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Grille Off — What is BMW’s Best Current Kidney Grille Design?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’re fully aware of the criticism being hurled at the new BMW M3 and M4, seemingly by the truckloads, for their new grille design. Lump the frumpy 4 Series Coupe in there as well, as its toothy new grille is potentially ever more egregious. Then there’s the BMW i4 and BMW iX, both with their own interpretations of the new design, both also heavily criticized. So that got me thinking: does BMW actually make any good looking kidney grilles anymore?

I went on BMW’s model configurator and took a look at each product currently on sale and really looked at their grilles. After really taking a good look at each one back-to-back-to-back-t0-back, I actually realized that there are a few kidney grille designs that are still very pretty. So let’s take a look at the best of them, shall we?

Fourth Place — BMW Z4

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This new BMW Z4 is a grossly underappreciated sports car. It’s design isn’t exactly beautiful and does take some getting used to. However, the best part of its design is its odd kidney grille. It’s huge but it’s wide, which gives it a BMW Z8/507 style look (not that the Z4 is anywhere near as pretty as those cars). It’s sharp and aggressive, while also quite delicate, and it really works quite well with the more upright headlights. The Z4 is an imperfect car but it has unique kidney grilles in a good way.

Third Place — BMW 5 Series

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One of BMW’s most underrated lookers is the G30-gen 5 Series. It’s a bit stale after all these years but it’s still a handsome thing. After its LCI facelift, the 5er gained new grilles and new headlights, both which work incredibly well together. The 5 Series’ grilles are a bit plain but their sophisticated, simple rectangular shape allows them to give the car class. After seeing the monstrous Chuck E. Cheese teeth of the 4 Series/M3/M4, we’re good with looking a bit plain.

Second Place — BMW M2 Competition


Not only is the BMW M2 Competition the best driving BMW (if you count the M2 CS as part of its family), it’s one of the best looking and its face is part of that. Admittedly, the M2’s butch fender flares and bulldog muscularity are what really make it so good looking, but the grille certainly helps. The M2 specifically, as well, as its grille is different from the standard 2 Series’. The M2 Competition gets a joined kidney grille design, with sharp points that flank the top of them, tapering down. They’re sportier and more exciting than the standard car’s and give it a unique look.

First Place — BMW 3 Series


The BMW 3 Series’ grille design is the perfect example of less-is-more. It’s smooth, its corners are rounded off, and its size is perfectly in proportion with its headlights, its front end, and the rest of the car’s design elements. If there’s a single grille in BMW’s current lineup that reminds me of the glory designs off BMW’s simplistic designs, it’s the new G20 3 Series grille. It’s one of the reasons why it’s such a bummer that BMW replaced it with the M3’s grille, as an M3 with the standard 3 Series’ grille would have been stunning. If you don’t believe me, check out the ALPINA B3, which makes the M3 look like a pre-evolved caveman.


2023 BMW 3 Series Sedan hides new Curved Display inside

The G20/G21 3 Series family is bound to receive a mid lifecycle refreshment right in time for 2023 model year. Scheduled to be revealed around Spring 2022, the medium class premium models are expected feature mild visual updates, whereas the big revolution is expected in the cabin. To be precise, BMW will gradually roll out the new BMW iDrive 8 infotainment architecture, following its premiere this year on the new iX and i4. Starting 2022, more models are expected to receive the new OS, complete with the revamped digital interface and the classy Curved Display.

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Spy photographers have recently managed to scoop a camouflaged test prototype in a car park in Arjeplog, near the Arctic Circle. Even though the test model featured no visual change on the outside, the dashboard was covered as to possibly the new screen layout with no cowling whatsoever, like in the iX. As we don’t own the photos, we invite you to see them here. The vehicle still carried the traditional electronic gear shifter, but given the specificities of the new BMW OS 8.0, that one too is on its way out.

It will likely be replaced by a small lever, like the one seen in the new iX and also destined for the i4, and other upcoming Bimmer, such as the U06 2 Series or the U11 X1. Of course, the rotary knob is here to stay, as it had a pivotal role ever since the introduction of the BMW iDrive infotainment concept 20 year ago and the Munich-based brand decided to stick to it.

Speaking of design revisions, we are expecting some minor changes on the outside, with probably a new front light signature with split filaments, just like the ones expected on the forthcoming X3/X4 facelift models. In terms of engines, things will go mostly unchanged between the model generations, with the 320e and 330e at the forefront of the environmental offensive. According to some rumors, there are also chances we see an all-electric 3 Series, but reserved for the Chinese market. Likely to be titled i3L (given longer wheelbase), the pure-electric sedan could be also offered in Europe at a later date. Expect further properly camouflaged 3 Series LCI prototypes to hit streets in the following period.

[Top Image: BMW Concept i4]


There Used to be an East German BMW Ripoff Called “EMW”

After World War II, Germany was split into two; East Germany and West Germany. The former was occupied by the Soviet Union and employed communist ideologies, while the latter employed anti-communist ideologies. A split Germany would exist from  1945-1989, a time in which Soviet-controlled East Germany faced many economic hardships. During that time, though, the Soviets took control of factories and manufacturing plants in East German territory, even if they were previously owned by West Germany companies. For instance, a BMW factory in the East German town of Eisenach was taken over by the Soviets and rebranded EMW (Eisenach Moterenwerk).

Along with the rebrand, the Roundel logo was modified as well, swapping the Bavarian blue out for red, and was slapped onto the hoods of recommissioned pre-war BMWs. Cars like the BMW 327 from the 1930s were being rebuilt and sold as EMWs in the 1950s, long after they would be considered competitive in the market. Naturally, BMW wasn’t very happy about this. Thankfully for BMW, it didn’t last too long, as the Eisenach plant began producing more modern Wartburg’s instead, in the mid ‘1950s.

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Now that the two Germanys are back together again, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the Berlin Wall fell, EMW is just another Cold War relic. However, it will always be a weird, confusing, and troublesome part of BMW’s history. Because of that, the very few EMW models that still exist are worth quite a bit of money and are highly sought after by many BMW collectors.

Admittedly, the idea of owning what was essentially stolen property, built by the Soviets, during a time of great economic trouble might seem a bit problematic for some. Still, the idea of owning an odd part of automotive history that almost no enthusiasts are aware of is quite interesting.


BMW Product Manager Discusses BMW M3 Design and Lack of M4 Gran Coupe

In the model’s history, there’s never been a BMW M3 as controversial as this new one. So Benny over at our sister site BimmerToday spoke with BMW Project Manager Robert Pilsl about the new BMW M3 and BMW M4, to get some clarification on some of these two new cars. [All quotes from Pilsl were translated from German to English, so mind some oddities]

Of course, the first question was about their new design. The new BMW M3 and M4 have a new kidney grille design that’s been ridiculed mercilessly ever since it was revealed, fair or unfair. However, Pilsl admits that it takes some time to get used to.

“So it didn’t surprise us because we knew that our design would polarize. But the vehicles can also attract a bit of attention, so that was clear to us from the start. After all, they are not cars that you buy just to get from A to B. I myself got into the project in March 2018, saw a clay model for the first time, and of course when I saw the front I got a little bigger eyes at first. But as soon as I saw the car for the third or fourth time, I liked it better and better. In my opinion, the front design cannot really be experienced in a photo, you have to see it live and experience the three-dimensionality. And yes, it takes some getting used to, but in my eyes these were always the best designs, that didn’t appeal to everyone at first glance and then quickly got a bit boring. That will certainly not happen to us here, even if in five years there will certainly still be people who do not like it. But I am absolutely certain that it will have the right effect in traffic.” he told BimmerToday.

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There are also some enthusiasts that feel that BMW should have kept the M3 and M4 separate, in terms of design, giving the new grille to the M4 and letting the M3 stick with the 3 Series’ grille. However, Pilsl claims that the M Division wanted the only separation between M3 and M4 models to be their door count. “No, that was never an issue. Our strategy is very clear: M3 and M4 only differ in terms of the number of doors, everything else is as identical as possible. The M3 should have the same driving dynamics, develop the same effect, just with two more doors and with a sedan instead of a coupé shape.”

BMW also announced the official production of an M3 Touring, the first time such a car will ever be made. While we haven’t seen it yet, BMW has officially claimed that it’s on the way. Due to that, fans have speculated that BMW might also introduce new models to the mix, body styles that have also never been made before. Most notably, fans are hoping for a BMW M4 Gran Coupe. Though, Pilsl officially squashed that idea.

We’ll stick with the well-known core models for the time being, then go one better with the Touring and believe overall that we are offering a very good mix. We don’t see the need for an M4 Gran Coupé at the moment.”

Read the full interview over at BimmerToday, as it’s filled with interesting tidbits about BMW M’s newest sports cars.

[Source: BimmerToday]


BMW Global Sales reach all-time high in first quarter of 2021

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We’re in April, which means it’s time to take a look at how car makers did over the first quarter of 2021. BMW apparently couldn’t be better, with sales recorded in Q1 reaching an all-time high and growing by 33.5 percent compared to the same period of 2020. That last bit is to be expected, as 2020 was probably the worst year in terms of sales since the 1990s. Even so, reaching an all-time high figure is not an easy feat to achieve.

BMW said it sold and delivered no less than 636,606 units in the first three months of 2021. This includes MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles. Furthermore, the company managed to increase its sales figure in all regions of the world, so this result wasn’t backed by one or two markets alone. “We continued our growth momentum in the first quarter of this year, selling more vehicles than ever before in this period. This all-time high in sales underlines our ambitious growth targets for the year,” said Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales.

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“Our sales performance was boosted by strong demand for our electrified vehicles, in particular. In the past three months, we doubled our global sales of electrified vehicles compared to the same period last year. This puts us on track to deliver more than 100,000 fully-electric vehicles this year, with at least a million electrified vehicles on the roads in total by the end of this year,” Nota continued.

The BMW brand recorded an increase of 36.2 percent compared to last year, 560,543 units being delivered to customers in total between January and March. The biggest sellers were the SUVs, of course, accounting for 36.5 percent of all cars sold. The 5 Series and 3 Series models did rather well too, with the former posting an increase of 43 percent while the latter went up by 43.6 percent compared to last year.


The Morgan Plus Four Has the Best Version of BMW’s B48 Engine

BMW’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, commonly known as the “B48” engine, is one of the brand’s most commonly used engines. The B48 powers everything from the 2 Series Gran Coupe, all the way up to the 530i, and everything in between. But it isn’t only used in BMW vehicles, as both the Toyota Supra and Morgan Plus Four use the Bavarian four-pot. According to Top Gear, the Morgan is the car that best makes use of it.

Top Gear staffers are lucky ducks, as they have a Morgan Plus Four, with a manual transmission, in a lovely shade of Mint Green, in their long-term press fleet. Unfortunately for us Yanks, we don’t have the Morgan Plus Four, so we have to live vicariously through our colleagues across the Atlantic. In doing so, though, we’ve learned that Morgan’s iteration of the B48 engine is the most enjoyable yet.

Of course, the Plus Four has some inherent advantages that no other BMW does. As a two-seat roadster with a manual transmission (and eight-speed auto is available), it’s unique from every BMW product in the lineup from the jump. It also has a fruitier, more exciting exhaust, which is likely tuned down for BMW customers, who’d prefer a calmer sound. The Plus Four is also quite a bit lighter than any BMW that uses the B48 engine, so its modest power feels even punchier.

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According to Top Gear, it’s also incredibly efficient. They were able to achieve over 50 mpg on highway runs, which is magnificent for a two-seat roadster sports car that can do 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. In its worst case scenario, the Morgan Plus Four still gets in the high-30 mpg range. So, if you’re willing to deal with its lack of space, you could daily drive or even commute in the Plus Four and achieve great fuel economy.

We’re supremely jealous of our British colleagues who get to drive Morgans. While there are some Morgan press vehicles floating around the U.S., they’re incredibly difficult to get a hold of. So the likliness of us ever testing one is slim at best. Which is a shame because, from what we hear, it’s an incredible car that uses BMW’s own engine better than BMW.

[Source: Top Gear]


BMW G80 M3 and G82 M4 vs. F80 M3 CS – Design Comparison Video

We take a visual tour of the newly released BMW G80 M3 in Brooklyn Grey Metallic as well as the BMW G82 M4 finished in Toronto Red Metallic. Furthermore, we’re looking at how the new…

The article BMW G80 M3 and G82 M4 vs. F80 M3 CS – Design Comparison Video appeared first on BMW BLOG


10,000 km in a modified MINI GP3 – The Track Car as a Daily Driver

Photo: Vincent Toth @msck64

The choice to go down the route of altering the suspension kit was one of being able to use the car more as a daily and for longer distances, but also removing the nervous nature of the car and improve the handling. Now with the adjustable AST kit in place, the car is more relaxed and pleasant on country roads, no long tramlining, and offers a wider usability while even improving its ability on track.

With both the engine and suspension out of the way, it is time to touch on the stock tires. With three different Hankook tire kits on offer for the car, there are a wide range of options. The stock Hankook tire is a bit too soft, especially on track. The winter tire set was initially a complete unknown, but came eventually in a really weird size and requires a new tiny rim.

You might ask yourself the question; why doesn’t the GP3 have those tires? According to MINI, the Hankook is the preferred supplier to many MINI models so it was only natural to retain the relationship. Of course, there are some other options out there fore the 225/35R18 size, like the Michelin’s Pilot Sport 3. At the positive end, the wheels are extremely light, weighing less than 9kgs.

Improvements help

With more than 10,000 kms done behind the steering wheel of the new GP3, it has become clear to me how well the improvements have brought out that untouched nature of the MINI. That is not only because of my own experiences so far, but more importantly the input throughout the user base and community which has offered a large combined insight into the GP. Therefore if you look to improve the car, look at these three key aspects; the suspension, the tires and the engine.

Of course, numerous people would say that more power is needed, along with a louder exhaust note, and a manual gearbox. Although these are must-haves you could look at other enhancements such as a brake upgrade with better pads, braided lines, an enhanced disc and improved brake oil, or bucket seats and a cage. Those often come into play when you want to really expand your horizon on track and are for the GP3 a matter of “stage 2” in the range of improvements.

Trunk Space For Track Tires

Photo: MINI UK

What else is there to mention that could be of interest for you as a potential (future) owner of a GP3? There are few points to note that are immediately noticed when you live longer with the car. First up is the absence of MINI’s interior light kit. The GP3 doesn’t have any lights in the footwells, no glove compartment light, no rear compartment light. Of course, as a track car wouldn’t have those. But during the winter period, the absence of light sources in the cabin created an interesting experience in which I had to use my phone’s flashlight to find things across the cabin.

Also the absence of any baggage nets in the trunk offered for an interesting challenge. In the end, I ordered two aftermarket ones, which I attached into the rear compartment not allowing any things in the trunk to fly around under braking, cornering or accelerating.

An interesting point is the space in the trunk. Without having rear seats and a rear parcel shelf, you lose a considerable amount of weight, but also gain a lot of space which you can use for a set of track tires, which just fit in the rear. This allows you to bring a second set of tires to a track day or run your street tires to/from the track and your track tires on the circuit.

I left the most discussed subject as the last one of my story – the wheel arches. This has been a hot topic in the MINI community regarding their practicality and design. But we asked the MINI folks for the reason behind their design. According to MINI, the GP3 had to include those wheel arches for homologation reasons. The tires need to be covered by the wheelhouse to a certain extent, not only in Europe, but even more so in countries like Japan. This is why the spats had to be that large.

So whether we like them or not, they’re part of legal requirements.

Personal touches


Watch the BMW M4 Competition Take on the Porsche Cayman GT4

The new BMW M4 Competition is shockingly fast, both in a straight line and around a track. From what we’ve heard, it’s also quite good to drive, regardless of lap times. It’s said to have great steering, superb precision, and all-around fun driving dynamics. However, is it as good as the fan-favorite Porsche Cayman GT4? In this new video from Fifth Gear, we get to find out.

To most car enthusiasts, the Porsche Cayman GT4 is a little slice of automotive heaven. Not only is it the ideal sports car on paper; mid-engine, naturally-aspirated engine, manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, and clever aero; it also delivers on its promise in the real world. The only complaint I’ve genuinely ever heard for the GT4 is that its gearing is too long. That’s it. So can the M4 Competition take on something with such an impressive resume?

In this new video, both cars go head-to-head at Castle Combe, to not only see which is quicker but which is more fun on track. As for the former, the BMW M4 Competition has the advantage, due to its superior power. The M4 uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 to make 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, which is also paired to a slick-shifting eight-speed auto. While the Cayman GT4 uses a larger engine, a 4.0 liter naturally-aspirated flat-six, but one with less power; 420 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Its six-speed manual is more fun but slower than the BMW’s auto.

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How do they manage on track, though, and which one is more fun? The Porsche Cayman GT4 put down a very impressive 1:12.6 lap time and seemed like an absolute blast the entire time. While the BMW M4 Competition did the lap in 1:13.3 seconds, so almost a full second slower than the Porsche. The BMW M4 Comp is faster in a straight line, that’s for sure, but it’s always going to be harder to make it handle as well through corners. The M4 weighs around 600 lbs more than the Porsche, has a higher center of gravity, and is far more inclined to wag its tail out of every corner.

Of course, on the road, the BMW M4 might be the better machine, due to its more comfortable ride, its back seat, and superior practicality. However, as a driver’s car, I don’t know if there’s much of a comparison.


A Few BMW X3 and BMW X4 Models Recalled for Fuel Tank Welds

2019 BMW X4 M40d test drive 35

BMW has just issued a recall on some X3 and X4 models for potentially faulty fuel tank welds. According to this report, certain BMW X3 and BMW X4 variants on March 3, 2021, could have fuel tank welds that aren’t up to production spec. Over time, this could allow road vibrations to damage the welds and cause the fuel tank to leak. Obviously, the poses a fire hazard.

Thankfully, BMW caught this problem early on and realized that it only affected 17 cars, including the BMW X3 xDrive 30i, BMW X3 sDrive30i, BMW X3 M40i, BMW X3 M, and one BMW X4 xDrive30i. It’s great news that BMW was not only able to catch the problem early and that it only affected a few cars but that it also seems to know exactly which cars were affected. So this should get resolved quite quickly, and owners should be back on the road with their cars, without having to worry of any potential fuel leaks.

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Apparently, it’s a supplier issue, as the supplier for BMW’s fuel tanks may not have welded the tank’s inlet check valve up to specifications. It’s said that a fuel odor can be smelled from underneath the car if yours is one of the affected models.

If you have such a BMW and yours was built around that time, you’ll be notified by BMW if you need to take your car in for recall repair. You can also check with your local dealer to see if your VIN matches up to the cars in the recall, just in case. Thankfully, there have been no reports of issue or injury from these fuel tank welds but that doesn’t mean anyone should be complacent. If you have such a car, find out if it matches up with the recall as soon as possible.

[Source: Car Scoops]