If you follow automotive news, then you know that the new 2014 BMW M3 and M4 have broken cover in the past few days, after a long, drawn out build up that left few surprises. I’m not here to tell you all of the generic information that you can get anywhere else on the web. I’m here to offer my interpretation and opinion on the information that has been released. So, as educated, free-thinking car enthusiasts, let’s take a look between the lines at what the new BMW M3 and M4 are all about.
Obviously, the number that tends to stick out the most on the interweb is the horsepower figure. People are already complaining about BMW’s official claim of “430bhp” because “It is only like 20 more than the old one, booo!” Those of use who know how the German companies have been operating lately have to laugh at such comments, because we know that the horsepower figures of turbocharged BMWs have consistently been underrated by 10-20%. That means that the new M3 and M4 will actually be producing something in the range of 470-510hp, and that is a substantial increase.
The next number, and the only surprise for me, is the weight of the M3 and M4. BMW is saying that each will weigh in at around 3300lbs, which is quite a bit lighter than the 3700lb E90 generation M3…. which was quite a big girl by M3 standards. The new M3 and M4 are now back around the same weight as the E46 M3, and that is right where I feel these cars should realistically be.
The 7 Series is the flagship model in the BMW lineup. A far cry from a zippy little M3, the 7 Series has always had its focus on being a luxury cruiser. It competes in the top of the line limousine class against the likes of Mercedes’ legendary S Class, a car which has set the standard of automotive luxury for sometime now. In order to take on such formidable opposition, BMW has had to use some clever ingenuity to make the 7 Series appealing, and it doesn’t get more appealing than the top two models we have here.
In one corner we have the Alpina B7, an upgraded vehicle that has been factory sanctioned. Alpina has had a long relationship with BMW as a third party tuner, similar to AMG and Mercedes before they were officially brought together in 1990. Alpina models are usually marketed as alternatives to cars from BMW’s M Division, but in this case, there is no BMW “M7”, so the Alpina B7 is as close as you can get.
Of course, you might instead fancy having the ultimate 7 Series that BMW makes themselves. That would be our other contender, the BMW 760Li. It is a more traditional take on a top-end luxury limousine with a proper V12 under its hood.
The 335d was a bit of an oddball on the American market. It was the highest performing diesel version of the E90 3 Series, and BMW sought to see how Americans would receive a top range diesel car. Diesels are huge in Europe, but have a much smaller market share here in the States. Considering that, along with the fact that the 335d was a higher-end model 3 Series, it comes as no surprise that they were not BMW’s biggest seller. That means that today, here in 2013, 335ds are rather uncommon on the used market. It also means that we have to change the way we look at the car now that it is only available pre owned.
Those people who did buy 335ds will absolutely swear by them. To most uneducated Americans the notion of diesel power evokes thoughts of black smoke and the loud rattle of a dump truck. Anyone with actual experience in a modern diesel car will tell an entirely different story. They will tell you about the solid performance, and incredible fuel economy, about a car that both runs clean, and is great fun to drive. Diesels like the 335d are sort of a insider secret in America, those who know, know, and those who don’t know waste their money on (mostly) gutless hybrid cars.
I had driven a 335d once before, but only very briefly. I decided to go out and try another one for two reasons: First, to see how it fairs in the context of the used market. Second, to compare it to the new F30 3 Series that I reviewed recently. Lets face it, BMWs are very overpriced brand new, with all kinds of options that nickel-and-dime you to death. A smart car buyer knows that BMWs should be purchased secondhand, with low mileage and some remainder on the factory warranty. By doing this, you save yourself the vast depreciation that comes from spending so much on all of those fancy options, as well as the BMW brand mark up. I will go into the specifics of this for the 335d later on All you need to know for now is that 335ds are currently right in the sweet spot of the secondhand BMW market.
BMW has always held a special place in my list of carmakers. After the end of WWII, they were in tatters, like the other German car companies. But, in the 1960s and 1970s, their commitment to making cars that could make the driver grin endlessly (for a price) gave them a reputation of being a bit of an upper middle class car guy’s hero, in that for the price of a Cadillac or a Mercedes sedan, you could get a car that was capable of brightening your melancholy day with just a squeeze of the gas pedal and a turn of the wheel. But that was nearly 40 years ago, and based on what I’m seeing in the news (and what I’ve driven in the past year or two), I’m skeptical of their old motto. Read the rest of this entry »
This video is extremely entertaining, and it is good to see a proper driver driving a proper Bimmer (E34 M5) like he’s just robbed a bank or something. This video is just plain epic, but it is surely one of those things that walks a very thin line between awesome and insanely stupid. We don’t recommend any of you go and try this for yourselves, this guy was reckless enough for all of us, I think. Enjoy the hoonage.
Two great BMW sports cars of the same lineage. The 507 came about in the mid 1950s, and its legendary status was achieved in hindsight, after its short production run had ended. The Z8, a halo sports car for the millenium, was a retro throwback to the 507, designed by Henrik Fisker. It is always interesting to see a classic design that has been modernized, and both of these cars are quite sexy. BMW had them displayed together at their factory museum, so visitors to compare for themselves. Enjoy the pics. Read the rest of this entry »
The 3 series is basically the standard of the world in terms of what defines the sport sedan segment. Over the years it has offered the simple package of a commuter car, but was also great fun to drive. Many competitors have tried to take on the 3 series at its own game, and currently there are a few that really do compete. There is, however, a reason why BMW’s ace in the hole has been so formidable over the years; it’s a tough nut to crack. I recently went and drove this 328i xDrive both as a direct comparison to the Cadillac’s new ATS, and to see how well the newest 3 series carries the torch of its revered lineage. Read the rest of this entry »
BMW has always been one to beat for sports sedans. They pretty much invented the segment back in the late 1970s when the first E21 3-Series rolled off the production line. Since then, the lineup has expanded to include more body styles, more engines (including diesels and now the first-ever hybrid model), and along with that, more features and a higher price. Competitors have stepped up their game, including Lexus, Infiniti, and Cadillac, all of whom tried to unseat the E46 and E90 series 3er’s, but never really succeeded. This year, the 3-series got a big makeover, and I decided this spring, not long after they hit the streets of NJ, to try one out for myself.
The BMW 6-Series can be a tough car to really pin down. Based on its market price and its layout, it is a direct competitor to cars like the Jaguar XJ and the Porsche 911. That said, its size is on the big side for a personal coupe, yet it wears its size well. I was at the Greenwich Concours and BMW had this and a 750i available for test drives, so I took the plunge and gave this rather expensive droptop a good shakedown. Then, I got a chance to drive a 750i, equipped with xDrive AWD, the long-wheelbase body, and the M-Sport trim (an interesting combination that should definitely go over well in the Northeast, where AWD is an important selling point). I took each out and asked myself a question: These two cars are based on pretty much the same platform in different lengths–which one does the job that it sets out to do in the better manner, and which one is actually better overall? I was surprised by the results. Read the rest of this entry »
Here is Day 2 of the Greenwich Concours, which was reserved for foreign cars. Day 2 was nearly a washout when a freak rainstorm put everyone under the tents, but by the time the rain ended, the awards ceremony started and all was well again. There were a few frankly gorgeous cars at the show that day, and the clouds made them stand out even more than usual. Enjoy the gallery–Best Of Show is also included, a stunning 1938 Horch. Read the rest of this entry »
We were in attendance for this year’s Concours d’ Elegance in Scarsdale, NY. This show is one of my favorites because the venue and time of year are just perfect for this sort of event. The Fall air is a bit crisp, the trees are turning all sorts of beautiful colors, the town is quite nice, and the cars are incredible. This is an overview gallery of the event, and certain cars will get their own features later on. Enjoy.
This is a big moment for American auto industry, one that can mark a turning point toward success or a continued trend of let downs in the luxury market. Obviously the big comparison is with the BMW 3 series, and I have been very unimpressed with the comparisons done by large publications so far (favoritism and bias run rampant over objectivism and sense). So, I went out and drove the ATS and BMW 3 series back to back to see what I thought from the driver seat. I’m not going to string you along, I liked the Cadillac better, and I will explain why in the paragraphs that follow. Read the rest of this entry »