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BMW Studies Options for an M Hybrid

But near-term focus is on downsized, turbocharged engines.

by on Jun.10, 2014

The 2015 BMW M3 gets a smaller, turbo engine.

Among the many products offered by a marque that bills itself “the ultimate driving machine,” it’s those branded with the vaunted “M” badge that best live up to that boast.

In recent years, BMW has significantly expanded its line-up of M offerings, including the new M3 and M4 models that go on sale this month. But those two high performance products reveal an ongoing shift in strategy for the M brand-within-a-brand, a move away from big-block naturally aspirated engines, to more technically sophisticated powertrains that are downsized and turbocharged.

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BMW is by no means alone. There have been reports that General Motors may take a similar route with the next-generation Corvette. But in an exclusive interview with, the chief engineer for BMW’s M line revealed the subsidiary is giving serious consideration to going a step further with hybrids and other battery-based powertrains.


First Drive: 2015 BMW M235i

Performance with a youthful flair.

by on Jan.20, 2014

The new BMW M235i driving through Las Vegas.

It’s getting to be more and more of a challenge keeping up with the expanding line-up at BMW, but at least there’s a logic to the maker’s madness as it rolls out a modified nomenclature strategy that is far easier to follow than some of its competitors’ alphanumeric offerings.

The worldwide launch of the new 2-Series coupe comes as BMW shifts to even numbers for its 2-door models, whether coupes or convertibles, with sedans sticking with odd numbers.  The new 2-Series was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, which also staged the world debuts of the M3 and M4 models and the 4 Series Convertible.

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With the 2-Series BMW hopes to tap the interest of the Millennial generation, a cohort of young buyers who have so far been less than friendly to automobiles, many waiting much longer than in decades past to even get their driver’s licenses. The hope is that sporty and relatively affordable models like the new M235i might finally start drawing them into showrooms.


BMW Makes the M4 Concept Official

Performance coupe concept makes formal debut.

by on Aug.16, 2013

BMW makes it official as it reveals the new M4 Concept Coupe during a Pebble Beach preview.

As we’ve been seeing with great frequency of late, there are no secrets on the Internet. It’s something BMW and its fans were reminded of when details of the new Concept M4 began leaking out this week, well ahead of the planned preview in Pebble Beach.

Well, BMW has finally made it official, and here’s some more about the BMW Concept M4 and the production model to follow.

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As earlier noted, the appearance of the 2-door performance model comes as a bit of a surprise so quickly after the June debut of the new BMW 4-Series.

Normally, the Bavarian maker likes to keep us waiting for the M-variant of an all-new model line. Expect to now see the production version of the M4 in a matter of months, perhaps at the upcoming Frankfurt or LA auto shows.


First Look: Next-gen BMW M5

“I’ve never taken the corners like that before.”

by on Aug.17, 2011

BMW's new M5 will make an impressive 560 horsepower out of its new V8.

BMW offered a quick peek at the next-generation M5 sedan, a rocket on wheels that it plans to bring to market next year.

While journalists weren’t given a chance to drive the prototype briefly revealed during a presentation at the Laguna Seca Raceway, near Monterey, California, BMW officials offered up some critical information on what M-fans can expect.

It has not yet been determined whether the new muscle car will be designated a 2012 or 2013, but model-years aside, it will feature a new 4.4-liter V-8 using dual twin-scroll turbos designed to both eliminate initial turbo lag and maximize performance once those boosters “spool up.”

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That translates into 560 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, the next-generation BMW M5 expected to launch from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds.  Notably, while horsepower will be up 10% and torque increased 20% from the prior-generation BMW M5, the upcoming model is expected to deliver as much as a 30% improvement in fuel economy due to the introduction of a variety of advanced technologies.


BMW’s “Other” Performance Brand

Alpina aims to balance performance and comfort.

by on May.12, 2010

A heavily modified 7-Series sedan, the 2010 BMW Alpina B7 makes 500 hp and launches from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds.

With models like the M3 and X6M, BMW has turned “M” into one of the favorite letters in the alphabet for those who crave the European interpretation of performance.  But for those who prefer a more sophisticated blend of muscles and manners, the Bavarian maker is offering an alternative.

Think of the BMW Alpina B7 as the perfect car for James Bond, suggests Andreas Bovensiepen, whose father created the brand nearly 50 years ago.

“Most of the time, you just enjoy the B7 for its luxury and comfort,” says Bovensiepen, a former race car driver who now runs Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH.  “But when you need it, there’s plenty of power.”

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To be more precise, 500 horsepower and 516 pound feet of torque can launch the 4652-pound B7 from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds and propel it to an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.


Shifting Gears: BMW’s M Division Wants to Redefine Performance

“The dogmas are gone,” says BMW M chief Kay Segler.

by on Mar.30, 2010

"Forget about dogmas," suggests Kay Segler, the new chief of BMW's performance M brand.

Forget raw horsepower numbers, don’t worry about 0 to 60 times.  To Kay Segler, it’s all about what “your butt-o-meter…tells you.”

For performance aficionados, few cars command more respect than one with the vaunted BMW “M” badge bolted onto the back.  This brand-within-a-brand is, perhaps more than anything else, the reason the Bavarian maker has been able to defend its long-standing claim to being “the ultimate driving machine.”

Yet, at a time when even the most mainstream manufacturers are emphasizing performance, and mid-market entries like the 2011 Ford Mustang are nudging past the once-unimaginable 400 horsepower barrier, M chief Segler says it’s time to rethink what his division stands for.  And the new definition doesn’t necessarily require BMW to deliver either the fastest, or the most powerful cars possible.

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“The measurement of 0 to 100 (kmh) isn’t as much a thrill anymore,” Segler proclaims during a long dinner in downturn Munich, not far from BMW’s headquarters.  What matters more than raw numbers is how a car feels, he explains.  “You can measure a lot of things by the numbers, but your butt-o-meter is what tells you” whether you’re satisfied, Segler contends, as he sips a glass of sparkling water, reminding us of Germany’s tough drunk driving laws.