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BMW Will Add AWD to M

Needed to handle increasing power, says M brand chief.

by on Jan.22, 2015

The BMW M5 is going to get all-wheel drive and a form of torque vectoring to handle all that power.

BMW will be taking the lead from its two German rivals, adding all-wheel-drive to some of its high-performance M models.

Audi has long relied on all-wheel-drive to put power to the pavement with its S and RS lines, and Mercedes-Benz recently announced that it will go AWD on all but a handful of its AMG performance products. BMW was the holdout – with the exception of its performance Sports-Activity Vehicles.

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Going forward, however, that will change – slightly – said Frank van Meel, the head of BMW M. Speaking to Britain’s AutoCar, he said the “philosophy will remain rear-wheel drive, (but) as we increase the power and torque, then the M5 and M6 will have large outputs, so we’ll look at those (AWD) solutions.” (more…)

Ford Won’t be Rolling Out Aluminum Passenger Cars, Says Top Exec

Benefits don’t justify the cost, complexity says Pres. Hinrichs.

by on Jan.15, 2015

Ford President Joe Hinrichs helps unveil the new Ford F-150 Raptor during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

Though Ford Motor Co. has ballyhooed the benefits of the aluminum used to build its 2015 F-150 pickup, don’t expect to see the automaker start building passenger cars out of the lightweight metal, cautioned a top executive.

The benefits just aren’t as competitive when used on lighter vehicles, stressed Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, during an appearance at an annual industry confab in Detroit.

No Lightweight!

“You don’t get those same benefits to a consumer on a car side,” he explained, adding that, “truck buyers will pay for more capability. Car buyers will pay for better fuel economy, but there’s other ways to get fuel economy in a car.”

Facing stiff new emissions and fuel economy mandates, automakers like Ford are struggling to find ways to improve the efficiency of their vehicles. They’re adopting advanced powertrains and alternate fuels, adopting more aerodynamic designs, and putting a premium on “lightweighting.”

(more…)

Cars Driving the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show

From Auto Park systems to brain wave monitors, auto-mobile is the next big thing at the 2015 CES Show.

by on Jan.05, 2015

Mercedes offers a tease of the concept car it will introduce at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

When Mercedes-Benz unveils its new autonomous vehicle concept car this month it will skip the big Detroit Auto Show, turning instead to Las Vegas for the debut.

Like a number of its rivals, the German maker is planning a big presence at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The largest annual event in Sin City, CES is typically a venue populated by TV, smartphone, computer and electronic gadget makers. But it has also become a major staging ground for the auto industry.

Going Mobile!

“The last three years have really accelerated the role” of the automobile at the electronics show, notes Egil Juliussen, the director of research for the automotive technology group at think tank IHS. It’s because technology is becoming more and important in the car, he adds, noting “people want to use all of their mobile electronics in their cars.”

(more…)

BMW’s Move Takes Takata Airbag Recall National

Maker expands recall to include 140,000 vehicles across US.

by on Dec.23, 2014

BMW recalled an additional 140,000 3-Series vehicles due to a potential airbag problem.

Despite Takata’s protests, the recall of vehicles with its potentially deadly airbags is now a national action as BMW expanded its recall from regional to national status. The German maker was the last of five automakers receiving pressure from federal regulators.

BMW agreed on Monday to expand its recall of vehicles with possible defective driver-side air bags by 140,000 3 Series cars from model years 2004-06. The automaker already had recalled about 11,700 cars with driver-side Takata air bags in high-humidity states.

Safety First!

Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been pressuring Takata and five automakers – Mazda, Honda, Ford, Chrysler and BMW – to expand the scope of the recall for several weeks. Toyota and Honda acted quickly, but Ford, Chrysler and BMW were resistant suggesting they were unsure the move was prudent. (more…)

Tap the Watch to Call Your Car

BMW shows off auto-park valet and 360-degree collision avoidance.

by on Dec.16, 2014

With BMW's Auto Park Valet, tap your smartwatch and the little i3 quickly comes to pick you up.

You’ve finished dinner on the town and are ready to head home for the night. But instead of handing the valet your ticket you tap the screen of your smartwatch and a couple moments later your new BMW i3 automatically pulls up to the restaurant door, the cabin already warm and cozy.

That’s the idea behind the maker’s Remote Valet Parking Assistant concept, one of several new technologies the Bavarian maker is developing that it will preview at the Consumer Electronics Show early next month.

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The new 360-degree collision avoidance system, meanwhile, uses a variety of scanners to prevent all sorts of collisions – making BMW the latest in a growing line of automakers to explore “the possibility of entirely collision-free driving.”

(more…)

BMW Nixes Tesla Alliance

German maker says “nein” to battery, component partnership.

by on Dec.03, 2014

BMW put to bed rumors of plans to tie up with Tesla, just weeks after Elon Musk suggested the possibility.

It can be a challenge deciphering the constant flow of tweets and blog posts emerging from Tesla Motors’ Silicon Valley headquarters, especially those penned by CEO Elon Musk. And there have been plenty of questions raised about a recent revelation that Tesla was talking to Germany’s BMW about a possible alliance deal.

Whether there were ever any real discussions is far from clear, but what is indisputable is that BMW has formally ruled out any plans to cooperate with the ambitious California battery-carmaker.

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After a spokesman initially downplayed such a possibility, suggesting BMW frequently talks to possible partners, senior officials made it clear in an interview with the German business magazine, Wirtschaftswoche, that they aren’t interested. And by that, they explained, there would be no alliance, nor any acquisition of Tesla stock by the Bavarian maker. (more…)

Tesla May Collaborate with BMW

Makers could share batteries, carbon-fiber components.

by on Nov.24, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent TV appearance.

(This story has been revised to reflect comments by BMW.)

Battery-carmaker Tesla Motors has begun discussing a possible collaboration with Germany’s BMW AG, according to the U.S. company’s CEO Elon Musk.

The two makers are discussing the use of sharing batteries and the lightweight components that can help improve vehicle range. The news comes a month after Germany’s Daimler AG sold off its 4% stake in Tesla.

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“We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” Musk said in an interview with the German news weekly Der Spiegel.

(more…)

BMW i3 Named Green Car of the Year

“Validation” of a breakthrough concept.

by on Nov.20, 2014

BMW's Tom Plucinsky,left, accepts the Green Car of the Year award from Green Car Journal's Ron Cogan.

Squaring off with four tough – but environmentally friendly – competitors, the BMW i3 claimed victory as the Green Car of the Year, an award the maker says “validates” the costly development program behind the breakthrough battery-electric vehicle.

The i3 is the smaller and more affordable of two new battery-based vehicles being offered by the German maker’s new brand-within-a-brand, BMW i. It is offered as either a pure battery-electric vehicle, or with an optional range-extending internal combustion engine that automatically fires up when the batteries run down.

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The i3 “breaks the mold” not only with its battery drive system but by bringing the use of lightweight carbon fiber down to the mainstream, said Ron Cogan, the publisher of Green Car Journal, which sponsors the award program. (more…)

Ford F-150, BMW i8 Capture Innovation Vehicle Awards

Motor Press Guild chooses vehicles from 13 finalists.

by on Nov.20, 2014

BMW's new i8 captured the Innovation Vehicle of the Year award for the over $30,000 category from the Motor Press Guild.

The Motor Press Guild stretched the parameters a bit, but the new 2015 Ford F-150 and BMW i8 walked off with its 2014 Innovation Vehicle of the Year (IVY) Awards in Los Angeles yesterday.

The F-150 captured the title for vehicles in the under $30,000 class – even though its average transaction price is expected to be closer to $40,000 – while the 2014 BMW i8 claimed the award for the $30,000 and over category.

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The two winners were from selected a group of 13 finalists assembled by a panel of judges. (more…)

BMW Puts M-Class Power in Sport-Activity Vehicles

New X-Class entries combine utility and speed.

by on Nov.20, 2014

The new 2015 BMW X5 M delivers 567 horsepower and 553 foot pound of torque.

BMW plans to use a new turbocharged V8 engine in the new M-Class versions of the X5 and X6, the head of the BMW brand said during previews for the Los Angeles Auto Show at which both of the new sport-activity vehicles made their global debut.

Ian Robertson, head of the BMW brand, said that the X5 M and X6 M will deliver a new level of performance and luxury with a package that includes a new suspension, all-wheel-drive and a new powertrain based around a V8 engine that produces even more power for the M-Series “Twin Turbo” technology that delivers 567 horsepower and 553 foot pound of torque that leaves drivers and passengers pushed well back into their seats.

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BMW also has upgraded the brakes on the two vehicles that are expected to travel from zero to 60 miles per hour in four seconds. The new entries combine the agility and everyday versatility of the BMW X-line with the high performance promise of the M-Class vehicles that the German automaker has carefully nurtured over the years, Robertson said. (more…)