BMW reveal the new i8 roadster and refreshed coupe

BMW i8 1Rumours have been swirling for years about the convertible i8, those rumours intensified when spy shots of early prototypes were spotted winter testing. But now finally BMW have unveiled the convertible BMW i8. The i8 has always been a fantastic looking car and the new i8 roadster is possibly even better looking. The i8 roadster also heralds a mid cycle refresh for the original coupe from 2014.

BMW i8 2The worlds best selling hybrid sports car not only gains a visual update but is also on the receiving end of a technological upgrade, the electric motor gets a power increase of 12bhp bringing electrical power up to 143bhp. This is thanks to upgrades in battery technology, which means that the i8’s electrical range has also increased to 34 miles (33 For the roadster). That added horsepower means when combined with the 1.5 litre 3-cylinder petrol motor the i8 now has 374bhp and 320Nm of torque, powering the hybrid sports car to a top speed of 155MPH. That added boost in power also results in a quicker 0-62 time of just 4.4 seconds for the coupe and 4.6 for the roadster.

BMW i8 5A lightweight design was key in making sure the roadster version of the i8 was just as capable as its coupe brother. The i8 roadster comes with a whole host of carbon fibre upgrades to ensure the i8 roadster maintains its lightweight design ideals. The doors, windscreen frame, side skirts and sections of the body are all carbon fibre, this means that the i8 roadster has minimal weight gain of just 60KG more than the coupe, with a weight of 1595KG.

BMW i8 6The new i8s also receive a number of safety upgrades including cruise control with a braking function, and a driving assistant known as surround view, a system which comprises of a collision and pedestrian warning with a city braking function, park distance control, high beam assist and speed limit info with a no passing information display. The i8 also features new Laser headlights which BMW say are non-dazzling with a range of 600 metres, double that of BMW’s LED headlights featured on other models.

BMW i8 4Another new addition to the BMW i8 is an acoustic pedestrian warning system, this system projects a sound similar to that of a turbine up to 18MPH to make sure pedestrians hear the i8 coming when road or wind noise wouldn’t be sufficient. The system is an interesting addition and one that could be necessary in the future of silent electric cars and should be one that other manufactures consider implementing in their own vehicles to avoid the silent killer electric car headlines.

BMW i8 3The i8s mid cycle refresh and the introduction of the long awaited roadster have certainly gathered headlines for BMW, but I feel that the visual refresh could have been much more exaggerated, to bring the i8 up to date. Whilst the i8 doesn’t look old in any sense of the word, it is starting to look current. The introduction of new modern supercars such as the McLaren 720S and Ferrari 812 Superfast have resulted in the i8 looking modern rather than ahead of the curve like it was back in 2014. A much more aggressive restyling could have resulted in the i8 being coveted rather than being just another hybrid sports car.

The new i8 and i8 roadster will be available in January 2018 for a price tag of £112,730 for the coupe and £124,730 for the roadster

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Frankfurt Motor show 2017 round up

The Frankfurt motor show is going on right now in Germany, with the great and the good from around the car world coming together to give us a look at what the showrooms will look like in 2018 and beyond. There are far too many cars to go through to list them all so I thought I would list my highlights from Germany’s premier motor show.

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  1. Kia Proceed

Not to sound like a school report but Kia have improved greatly over the last decade, their growth has been impressive and turned them into one of the companies to look out for in the future along with Hyundai and Skoda. The Proceed is yet another amazingly designed concept car that follows the likes of the Stinger and Novo cars from previous years. The striking sweeping rear end follows the likes of the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake in its aggressive approach to an estate car.

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  1. Honda Urban EV

Whilst the Honda Urban EV is clearly a concept at the moment its inclusion on this list is purely because of the attention it drew at the show. The Honda Urban EV is a future electric car expected in 2019, whilst no specs have been revealed people are amazed by the way it looks both modern and retro at the same time. The looks have been compared to everything from a VW Golf MK1, to a Peugeot 205 and I even see a little Nissan Cube creeping in at the front there.

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  1. BMW X7

This thing is big, like really big. The X7 is an upcoming luxury SUV for BMW expected in 2018. The BMW X5 is a big car already but the X7 is even bigger at 5 metres long. BMW are trying to take on the giants in America from Lincoln Cadillac and Ford. But on European roads the X7 will dwarf just about anything.

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  1. Borgward Isabella

Back in 2015 Borgward returned with the BX7 an SUV designed to take on the Mercedes M class and BMW X5, and they pretty much faded away after that. But now they have returned again to Frankfurt to unveil the concept for their prestigious Isabella. Named after their car from back in the 50’s the Isabella is a 4 door electric car, and whilst no new specs have been revealed Borgward did say they wanted it to be one of their flagship models. Its unlikely this new Borgward adventure will succeed as they are fairly forgettable and have a silly name, but prove me wrong Borgward.

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  1. Mercedes AMG Project One

The star of the show that drew all the eyes and stares from all around the arena was the Project One. The Formula 1 powered hybrid monster is set to take to the roads in early 2019. This new Mercedes monster looks like a combination of the McLaren F1 and Mercedes CLK GTR (and even looks a bit like a Spyker from above). The Project One is going to be up against tough competition in the Aston Martin Valkyrie in the hyper car battle to end all battles. This 1000BHP monster hybrid uses the engine from Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 car to take it to a top speed of more than 218MPH and from 0-124MPH in 6.0 seconds, certainly an amazing machine set to take the world by storm.

What were your highlights from the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, let us know in the comments.

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Rolls Royce takes aim at Bentley

Rolls Royce Phantom 9You may be pleased to hear that this week I’m not going to talk about electric cars, emissions or even the electric revolution. What I am going to talk about is the shots Rolls Royce CEO took at Bentley this week. Age old rivals Rolls and Bentley have been battling it out for the king of luxury for decades. But it’s a war that for the past ten years Rolls have been winning and Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes puts it down to the fact that Rolls Royce aren’t taking the base for its cars from lesser manufacturers.

Bentley BentaygaIt’s true the Bentley of today has taken the Audi Q7 and put a new set of clothes on it to call it the Bentayga, but this is the first major shot heard from Rolls in a long while. Most car companies will remain polite about their competition saying things like, “we enjoy the competition and wish them every success” meanwhile behind the scenes they are plotting every way to put them out of business.

Rolls Royce Phantom 23Mueller-Oetvoes made these comments at the European launch of the new Rolls Royce Phantom VIII, saying: “We are not using mass-manufactured body shells. That limits what you can do on the design side, and it undermines exclusivity massively. You don’t want a camouflaged Q7 in that segment. You want to have a true Rolls-Royce.” What this means is that all new Rolls Royces will have their own bespoke underpinning rather than sharing them with the likes of the BMW 7 series which was the basis for the original Ghost.

Rolls Royce Phantom 21

Rolls are calling this new idea the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ and can be seen in the Phantom VIII, new SUV the Cullinan and future generations of the Ghost, Dawn and Wraith. In a press release about the new Phantom VIII whilst not mentioning them by name Rolls went as far to say, “No future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by mass-manufacturers and some mass-luxury brands.”

Bentley Continental GTRolls are determined to be the only Luxury car brand there is even if it means tearing down their competition with hurtful words. Bentley are transitioning away from the Audi platform over to the Porsche platform but seems to refuse to make a fully bespoke luxury car of their early years, Bentleys market has changed, the Continental GT is proof their aim is footballers not Lords and Ladies.

What do you think of the luxury battle between Bentley and Rolls Royce, let us know in the comments.

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Enough with the retro styling

MINI grows

Cars get old. It’s just a fact of life and when cars get old you replace them with something new and better. The trouble comes in when something is so iconic that the public just can’t seem to let it go. So the company decides to just make the old car again just with new technology. We first saw it with the New Beetle, which was just a Golf in a dress with a flower pot stuck to the dash. Then we saw the new Mini from BMW, which was a bit more successful but has in no way reached the iconic status of the original Mini. Finally we had the Fiat 500 a car that in the past pretty much ran Italy, but again the new 500 is just a Fiat Panda with a new body.

BeetleThis obsession with the past has to stop. Cars become iconic over time and trying to recreate them in the modern age just doesn’t work simply because those legendary cars of the time in fact weren’t that good to begin with when you compare them to todays standards. The VW Beetle was a car born out of war just to get Germany back on its feet and I don’t think it would be as revered today if it hadn’t had a red and blue stripe down it and the number 53 on the door. Both the Mini and the Fiat 500 are death traps you would be safer on the road in a paper bag than one of those.

Citroen Type HWhy am I ranting about this now, well because Citroen have decided to get in on the action with a new body kit for their Citroen Relay van, the kit is meant to look like the Citroen type H van, which was first made in 1947. Now this is a van that is quite literally a shed with wheels and while it maybe old, maybe even a classic, it in no way deserves to be modernized in this way. The new H is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the original and thankfully only 70 will be made.

BMW M2 2002Please car companies stop with the retro cars, how can any new cars grow to be as iconic when you keep reminding us of the past with these new retro cars that merely act to damage the reputation of the original. Let the icons live on in classic car form and create new classics, cars like the VW Corrado or the BMW M2 (which while it copies the 2002 Turbo ideas is its own car entirely), cars that are as brilliant today as they will be 20 to 30 years from now.

What do you think of this retro revolution sound off in the comments.

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Jim on Cars 2016 Car of the year

So its that time of year again, the time where I wrack my brains for everything that came out in 2016 and narrow it down to 4 fantastic cars and one amazing one, that’s right its car of the year time.

Mercedes-AMG GT R ( C 190), 2016

  1. Mercedes AMG GTR

Last year it was a toss up between the standard AMG GT and the Mazda MX5, the MX5 just beat out the Merc thanks to its giant killing nature and world-beating amount of fun for such a small cheap car. This year however Mercedes has upped their game, the AMG GTR retains all of the amazing features of the standard car but now with a 585BHP twin turbo V8 under the bonnet and suspension tuned at the Nurburgring the AMG GTR earns its place on this list. And with a paint job called AMG Green Hell Magno how could it not make it.

porsche-911r

  1. Porsche 911R

I have been very critical of the 911 for a while now, even naming it the most overrated car in history (Click Here) I never liked the way it hadn’t changed in over 50 years and Porsche stubbornly kept it rear engined (although its moving forward at a frightening pace). Its quite clearly holding Porsche back as the brilliant Cayman GT4 showed last year, if Porsche gave the engineers the opportunity to push themselves they could create the greatest drivers car the world has ever seen, but no we just get the 911 year after year. But the 911R could be a sign of change from the Germans, doing away with the flashy rear wings of the GT3 GT2 and Turbo models in favour of a much more subtle design, favouring mechanincal grip over downforce. The 911R is a mechanical marvel taking the driver back to the old days, where it was a drivers skill that kept him on the road rather than the electronic aids. The 911R is the best 911 ever and will hopefully show the way Porsche are going rather than being a reminder of the good ole days.

ford-focus-rs

  1. Ford Focus RS

Weirdly the difficult decision this year was not choosing what the top car would be but rather the podium finishers. It was a choice of either my heart or my head, but I feel I’ve made the right choice in putting the RS in third. I am a massive Ford fan and the Focus RS is a fantastic car, it’s the rally bred monster we’ve been wanting for years. Its 2.3 litre turbocharged ecoboost engine along with All wheel drive make it a true hot hatch rivalling that of the Mercedes A45 AMG and the Golf R. And its got Drift mode! The Focus RS is one of my favourite cars this year, its handling and power combined make it a true world beater and all this starting at just over £30,000.

bmw-m2

  1. BMW M2

Just beating out the Focus RS is the BMW M2 and as you may have guessed this was my heads choice rather than my hearts. The M2’s predecessor the 1M Coupe was a really impressive car both on the track and on the road but somehow the M2 is even better its 370BHP engine powers the car to 62 in 4.3 seconds and on to the electronically limited top speed of 155MPH. the M2 is reminiscent of so many great cars, the 2002 Turbo, the original M3 even out side the Bavarian Motor Works in the MK2 VW Golf. The M2’s strength comes from its past, it carries the characteristics of some fantastic car and combines them into a greatest hits album for the ages.

alfa-romeo-giulia-quadrifoglio

  1. Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Yes the car with the most Italian name in history has come out on top. When Alfa announced they were making a sports car to rival the M3 many laughed, they thought it would be a Chrysler 300C in drag and would fall far below the par set by the BMW, but those people were wrong. The Giulia is a bespoke Alfa Romeo with style and performance combined into sheer magnificence. The 2.9 litre biturbo V6 is operatic in comparison to the M3’s rather drab straight 6. The 510 horse power of the Alfa are some of the most boisterous rampant horses seen in recent times. Whereas the BMW M2 wins your head and the Focus RS wins your heart the Alfa wins both, its one of the most interesting and exciting cars on the road today and is truly deserving of my car of the year award

Congratulations Alfa Romeo

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The Big names join together for Electric cars

electric-chargine

The car industry has reached a major milestone this week, by coming together to share knowledge and capabilities to further the evolution of electric cars. the BMW group, Daimler, Ford and the VW group including Audi and Porsche have come together to provide an ultra fast high power charging network across Europe. The plan is to evolve the charging process to the point that it is as quick and convenient as filling up a conventional car.

BMW: “This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility”, says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.“The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”

Daimler: “The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”

Ford: A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving”, says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”

Audi:
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging”, says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “Reliable fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation we want to boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving.”

Porsche: “There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”

This is certainly a huge step for the electric car, a unified motor industry is almost unstoppable in terms of innovation, creativity and design and if the companies can maintain this partnership, the forward thinking nature of the group will finally bring the electric car into being a viable option for everyone on the road, not just little old ladies who only go out once a week and have an annual mileage of less than 1000 miles.

BMW Bring the DTM M4 to the road

 

bmw-m4-dtm-2To celebrate Marco Wittmann winning the DTM drivers title for 2016, BMW have announced that they will be bringing the racing M4 to the road in the form of the M4 DTM Champion edition. A 500BHP monster, the M4 DTM is a barely disguised racecar, featuring a full roll cage and racing seats along with upgraded engine and suspension, the M4 DTM is the closest you’ll get to driving a touring car on the road. The M4 DTM has a very quick 0-62 time of 3.8 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 190MPH.

bmw-m4-dtm-3

The BMW, which will only be available in BMW’s signature Alpine white also features a number of aerodynamic upgrades bringing it more in line with the M4 Touring car: “These include the front splitter, the aero flicks positioned in front of the front wheel arches, exterior mirror caps, side skirt attachments, a rear diffuser as well as the large rear wing firmly mounted on the boot lid.” Although the M4 DTM is essentially a race car for the road, BMW have still kept all the comforts the modern driver expects from their car, Sat Nav, air conditioning and even parking sensors are all fitted as standard. Sadly we’ll only see 200 of these cars made making it incredibly exclusive, the price for such an impressive car rings in a £135,000.

bmw-m4-dtm-1

The M4 DTM also features full adjustable suspension giving the driver the ability to adjust it to their personal preference. The engine, a 500BHP monster also puts out an impressive 442 lb-ft of torque, meaning the car is just as much a beast on the track as the racecar itself. BMW describe the BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition as a: “high-performance coupe with a focus on racetrack deployment and an exceptional collector’s item.”

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BMW Z5 spotted at the Nurburgring

 

bmw-z5-2

Whilst the BMW was quietly killed off last year, there is hope at last for those of fans of the BMW convertible, the BMW Z5, the supposed successor to the Z4 has been spotted testing at the Nurburgring. The two door convertible is unlikely to be unveiled till the later part of 2017 at the earliest, but already its possible to gleam some details about the new car.

bmw-z5-3

Rumours suggest that the Z5 will come with an optional 4 wheel drive system and hybrid propulsion system similar in a way to that of the new Honda NSX. The front face of the Z5 features the same kidney style grills people have come to love about BMWs along with the stretched bonnet harking back to early sports cars. The Z5 is likely to go on sale in early 2018. Whilst final looks of the car are unlikely to have been set as of yet, it is unlikely the rear lights seen in the images are final due to them being seen on many BMW test cars of varying degrees of completion.

bmw-z5

The new Supra is also to be based on a similar platform to the Z5 after BMW and Toyota announced a partnership between the two companys to build a new sports car. The Z5 is to be a convertible with the new Supra being a coupe.

Images courtesy of Autocar

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Audi Reveal the New TT RS

 

Audi TT RS Roadster, Audi TT RS Coupé

Audi have revealed both the coupe and convertible versions of every airhostess’s favourite car. Except that the new model looks significantly more masculine with an aggressive new front bumper and a large ficed rear spoiler teamed with twon exhausts , the new TT RS oozes aggression and is looking to take on the likes of the BMW Z4 and the Porsche Cayman.

Audi TT RS CoupéThe RS features an impressive 400 BHP from a 2.5 litre 5-cylinder engine teamed with Audi’s signature Quattro 4 wheel drive system and a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox. Those bring the TT RS a supercar rivalling 0-62 time of 3.7 seconds (3.9 in convertible form) and on to a top speed limited to 155 MPH.

Audi TT RS Roadster

Dr Stefan Knirsch, Audi Board Member for Technical Development says: “The new aluminum five-cylinder engine delivers 400 hp, which is 60 hp more than its predecessor. Together with the Quattro drive, it ensures sporty driving pleasure with maximum traction.”

Audi TT RS Roadster

“Controls and display in the new TT RS are focused completely on the driver. All information is displayed as standard on the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit with 12.3 inch screen. The driver can choose from three views, including a special RS screen that highlights the rev counter and provides information on tire pressure, torque, and g‑force, among other things.”

Audi TT RS Coupé

The TT RS is looking to launch in late 2016 with a price tag of just over £50,000 similar in price to a comparable Cayman and Z4 although a new Z4 may be in the Pipeline over at BMW which could scupper Audi plans.

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BMW Mark 100th birthday with the BMW Vision Next 100 concept

 

BMW Vision Next 100

So BMW have marked their 100th birthday this week with a new concept car, the BMW Vision Next 100, quite a mouthful isn’t it. Well the VN100 as I will call it isn’t the best looking car, nor is it the fastest, what it is though is yet another autonomous car that BMW say is designed to retain the personal connection between car and driver. Which believe it or not I think is a good idea, despite the fact that technically a driverless car has no driver.

BMW Vision Next 100 2

BMW have a habit of making great cars, the M2 is fantastic and its big brothers even more so, so I don’t doubt that over the next 100 years BMW will strive to continue to revolutionise the way we drive and the way we feel about cars.

BMW Vision Next 100 4

Whilst the VN100 isn’t the best looking BMW ever particularly in this shade of brown the technology underneath it is incredible. The body actually morphs as you drive along to improve aerodynamics, the VN100 also features two driving settings Ease mode that allows the driver to sit back and relax in the spacious white and brown interior, and boost mode, which allows the drivers input and also allows the car to learn the drivers habits with a ‘companion mode’.

BMW Vision Next 100 3

Overall I don’t like the VN100, but I do like the technology behind it, whilst most companies are trying to build solely driverless cars, BMW are trying to keep the driver involved in the experience rather than excluding them completely. There are certainly exciting times in BMW’s next 100 years.

 

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