen before.

[Source: Reuters]

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Could Tesla Really be Making a $25,000 EV?


Tesla’s Model 3 is currently throwing a monkey wrench into the plans of legacy automakers. More and more customers are finding it harder to buy cars like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 when they can get an all-electric Tesla, with 250-plus miles of range, for the same money. So there’s no question that Tesla has shaken up the market. However, it looks like the Silicon Valley-based brand could shake up the market even further with a much cheaper car.

According to this recent tweet from Tesla Facts, the brand is currently working on building a $25,000 model, which will be manufactured in Shanghai. This report claims that the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory submitted documents to the Chinese government, claiming to be starting production in 2022.

There are no specs on this $25,000 Tesla but it’s said that it will be based on the same chassis as the Model 3 and it will use Tesla’s new 4860 batteries. The only problem is that Tesla currently does not have a means to mass produce said batteries, so a 2022 release date seems unlikely, according to Elektrek. “they need to significantly ramp up 4680 battery cell production to build the vehicle, and the new structural battery pack design could be hard to bring to production considering it’s a brand-new way to build cars.”

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While there are no specs, the documents sent to the Chinese government hint that it could be sold for the equivalent of around $25,000 in China (between RMB 160,000 and RMB 200,000) and could have about 200 miles of range. That would likely make it the shortest-range Tesla on sale but also the cheapest by a long way.

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention that Tesla has a horrid track record of actually producing anything on time. So precedent tells us that this $25,000 Tesla won’t debut until at least 2024. We also won’t even go any further into the fact that Musk claimed such a car would be fully autonomous because that’s laughable.

Still, if Tesla can make a 200-mile electric sedan that costs $25,000, even if it does take a couple more years to develop, it will be a huge monkey wrench into the compact car segment. Why would any customer buy an entry-level Camry when they can get an all-electric Tesla for the same money? So long as Tesla can actually sell entry-level models, because we know how that went with the Model 3…

[Source: Car Scoops]

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Goodbye, Dual-Clutch Transmission — We’re Gonna Miss You


When the F90 BMW M5 debuted, it gained a lot over its predecessor. It gained more power, more performance and even more driven wheels. However it lost something along the way, something that a lot of fans still miss — the beloved DCT.

BMW M’s DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission) was one that had almost no critics. Fans who owned M cars with the DCT absolutely loved it for its rapid-fire shifts, ease of use in traffic and added theater over a traditional automatic, especially with that funky gear selector. Yet even BMW M customers that drove manuals respected the DCT for just how much faster it made cars, while also not taking away as much soul as a conventional auto ‘box would. So when the F90 M5 switched to a conventional, torque-converter eight-speed automatic from ZF, fans were a bit disappointed.

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Sure, the ZF eight-speed is about as a good of an automatic as there can be; with silky smooth, yet lightning quick shifts; and it’s been calibrated by magicians. It works so well in the BMW M5 that’s it is objectively hard to fault. But fans still do miss, maybe irrationally so, the sort of rapid, manic and almost violent full-throttle upshifts of the older DCT. It’s not that the ZF eight-speed auto is bad but it certainly lacks some zing, versus it’s older dual-clutch counterpart.

What made fans even more upset was the fact that BMW M slowly phased out the DCT altogether and it’s now entirely gone. So many great cars used the old DCT. The E90/E92 BMW M3 was the first M car to get the seven-speed dual-clutch auto. After that followed the F10 BMW M5, the F06/F12/F13 BMW M6, the F80 BMW M3 and the F82 BMW M4. All of those cars had DCTs at least as options and it was an excellent transmission in all of them. Now, though, they’re gone. With the new G80 BMW M3 and G82 BMW M4 switching to the ZF eight-speed as well, there’s no longer a dual-clutch offering from the M Division and, even worse, there never will be again.

For the foreseeable future, all self-shifting transmission for the M Division will be traditional torque-converter automatics of some kind; be it the current ZF eight-speed or an updated unit. While there are whispers about the decision being made over torque, with some rumors that modern DCTs can’t handle the torque of new M cars, they’re nonsense. The real reason is that the ZF eight-speed is more efficient and easier to calibrate for ultimate efficiency. And because efficiency is more important than almost all else in today’s automotive climate, the DCT is a casualty of the times.

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There’s also the fact that BMW M will soon be making a jump to electrification. Once M cars start becoming electrified, it’s unlikely the M Division sees the investment into another dual-clutch transmission as a wise move and it’d be right. Financially speaking, another DCT simply makes no sense at all.

So the BMW M DCT is truly gone and dead. We’re going to miss it, truly. It was a bizarre transmission; its gear selector looked like a frozen tear drop and had the most unusual pattern. Yet, that unusual pattern actually gave it some character and let you know that, despite its two-pedal arrangement, it was no typical automatic gearbox. Instead, it was something different, something more exotic, something more interesting. So, right from the jump, it made a lasting impression.

Then there’s the fact that it was also BMW’s most fun automatic-type transmission to date. The BMW M DCT always had multiple levels of shift violence, which was fun to crank up, and it always had great paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Its shifts were extraordinarily fast and we just un-smooth enough to let you know you were driving a performance car. Personally, I’m of the ilk that says a BMW M3 or M4 should have a proper manual but if you must have an automatic, BMW’s DCT was about as good as it got. We’re certainly going to miss it.

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NIO ET7 is a Chinese BMW i4-Fighter with 621 Miles of Range


BMW’s upcoming i4 needs to hit the market as soon as possible because it’s going to have a ton of competition in the coming years. It’s already behind the 8-ball in competing with the Tesla Model 3, the Audi e-tron GT is on the way and now there’s going to be a new, all-electric competitor that will boast the furthest claimed range in the world a the moment — the NIO ET7.

The NIO ET7 is the latest all-electric model from the Chinese EV manufacturer. Admittedly, the ET7 is likely to remain in the Chinese market but that’s also the largest automotive market in the world and one that BMW — along with every other German manufacturer — is desperate to become popular in. So the NIO ET7 will become a massive competitor for the BMW i4, even if it won’t be sold in Europe or the U.S.

What makes the NIO ET7 impressive is its range. According to the Chinese manufacturer, the ET7 will boast a range of 621 miles (1,000 km), which is by far and away the longest EV range claim yet. Admittedly, it’s been claimed on the Chinese NEDC cycle, which is even more forgiving than the European WLTP. The latter of which would likely give it a lower range rating. Still, that massive range claim is thanks to a monstrous 150 kWh battery pack, which should provide an incredible amount of range, even if it is short of NIO’s lofty claims.

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That top-end model will also come with 644 horsepower and be capable of 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. There will obviously, smaller battery models, with shorter ranges and the ET7 will have a suite of models with which to take on Tesla, BMW and Audi.

Another trick NIO has up its sleeve is its “charging”. Rather than traditional charging stations (which NIO vehicles can also use), the brand also offers battery-swap stations, which can swap out a depleted battery for a fully charged one in minutes. Top Gear tested these stations awhile back and drove 800 miles, in a NIO ET6 SUV that boasts less than 300 miles of range, without ever charging once. The battery swaps take less than ten minutes and are incredibly simple. Plus, NIO is adding them into what it calls “NIO Houses”, which also house coffee shops and office spaces, so you can grab a quick coffee while your battery gets swapped.

In China, this will likely become an incredibly popular EV sedan, one that’s cheaper than the equivalent BMW, Tesla or Audi. With its longer range and battery swap ability, the NIO ET7 will be tough to beat. Especially if NIO ever sends its cars west.

[Source: Top Gear]